Genes, Organisms, Populations

Controversies Over the Units of Selection

Edited by Robert N. Brandon and Richard Burian

A Bradford Book





This anthology collects some of the most important papers on what is believed to be the major force in evolution, natural selection. An issue of great consequence in the philosophy of biology concerns the levels at which, and the units upon which selection acts. In recent years, biologists and philosophers have published a large number of papers bearing on this subject. The papers selected for inclusion in this book are divided into three main sections covering the history of the subject, explaining its conceptual foundations, and focusing on kin and group selection and higher levels of selection.One of the book's interesting features is that it draws together material from the biological and philosophical literatures. The philosophical literature, having thoroughly absorbed the biological material, now offers conceptual tools suitable for the reworking of the biological arguments. Although a full symbiosis has yet to develop, this anthology offers a unique resource for students in both biology and philosophy.

A Bradford Book.


Out of Print ISBN: 9780262022057 300 pp. | 9 in x 6 in


Robert N. Brandon

Robert Brandon is Professor of Philosophy and Biology at Duke University and the coeditor of Genes, Organisms, Populations: Controversies over the Units of Selection (MIT Press, 1984).

Richard Burian

Richard M. Burian is Professor of Philosophy and Department Chairman, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.


  • ..a splendid volume of recent and seminal papers concerning levels or units of natural selection...well written.

    Lary Shaffer

    The Times Literary Supplement


  • Let me state unequivocally that I think that this anthology is a first-rate idea and that generally speaking, I am highly impressed with the selection of readings.... I think that the book will be of great interest to philosophers of science generally, particularly given that at the moment the biological sciences are getting a higher and higher profile and interest in the philosophical community. Also, I think a great many biologists would find the collection of some interest, particularly the evolutionists and taxonomists.

    Michael Ruse

    University of Guelph