Adaptationism: Hypothesis or Heuristic?

  • Resnik D
  • 25


    Mendeley users who have this article in their library.
  • 9


    Citations of this article.


Elliott Sober (1987, 1993) and Orzack and Sober (forthcoming) argue that adapta- tionism is a very general hypothesis that can be tested by testing various particular hypotheses that invoke natural selection to explain the presence of traits in populations of organisms. In this paper, I challenge Sober’s claim that adaptationism is an hypothesis and I argue that it is best viewed as a heuristic (or research strategy). Biologists would still have good reasons for employing this research strategy even if it turns out that natural selection is not the most important cause of evolution.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Adaptationism
  • Heuristics
  • Natural selection

Get free article suggestions today

Mendeley saves you time finding and organizing research

Sign up here
Already have an account ?Sign in

Find this document


  • David Resnik

Cite this document

Choose a citation style from the tabs below

Save time finding and organizing research with Mendeley

Sign up for free