Workshop – The general formulations of evolutionary theory

IHPST, November 13, 2017

Argument. Since Fisher and his ‘Fundamental theorem of natural selection’ (1930), many biologists attempted to formulate in the most general way what evolution by natural selection fundamentally is. Price equation, Robertson’s second theorem, the canonical equation of adaptive dynamics, or recently the ‘Formal Darwinism’ developed by Alan Grafen are various attempts to undertake such a project and provide a mathematical expression of Darwin’s fundamental insights. Those formulations are not all equivalent or identical, though some may be derivable from others under some specific conditions. Other general formulations has been given, in terms of  logical ‘recipes’ for having evolution by natural selection, or axiomatisation of the theory of evolution. The present workshop intends to discuss some of those formulations, their relations, as well as propose possible improvements.


9:00 – Nicola Bertoldi (IHPST, Paris) Complex adaptive systems and evolutionary explanations. Is the generalized theory of evolution a general theory of complexity?

9:45 – Grant Ramsey. (KU Leuven) Does evolutionary theory have a unified foundation?

10:30 – Coffee break

10:45 – Hugh Desmond (KU Leuven)  Delineating the Cultural Selective Environment: Fitness and Dominance.

11:30 – Jean-Baptiste Grodwohl (Cambridge) The theory of population genetics in the age of enzymatic polymorphism (1966-1983).

12:15 – Lunch break

14:00 – Tim Lewens (Cambridge)  Adaptation as Design

14:45 – Philippe Huneman  (IHPST, Paris) Two conceptual ways of making sense of evolution by natural selection.

15:30 – Coffee break

15:45 – Alan Grafen. (Oxford). Fisher’s fundamental theorem of natural selection in a graph.

16:30- Minus Van Baalen (IBEES, Paris) Evolution and information.

17:30 End

Discussants: Guillaume Achaz (UPMC), Antoine Dussault (IHPST-Montréal) Lucie Laplane (IHPST), Guillaume Lecoinre (MNHN), Laurent Loison (IHPST), Françoise Longy (IHPST), Antonine Nicoglou (USPC), Cédric Paternottte (Paris Sorbonne), Gaëlle Pontarotti (IHPST), Sophia Rousseau-Mermans (IHPST-Montréal).

Organized by: Philippe Huneman & Nicola Bertoldi (IHPST)

Supported by: LIA ECIEB Paris-Montréal,  GDR Sapienv (CNRS UMR 3770), ANR Explabio.