Behavioral and Brain Sciences

Short Communication

Ontology is the problem

John  Dupréa1
a1 ESRC Centre for Genomics in Society, Amory Building, University of Exeter, Exeter, EX4 4RJ, United Kingdom


Andrews et al. claim that Gould and Lewontin's critique of adaptationism is largely epistemological rather than ontological. In this commentary I argue that, on the contrary, the deepest part of their critique is ontological, raising concerns about the existence of the traits that are the subjects of adaptationist theorising. Andrews et al.'s failure to address this problem undermines their defence of adaptationism.