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  • SFB-TRR 212

    Connecting Theory and Empiricism

    © Antje Herde

D01

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Principle investigator

Prof. Dr. Ulrich Krohs

 

PhD student

Behzad Nematipour

The role of individual internal states in niche choice, niche construction, and behavioural niche conformance

The concept of fitness captures the evolutionary success of an organism. It is largely unquestioned in literature that measuring the contribution to the future gene pool of a population gives a fitness value. The major point of debate is whether the actual success should be taken, which seems to depend on all too many contingencies and results in only one value per individual life, or whether the propensity, the objective probability to have a certain reproductive success, should be taken as the measure.

We previously focused on the conceptual and explanatory issues of function and fitness in individualised niches from a general perspective. In this project we at understanding possible fitness effects of internal states of individuals. The project scrutinises the functional roles of these states in behavioural decisions and their influence, via the NC3-mechanisms, on evolutionary processes, and also discusses possible explications of the concept of emotion as used in particular explanatory contexts. It also uses the case of the evolutionary relevance of emotions to discuss how some seemingly fundamental differences between the frameworks of the Modern Synthesis and the Extended Evolutionary Synthesis can be transferred to the realm of empirical research.

In the course of the project we pursue the following aims

  1. Reconstructing the explanatory relevance of emotions for behavioural decisions, and explicating the concept of emotion
  2.  Explaining the relevance of individual differences of emotional states for the evolutionary outcome of NC3-mechanisms
  3. Fixing the status of emotions in different evolutionary frameworks

The project will draw on the debate in analytical philosophy about internal states.


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