Convergence as evidence

Adrian Currie*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


The comparative method grants epistemic access to the biological past. Comparing lineages provides empirical traction on both hypotheses about particular lineages and models of trait evolution. Understanding this evidential role is important. Although philosophers have recently turned their attention to relations of descent (homology), little work exists exploring the status of evidence from convergences (analogy). I argue that, where they exist, convergences play a central role in the confirmation of adaptive hypotheses. I focus on 'analogous inferences' (inferences that take a trait-environment dyad from one lineage and project it to another), show how such inferences ought to be analysed and suggest three methods for strengthening their evidential weight.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)763-786
Number of pages24
JournalBritish Journal for the Philosophy of Science
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2013
Externally publishedYes

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