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The ideas that evolution is fundamentally about replicators and that this means that the unit of evolution is the gene are part of a much larger debate about the units and levels of selection/evolution. Here are just a few pieces that are of particular relevance to us for this week:

Richard Dawkins thinks of the gene's eye view as stemming from fundamental insights by William D. Hamilton. Hamilton's initial papers on kin selection and inclusive fitness theory are below. We will discuss these much more in depth next week.

In 1966, George C. Williams' Adaptation and Natural Selection attacked group selection and argued that the level of selection is nearly always the individual. Dawkins' The Selfish Gene (1976) popularized this view but what not as careful to say exactly what the view was. Dawkins' next book, The Extended Phenotype (1982) is a much more careful book concerned with explaining, expanding, and defending the gene's eye view.

The replicator/interactor distinction is spelled out in Hull, 1980. Sober and Lewontin (1982) criticize the gene's eye view by saying that it mixes up the causal story (this is where the heterozygote superiority example comes from) and Sterelny and Kitcher respond. A recent criticism of the gene's eye view and of the necessity of replicators can be found in Godfrey-Smith (2009).