Handbook of Evolutionary Thinking in the Sciences

Author: Thomas Heams
Publisher: Springer
ISBN: 9401790140
Format: PDF, ePub
Download and Read
The Darwinian theory of evolution is itself evolving and this book presents the details of the core of modern Darwinism and its latest developmental directions. The authors present current scientific work addressing theoretical problems and challenges in four sections, beginning with the concepts of evolution theory, its processes of variation, heredity, selection, adaptation and function, and its patterns of character, species, descent and life. The second part of this book scrutinizes Darwinism in the philosophy of science and its usefulness in understanding ecosystems, whilst the third section deals with its application in disciplines beyond the biological sciences, including evolutionary psychology and evolutionary economics, Darwinian morality and phylolinguistics. The final section addresses anti-Darwinism, the creationist view and issues around teaching evolution in secondary schools. The reader learns how current experimental biology is opening important perspectives on the sources of variation, and thus of the very power of natural selection. This work examines numerous examples of the extension of the principle of natural selection and provides the opportunity to critically reflect on a rich theory, on the methodological rigour that presides in its extensions and exportations, and on the necessity to measure its advantages and also its limits. Scholars interested in modern Darwinism and scientific research, its concepts, research programs and controversies will find this book an excellent read, and those considering how Darwinism might evolve, how it can apply to the human sciences and other disciplines beyond its origins will find it particularly valuable. Originally produced in French (Les Mondes Darwiniens), the scope and usefulness of the book have led to the production of this English text, to reach a wider audience. This book is a milestone in the impressive penetration by Francophone scholars into the world of Darwinian science, its historiography and philosophy over the last two decades. Alex Rosenberg, R. Taylor Cole Professor of Philosophy, Duke University Until now this useful and comprehensive handbook has only been available to francophones. Thanks to this invaluable new translation, this collection of insightful and original essays can reach the global audience it deserves. Tim Lewens, University of Cambridge

Challenging the Modern Synthesis

Author: Philippe Huneman
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0190681454
Format: PDF, Mobi
Download and Read
Since its origin in the early 20th century, the Modern Synthesis theory of evolution has grown to become the orthodox view on the process of organic evolution. Its central defining feature is the prominence it accords to genes in the explanation of evolutionary dynamics. Since the advent of the 21st century, however, the Modern Synthesis has been subject to repeated and sustained challenges. These are largely empirically driven. In the last two decades, evolutionary biology has witnessed unprecedented growth in the understanding of those processes that underwrite the development of organisms and the inheritance of characters. The empirical advances usher in challenges to the conceptual foundations of evolutionary theory. The extent to which the new biology challenges the Modern Synthesis has been the subject of lively debate. Many current commentators charge that the new biology of the 21st century calls for a revision, extension, or wholesale rejection of the Modern Synthesis Theory of evolution. Defenders of the Modern Synthesis maintain that the theory can accommodate the exciting new advances in biology. The original essays collected in this volume survey the various challenges to the Modern Synthesis arising from the new biology of the 21st century. The authors are evolutionary biologists, philosophers of science, and historians of biology from Europe and North America. Each of the essays discusses a particular challenge to the Modern Synthesis treatment of inheritance, development, or adaptation. Taken together, the essays cover a spectrum of views, from those that contend that the Modern Synthesis can rise to the challenges of the new biology, with little or no revision required, to those that call for the abandonment of the Modern Synthesis. The collection will be of interest to researchers and students in evolutionary biology, and the philosophy and history of the biological sciences.

Biological Individuality

Author: Scott Lidgard
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 022644659X
Format: PDF, Kindle
Download and Read
Individuals are things that everybody knows—or thinks they do. Yet even scholars who practice or analyze the biological sciences often cannot agree on what an individual is and why. One reason for this disagreement is that the many important biological individuality concepts serve very different purposes—defining, classifying, or explaining living structure, function, interaction, persistence, or evolution. Indeed, as the contributors to Biological Individuality reveal, nature is too messy for simple definitions of this concept, organisms too quirky in the diverse ways they reproduce, function, and interact, and human ideas about individuality too fraught with philosophical and historical meaning. Bringing together biologists, historians, and philosophers, this book provides a multifaceted exploration of biological individuality that identifies leading and less familiar perceptions of individuality both past and present, what they are good for, and in what contexts. Biological practice and theory recognize individuals at myriad levels of organization, from genes to organisms to symbiotic systems. We depend on these notions of individuality to address theoretical questions about multilevel natural selection and Darwinian fitness; to illuminate empirical questions about development, function, and ecology; to ground philosophical questions about the nature of organisms and causation; and to probe historical and cultural circumstances that resonate with parallel questions about the nature of society. Charting an interdisciplinary research agenda that broadens the frameworks in which biological individuality is discussed, this book makes clear that in the realm of the individual, there is not and should not be a direct path from biological paradigms based on model organisms through to philosophical generalization and historical reification.

Adaptationism and Optimality

Author: Steven Hecht Orzack
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 9780521598361
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
Download and Read
These essays are intended to provide useful advice to "biologists in the trenches" but also to assess the larger theoretical and conceptual issues that form the basis of the current controversy." "This volume will serve to substantially advance the debate over adaptationism. It will be of interest to biologists, philosophers and historians of biology, anthropologists, psychologists, and cognitive scientists."--BOOK JACKET.

The Changing Role of the Embryo in Evolutionary Thought

Author: Ron Amundson
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 9781139443425
Format: PDF, Mobi
Download and Read
In this book Ron Amundson examines two hundred years of scientific views on the evolution-development relationship from the perspective of evolutionary developmental biology (evo-devo). This perspective challenges several popular views about the history of evolutionary thought by claiming that many earlier authors had made history come out right for the Evolutionary Synthesis. The book starts with a revised history of nineteenth-century evolutionary thought. It then investigates how development became irrelevant with the Evolutionary Synthesis. It concludes with an examination of the contrasts that persist between mainstream evolutionary theory and evo-devo. This book will appeal to students and professionals in the philosophy and history of science, and biology.

Building Bones Bone Formation and Development in Anthropology

Author: Christopher J. Percival
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 1107122783
Format: PDF
Download and Read
Bone is the tissue most frequently recovered archaeologically and is the material most commonly studied by biological anthropologists, who are interested in how skeletons change shape during growth and across evolutionary time. This volume brings together a range of contemporary studies of bone growth and development to highlight how cross-disciplinary research and new methods can enhance our anthropological understanding of skeletal variation. The novel use of imaging techniques from developmental biology, advanced sequencing methods from genetics, and perspectives from evolutionary developmental biology improve our ability to understand the bases of modern human and primate variation. Animal models can also be used to provide a broad biological perspective to the systematic study of humans. This volume is a testament to the drive of anthropologists to understand biological and evolutionary processes that underlie changes in bone morphology and illustrates the continued value of incorporating multiple perspectives within anthropological inquiry.