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Philosophy of Evolutionary Biology: Volume I

Series: The International Library of Essays on Evolutionary Thought

Edited By: Stefan Linquist

562 pages, illustrations

Ashgate Publishing Limited

Hardback | Jul 2010 | #192777 | ISBN-13: 9780754627531
Availability: Usually dispatched within 6 days Details
NHBS Price: £170.00 $214/€202 approx

About this book

The impact of evolutionary theory on the philosophy of science has been no less profound than its impact on the science of biology itself. Advances in this theory provide a rich set of examples for thinking about the nature of scientific explanation and the structure of science. Many of the developments in our understanding of evolution resulted from contributions by both philosophers and biologists engaging over theoretical questions of mutual interest. This volume traces some of the most influential exchanges in this field over the last few decades. Focal topics include the nature of biological functions, adaptationism as an explanatory and methodological doctrine, the levels of selection debate, the concepts of fitness and drift, and the relationship of evolutionary to developmental biology.


Contents

Introduction
Footnotes to Darwin: an introduction to the philosophy of evolutionary biology

Part 1 Function and Purpose in Biology
- Functions as selected effects: the conceptual analyst's defense
- A modern history theory of functions
- Function without purpose: the uses of causal role function in evolutionary
- biology
- Function, homology and character individuation

Part 2 Adaptionism, Optimality and Adaptive Co-Variation
- Adaptionism and the power of selection
- Optimality models and the test of adaptionism
- Testing adaptionism: a comment on Orzack and Sober
- The causes of natural selection

Part 3 Fitness, Drift and the Forces of Evolution
- The propensity interpretation of fitness
- Chance and natural selection
- The indeterministic character of evolutionary theory: no 'no hidden variables proof' but no room
- for determinism either
- Is indeterminism the source of the statistical character of evolutionary theory?
- Are random drift and natural selection conceptually distinct?
- The trials of life: natural selection and random drift
- Fitness, probability, and the principles of natural selection

Part 4 Selfish Genes, Altruistic Organisms and Levels of Selection Debate
- Reviving the superorganism
- The return of the group
- The 'averaging fallacy' and the levels of selection
- The empirical nonequivalence of genic and genotypic models of selection: a (decisive) refutation of genic selectionism and pluralistic genic selectionism

Part 5 Three Challenges from Developmental Biology
- 2 concepts of restraint: adaptionism and the challenge from developmental biology
- Resynthesizing evolutionary and developmental biology
- Reductionism's redux: computing the embryo
- Understanding development
- How molecular is molecular developmental biology?
- Developmental systems and evolutionary explanation
- The extended replicator

Name Index

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Biography

Stefan Linquist, Dr, University of Guelph, Canada.

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