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  1. The Proper Role of Population Genetics in Modern Evolutionary Theory.Massimo Pigliucci - 2008 - Biological Theory 3 (4):316-324.
    Evolutionary biology is a field currently animated by much discussion concerning its conceptual foundations. On the one hand, we have supporters of a classical view of evolutionary theory, whose backbone is provided by population genetics and the so-called Modern Synthesis (MS). On the other hand, a number of researchers are calling for an Extended Synthe- sis (ES) that takes seriously both the limitations of the MS (such as its inability to incorporate developmental biology) and recent empirical and theoretical research on (...)
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  • Chances and Propensities in Evo-Devo.Laura Nuño de la Rosa & Cristina Villegas - forthcoming - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science.
    While the notion of chance has been central in discussions over the probabilistic nature of natural selection and genetic drift, its role in the production of variants on which populational sampling takes place has received much less philosophical attention. This article discusses the concept of chance in evolution in the light of contemporary work in evo-devo. We distinguish different levels at which randomness and chance can be defined in this context, and argue that recent research on variability and evolvability demands (...)
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  • Between Holism and Reductionism: A Philosophical Primer on Emergence.Massimo Pigliucci - 2013 - Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 112 (2):261-267.
    Ever since Darwin a great deal of the conceptual history of biology may be read as a struggle between two philosophical positions: reductionism and holism. On the one hand, we have the reductionist claim that evolution has to be understood in terms of changes at the fundamental causal level of the gene. As Richard Dawkins famously put it, organisms are just ‘lumbering robots’ in the service of their genetic masters. On the other hand, there is a long holistic tradition that (...)
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  • Making the Most of Clade Selection.W. Ford Doolittle - 2017 - Philosophy of Science 84 (2):275-295.
    Clade selection is unpopular with philosophers who otherwise accept multilevel selection theory. Clades cannot reproduce, and reproduction is widely thought necessary for evolution by natural selection, especially of complex adaptations. Using microbial evolutionary processes as heuristics, I argue contrariwise, that (1) clade growth (proliferation of contained species) substitutes for clade reproduction in the evolution of complex adaptation, (2) clade-level properties favoring persistence – species richness, dispersal, divergence, and possibly intraclade cooperation – are not collapsible into species-level traits, (3) such properties (...)
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  • ‘On the Different Ways of ‘‘Doing Theory’’ in Biology‘.Massimo Pigliucci - 2013 - Biological Theory 7 (4): 287-297.
    ‘‘Theoretical biology’’ is a surprisingly heter- ogeneous field, partly because it encompasses ‘‘doing the- ory’’ across disciplines as diverse as molecular biology, systematics, ecology, and evolutionary biology. Moreover, it is done in a stunning variety of different ways, using anything from formal analytical models to computer sim- ulations, from graphic representations to verbal arguments. In this essay I survey a number of aspects of what it means to do theoretical biology, and how they compare with the allegedly much more restricted (...)
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  • The Strategy of Endogenization in Evolutionary Biology.Samir Okasha - forthcoming - Synthese:1-23.
    Evolutionary biology is striking for its ability to explain a large and diverse range of empirical phenomena on the basis of a few general theoretical principles. This article offers a philosophical perspective on the way that evolutionary biology has come to achieve such impressive generality, by focusing on “the strategy of endogenization”. This strategy involves devising evolutionary explanations for biological features that were originally part of the background conditions, or scaffolding, against which such explanations take place. Where successful, the strategy (...)
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  • Biology's Last Paradigm Shift. The Transition From Natural Theology to Darwinism.Massimo Pigliucci - 2012 - Paradigmi 2012 (3):45-58.
    The theory of evolution, which provides the conceptual framework for all modern research in organismal biology and informs research in molecular bi- ology, has gone through several stages of expansion and refinement. Darwin and Wallace (1858) of course proposed the original idea, centering on the twin concepts of natural selection and common descent. Shortly thereafter, Wallace and August Weismann worked toward the complete elimination of any Lamarckian vestiges from the theory, leaning in particular on Weismann’s (1893) concept of the separation (...)
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  • What Evolvability Really Is.Rachael L. Brown - 2013 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science (3):axt014.
    In recent years, the concept of evolvability has been gaining in prominence both within evolutionary developmental biology (evo-devo) and the broader field of evolutionary biology. Despite this, there remains considerable disagreement about what evolvability is. This article offers a solution to this problem. I argue that, in focusing too closely on the role played by evolvability as an explanandum in evo-devo, existing philosophical attempts to clarify the evolvability concept have been overly narrow. Within evolutionary biology more broadly, evolvability offers a (...)
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  • Dispositional Properties in Evo-Devo.Christopher J. Austin & Laura Nuño de la Rosa - 2018 - In Laura Nuño de la Rosa & G. Müller (eds.), Evolutionary Developmental Biology. Cham, Switzerland: Springer.
    In identifying intrinsic molecular chance and extrinsic adaptive pressures as the only causally relevant factors in the process of evolution, the theoretical perspective of the Modern Synthesis had a major impact on the perceived tenability of an ontology of dispositional properties. However, since the late 1970s, an increasing number of evolutionary biologists have challenged the descriptive and explanatory adequacy of this “chance alone, extrinsic only” understanding of evolutionary change. Because morphological studies of homology, convergence, and teratology have revealed a space (...)
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  • Evolutionary Perspectives on Molecular Medicine: Cancer From an Evolutionary Perspective.A. Plutynski - forthcoming - In G. Boniolo & M. J. Nathan (eds.), Philosophy of Molecular Medicine: Foundational Issues in Research and Practice. Routledge.
    There is an active research program currently underway, which treats cancer progression as an evolutionary process. This contribution investigates the ways that cancer progression is like and unlike evolution in other contexts. The aim is to take a multi-level perspective on cancer, investigating the levels at which selection may be acting, the unit or target of selection, the relative roles of selection and drift, and the idea that cancer progression may be a by-product of selection at other levels of organization.
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  • The Extended (Evolutionary) Synthesis Debate: Where Science Meets Philosophy.Massimo Pigliucci & Leonard Finkelman - 2015 - BioScience 64 (6):511-516.
    Recent debates between proponents of the modern evolutionary synthesis (the standard model in evolutionary biology) and those of a possible extended synthesis are a good example of the fascinating tangle among empirical, theoretical, and conceptual or philosophical matters that is the practice of evolutionary biology. In this essay, we briefly discuss two case studies from this debate, highlighting the relevance of philosophical thinking to evolutionary biologists in the hope of spurring further constructive cross-pollination between the two fields.
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  • What Evolvability Really Is.R. L. Brown - 2014 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 65 (3):549-572.
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  • Seven Types of Adaptationism.Tim Lewens - 2009 - Biology and Philosophy 24 (2):161-182.
    Godfrey-Smith ( 2001 ) has distinguished three types of adaptationism. This article builds on his analysis, and revises it in places, by distinguishing seven varieties of adaptationism. This taxonomy allows us to clarify what is at stake in debates over adaptationism, and it also helps to cement the importance of Gould and Lewontin’s ‘Spandrels’ essay. Some adaptationists have suggested that their essay does not offer any coherent alternative to the adaptationist programme: it consists only in an exhortation to test adaptationist (...)
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  • The sociobiology of genes: the gene’s eye view as a unifying behavioural-ecological framework for biological evolution.Alexis De Tiège, Yves Van de Peer, Johan Braeckman & Koen B. Tanghe - 2017 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 40 (1):6.
    Although classical evolutionary theory, i.e., population genetics and the Modern Synthesis, was already implicitly ‘gene-centred’, the organism was, in practice, still generally regarded as the individual unit of which a population is composed. The gene-centred approach to evolution only reached a logical conclusion with the advent of the gene-selectionist or gene’s eye view in the 1960s and 1970s. Whereas classical evolutionary theory can only work with fitness differences between individual organisms, gene-selectionism is capable of working with fitness differences among genes (...)
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  • Engineering and Evolvability.Brett Calcott - 2014 - Biology and Philosophy 29 (3):293-313.
    Comparing engineering to evolution typically involves adaptationist thinking, where well-designed artifacts are likened to well-adapted organisms, and the process of evolution is likened to the process of design. A quite different comparison is made when biologists focus on evolvability instead of adaptationism. Here, the idea is that complex integrated systems, whether evolved or engineered, share universal principles that affect the way they change over time. This shift from adaptationism to evolvability is a significant move for, as I argue, we can (...)
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  • Sewall Wright’s Adaptive Landscapes: 1932 Vs. 1988.Massimo Pigliucci - 2008 - Biology and Philosophy 23 (5):591-603.
    Sewall Wright introduced the metaphor of evolution on “adaptive landscapes” in a pair of papers published in 1931 and 1932. The metaphor has been one of the most influential in modern evolutionary biology, although recent theoretical advancements show that it is deeply flawed and may have actually created research questions that are not, in fact, fecund. In this paper I examine in detail what Wright actually said in the 1932 paper, as well as what he thought of the matter at (...)
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  • Down with Natural Selection? [REVIEW]Massimo Pigliucci - 2009 - Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 52 (1):134-140.
    Biologists are increasingly reexamining the conceptual structure of evolutionary theory, which dates back to the so-called Modern Synthesis of the 1930s and 1940s. Calls for an Extended Evolutionary Synthesis (EES) cite a number of empir- ical and theoretical advances that need to be accounted for, including evolvability, evo- lutionary novelties, capacitors of phenotypic evolution, developmental plasticity, and phenotypic attractors. In Biological Emergences, however, Robert Reid outlines a theory of evolution in which natural selection plays no role or—worse—actually impedes evo- lution (...)
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  • A Hybrid Approach for Modular Neural Network Design Using Intercriteria Analysis and Intuitionistic Fuzzy Logic.Sotir Sotirov, Evdokia Sotirova, Vassia Atanassova, Krassimir Atanassov, Oscar Castillo, Patricia Melin, Todor Petkov & Stanimir Surchev - 2018 - Complexity 2018:1-11.
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  • RNA Editing: A Driving Force for Adaptive Evolution?Willemijn M. Gommans, Sean P. Mullen & Stefan Maas - 2009 - Bioessays 31 (10):1137-1145.
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  • Macroevolutionary Freezing and the Janusian Nature of Evolvability: Is the Evolution Going to End?Jan Toman & Jaroslav Flegr - 2018 - Biosemiotics 11 (2):263-285.
    In a macroevolutionary timescale, evolvability itself evolves. Lineages are sorted based on their ability to generate adaptive novelties, which leads to the optimization of their genotype-phenotype map. The system of translation of genetic or epigenetic changes to the phenotype may reach significant horizontal and vertical complexity, and may even exhibit certain aspects of learning behaviour. This continuously evolving semiotic system probably enables the origin of complex yet functional and internally compatible adaptations. However, it also has a second, “darker”, side. As (...)
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  • Extending and Expanding the Darwinian Synthesis: The Role of Complex Systems Dynamics.Bruce H. Weber - 2011 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 42 (1):75-81.
    Darwinism is defined here as an evolving research tradition based upon the concepts of natural selection acting upon heritable variation articulated via background assumptions about systems dynamics. Darwin’s theory of evolution was developed within a context of the background assumptions of Newtonian systems dynamics. The Modern Evolutionary Synthesis, or neo-Darwinism, successfully joined Darwinian selection and Mendelian genetics by developing population genetics informed by background assumptions of Boltzmannian systems dynamics. Currently the Darwinian Research Tradition is changing as it incorporates new information (...)
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  • Extending and Expanding the Darwinian Synthesis: The Role of Complex Systems Dynamics.Bruce H. Weber - 2011 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 42 (1):75-81.
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  • A Case Study in Evolutionary Contingency.Zachary D. Blount - 2016 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 58:82-92.
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  • Philosophy of Biology in the Twenty-First Century. [REVIEW]Trevor Pearce - 2012 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 43 (1):312-315.
    Essay review of Michael Ruse (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of the Philosophy of Biology (2008).
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