Evo-devo: a science of dispositions

European Journal for Philosophy of Science 7 (2):373-389 (2017)
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Abstract

Evolutionary developmental biology represents a paradigm shift in the understanding of the ontogenesis and evolutionary progression of the denizens of the natural world. Given the empirical successes of the evo-devo framework, and its now widespread acceptance, a timely and important task for the philosophy of biology is to critically discern the ontological commitments of that framework and assess whether and to what extent our current metaphysical models are able to accommodate them. In this paper, I argue that one particular model is a natural fit: an ontology of dispositional properties coherently and adequately captures the crucial casual-cum-explanatory role that the fundamental elements of evo-devo play within that framework.

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Christopher J. Austin
Durham University

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