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Anya Plutynski
Washington University in St. Louis
  1.  15
    Chance in the Modern Synthesis.Anya Plutynski, Kenneth Blake Vernon, Lucas John Matthews & Dan Molter - 2016 - In Grant Ramsey & Charles H. Pence (eds.), Chance in Evolution. Chicago, IL, USA: The University of Chicago Press. pp. 76-102.
    The modern synthesis in evolutionary biology is taken to be that period in which a consensus developed among biologists about the major causes of evolution, a consensus that informed research in evolutionary biology for at least a half century. As such, it is a particularly fruitful period to consider when reflecting on the meaning and role of chance in evolutionary explanation. Biologists of this period make reference to “chance” and loose cognates of “chance,” such as: “random,” “contingent,” “accidental,” “haphazard,” or (...)
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  2. Drift: A Historical and Conceptual Overview.Anya Plutynski - 2007 - Biological Theory 2 (2):156-167.
    There are several different ways in which chance affects evolutionary change. That all of these processes are called “random genetic drift” is in part a due to common elements across these different processes, but is also a product of historical borrowing of models and language across different levels of organization in the biological hierarchy. A history of the concept of drift will reveal the variety of contexts in which drift has played an explanatory role in biology, and will shed light (...)
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  3. Parsimony and the Fisher–Wright Debate.Anya Plutynski - 2005 - Biology and Philosophy 20 (4):697-713.
    In the past five years, there have been a series of papers in the journal Evolution debating the relative significance of two theories of evolution, a neo-Fisherian and a neo-Wrightian theory, where the neo-Fisherians make explicit appeal to parsimony. My aim in this paper is to determine how we can make sense of such an appeal. One interpretation of parsimony takes it that a theory that contains fewer entities or processes, (however we demarcate these) is more parsimonious. On the account (...)
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  4. Speciation and Macroevolution.Anya Plutynski - 2008 - In Sahotra Sarkar & Anya Plutynski (eds.), Blackwell's Companion to Philosophy of Biology. Blackwell's/Routledge.
    Speciation is the process by which one or more species arises from a common ancestor, and “macroevolution” refers to patterns and processes at and above the species level – or, transitions in higher taxa, such as new families, phyla or genera. “Macroevolution” is contrasted with “microevolution,” evolutionary change within populations, due to migration, assortative mating, selection, mutation and drift. In the evolutionary synthesis of the 1930’s and 40’s, Haldane , Dobzhansky , Mayr , and Simpson argued that the origin of (...)
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  5. Neutralism.Anya Plutynski - 2004 - In Christopher Stephens & Mohan Matthen (eds.), Elsevier Handbook in Philosophy of Biology. Elsevier.
    In 1968, Motoo Kimura submitted a note to Nature entitled “Evolutionary Rate at the Molecular Level,” in which he proposed what has since become known as the neutral theory of molecular evolution. This is the view that the majority of evolutionary changes at the molecular level are caused by random drift of selectively neutral or nearly neutral alleles. Kimura was not proposing that random drift explains all evolutionary change. He does not challenge the view that natural selection explains adaptive evolution, (...)
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  6. Seeing the Forst for the Trees. [REVIEW]Anya Plutynski - 2004 - Biology and Philosophy 19 (2):299-303.
    Roderic Page’s new book, Tangled Trees: Phylogeny, Cospeciation and Coevolution (2003), is a worthwhile read for anyone interested in either methodological issues in systematics, or how organisms shape one another’s selective environments. “Cospeciation,” for the uninitiated, is the concurrent speciation of two or more lineages that are ecologically associated (e.g. host-parasite associations, as well as mutualistic or symbiotic associations). “Coevolution,” in contrast, is the reciprocal adaptation of hosts and parasite taxa. The main focus of Page’s book is thus when, how (...)
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