Conceptual Issues in Evolutionary Biology / Edition 3

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These essays by leading scientists and philosophers address conceptual issues that arise in the theory and practice of evolutionary biology. The third edition of this widely used anthology has been substantially revised and updated.

Four new sections have been added: on women in the evolutionary process,evolutionary psychology, laws in evolutionary theory, and race as social construction or biological reality. Other sections treat fitness, units of selection, adaptationism, reductionism, essentialism, species, phylogenetic inference, cultural evolution, and evolutionary ethics.Each of the twelve sections contains two or three essays that develop different views of the subject at hand.

For example, the section on evolutionary psychology offers one essay by two founders of the field and another that questions its main tenets. One sign that a discipline is growing is that there are open questions, with multiple answers still in competition; the essays in this volume demonstrate that evolutionary biology and the philosophy of evolutionary biology are living, growing disciplines.Contributors:Robin O. Andreasen, Kwame Anthony Appiah, David A. Baum,John H. Beatty, David J. Buller, Leda Cosmides, James Donoghue, Steven J. Farris,Joseph Felsenstein, Susan K. Finsen, Joseph Fracchia, Stephen Jay Gould, Sarah Blaffer Hrdy, David L. Hull, Philip Kitcher, R. C. Lewontin, Elisabeth Lloyd, Ernst Mayr, Michael Ruse, John Maynard Smith, Elliott Sober, John Tooby, C. Kenneth Waters, George C. Williams, David Sloan Wilson, E. O. Wilson

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Editorial Reviews

About half of the 23 essays did not appear in the 1984 first edition; the others have been more or less revised to incorporate advances in the philosophy of biology. Among the topics are units of selection, phylogenetic inference, the reduction of Mendelian genetics to molecular biology, ethics and sociobiology, and cultural evolution and evolutionary epistemology. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780262693387
  • Publisher: MIT Press
  • Publication date: 9/1/2006
  • Series: Bradford Books Series
  • Edition description: third edition
  • Edition number: 3
  • Pages: 640
  • Sales rank: 1,304,764
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.25 (d)

Meet the Author

Eliott Sober is Hans Reichenbach Professor and William F. Vilas Research Professor of Philosophy at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is the author of The Nature of Selection (MIT Press, 1984),Reconstructing the Past (MIT Press, 1988), Philosophy of Biology, and, with David S. Wilson, Unto Others: The Evolution and Psychology of Unselfish Behavior.

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Table of Contents

1 The propensity interpretation of fitness 3
2 The two faces of fitness 25
3 Excerpts from Adaptation and natural selection 41
4 Levels of selection : an alternative to individualism in biology and the human sciences 63
5 The spandrels of San Marco and the Panglossian paradigm : a critique of the adaptationist programme 79
6 Optimization theory in evolution 99
7 Empathy, polyandry, and the myth of the coy female 131
8 Pre-theoretical assumptions in evolutionary explanations of female sexuality 161
9 Toward mapping the evolved functional organization of mind and brain 175
10 Evolutionary psychology : a critique 197
11 The evolutionary contingency thesis 217
12 Two outbreaks of lawlessness in recent philosophy of biology 249
13 1953 and all that : a tale of two sciences 261
14 Why the antireductionist consensus won't survive the case of classical Mendelian genetics 283
15 The multiple realizability argument against reductionism 301
16 Typological versus population thinking 325
17 Evolution, population thinking, and essentialism 329
18 A matter of individuality 363
19 Choosing among alternative "phylogenetic" species concepts 387
20 Cases in which parsimony and compatibility methods will be positively misleading 409
21 The logical basis of phylogenetic analysis 423
22 Why there are no human races 455
23 A new perspective on the race debate 477
24 Does culture evolve? 505
25 Models of cultural evolution 535
26 Moral philosophy as applied science 555
27 Four ways of "biologicizing" ethics 575
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