Genes, Categories, and Species: The Evolutionary and Cognitive Cause of the Species Problem

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This book is a thorough re-examination of the "species problem", the continuing disagreement among biologists about how best to identify species and what constitutes useful and genuine biological divisions of groups and organisms. This book contributes to our understanding of the scientific issues related to the species concept through an exploration of the reality of biological diversity and of the mental processes behind the ways we recognize species, and how we establish typological categories generally. The text develops a theory of evolutionary groups (groups of DNAs that compete and share in genetic drift and adaptation), and revisits the major issues of modern phylogeny, systematics, and evolutionary biology through this framework.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"His casual style and thought-provoking examples are convincing...Combining the data collection Hey calls for with a treatment of species concepts as models would advance our understanding of how the world of real evolutionary groups is structured." — Kerry L. Shaw, Science

"In this important and refreshing view of the species debate, Jody Hey draws on a range of philosophical and evolutionary arguments to argue convincingly . . ."—Heredity

"This book links together philosophy, linguistics, and biology in an innovative fashion to arrive at a resolution of the long-standing "species question" of biology. Hey is able to frame his arguments in a style that makes what might otherwise be impenetrable, engaging. It will stimulate useful discussion and insight into the history of science, the physics-envy of ecologists, and the ability of scientists to be truly objective. A thought-provoking and profoundly insightful work."—Choice

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195144772
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 7/28/2001
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 8.00 (w) x 5.60 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Jody Hey is Professor of Genetics at Rutgers University, where he uses both mathematical theory and DNA sequencing to study the process of evolution. In recent years he has conducted research on the evolutionary divergence of fruit fly species and on the evolutionary origins of modern humans. This book was written while Dr. Hey was visiting the University of Edinburgh, Scotland with the aid of a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship.

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Table of Contents

1. The Species Problem
2. The Mode of Life
3. The Theory of Life
End of Part 1
4. Categories in the World and in the Mind
5. Typological Thinking About Species
6. Biological Diversity
7. Recombination and Biological Species
8. The Cause of the Species Problem
9. The Origin of Natural Kinds
End of Part 2
10. Phylogeny
11. Systematics
12. Evolutionary Biology
13. What are Species? And What are Taxa?
14. What is to be Done?

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