Keywords in Evolutionary Biology

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Gwen Frankfeldt Cambridge, MA and London, England 1992 Hardcover 1st Printing Brand New in Like New jacket Reference Book. 8vo-over 7?"-9?" tall. 414 pp. Book is without a ... blemish. Dj has two tiny cuts (tears) on top of back flap; almost flawless dj. Read more Show Less

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Overview

In science, more than elsewhere, a word is expected to mean what it says, nothing more, nothing less. But scientific discourse is neither different nor separable from ordinary language—meanings are multiple, ambiguities ubiquitous. Keywords in Evolutionary Biology grapples with this problem in a field especially prone to the confusion engendered by semantic imprecision.

Written by historians, philosophers, and biologists—including, among others, Stephen Jay Gould, Diane Paul, John Beatty, Robert Richards, Richard Lewontin, David Sloan Wilson, Peter Bowler, and Richard Dawkins—these essays identify and explicate those terms in evolutionary biology which, though commonly used, are plagues by multiple concurrent and historically varying meanings. By clarifying these terms in their many guises, the editors Evelyn Fox Keller and Elisabeth Lloyd hope to focus attention on major scholarly problems in the field—problems sometimes obscured, sometimes reveals, and sometimes even created by the use of such equivocal words. "Competition," "adaptation," and "fitness," for instance, are among the terms whose multiple meaning have led to more than merely semantic debates in evolutionary biology.

Exploring the complexity of keywords and clarifying their role in prominent issues in the field, this book will prove invaluable to scientists and philosophers trying to come to terms with evolutionary theory; it will also serve as a useful guide to future research into the way in which scientific language works.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Essays by notable historians, philosophers, and biologists identify and explicate those terms in evolutionary biology which, though commonly used, are plagued by multiple concurrent and historically varying meanings. These explorations focus attention on major scholarly problems in the field--sometimes obscured and sometimes created by the use of such equivocal words as competition, adaptation, fitness, altruism, character, and natural selection, for example. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780674503120
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press
  • Publication date: 1/28/1992
  • Pages: 430
  • Product dimensions: 6.38 (w) x 9.55 (h) x 1.33 (d)

Meet the Author

Evelyn Fox Keller is Professor of History and Philosophy of Science at MIT. She is the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship and numerous honorary degrees.

Elisabeth A. Lloyd is Arnold and Maxine Tanis Chair of History and Philosophy of Science and Professor of Biology, Indiana University.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Contributors
Introduction 1
Adaptation: Historical Perspectives 7
Adaptation: Current Usages 13
Altruism: Theoretical Contexts 19
Altruism: Contemporary Debates 29
Altruism: Some Theoretical Ambiguities 34
Character: Historical Perspectives 41
Character: Current Usages 45
Community 52
Competition: Historical Perspectives 61
Competition: Current Usages 68
Darwinism 74
Environment 81
Epistasis 87
Eugenics 92
Evolution 95
Extinction 106
Fitness: Historical Perspectives 112
Fitness: Theoretical Contexts 115
Fitness: Reproductive Ambiguities 120
Gene: Historical Perspectives 122
Gene: Current Usages 128
Genetic Load 132
Genotype and Phenotype 137
Group Selection 145
Heritability: Historical Perspectives 149
Heritability: Some Theoretical Ambiguities 151
Heterochrony 158
Heterosis 166
Homology 170
Individual 180
Lamarckism 188
Macromutation 194
Monophyly 202
Mutualism and Cooperation 208
Natural Selection: Historical Perspectives 212
Natural Selection: Current Usages 220
Neutralism 225
Niche: Historical Perspectives 231
Niche: A Bifurcation in the Conceptual Lineage of the Term 241
Parsimony 249
Phenotypic Plasticity 255
Progress 263
Random Drift 273
Resource 282
Sexual Selection: Historical Perspectives 286
Sexual Selection: Contemporary Debates 294
Species: Historical Perspectives 302
Species: Theoretical Contexts 312
Species: Current Usages 318
Teleology 324
Unit of Selection 334
References 343
Index 395
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