Making Sense of Evolution: The Conceptual Foundations of Evolutionary Biology

Making Sense of Evolution: The Conceptual Foundations of Evolutionary Biology

by Massimo Pigliucci, Jonathan Kaplan
     
 

Making Sense of Evolution explores contemporary evolutionary biology, focusing on the elements of theories—selection, adaptation, and species—that are complex and open to multiple possible interpretations, many of which are incompatible with one another and with other accepted practices in the discipline. Particular experimental methods, for

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Overview

Making Sense of Evolution explores contemporary evolutionary biology, focusing on the elements of theories—selection, adaptation, and species—that are complex and open to multiple possible interpretations, many of which are incompatible with one another and with other accepted practices in the discipline. Particular experimental methods, for example, may demand one understanding of “selection,” while the application of the same concept to another area of evolutionary biology could necessitate a very different definition.

Spotlighting these conceptual difficulties and presenting alternate theoretical interpretations that alleviate this incompatibility, Massimo Pigliucci and Jonathan Kaplan intertwine scientific and philosophical analysis to produce a coherent picture of evolutionary biology. Innovative and controversial, Making Sense of Evolution encourages further development of the Modern Synthesis and outlines what might be necessary for the continued refinement of this evolving field.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780226668369
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
Publication date:
11/15/2006
Pages:
236
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.90(d)

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Meet the Author

Massimo Pigliucci is associate professor of ecology and evolution at Stony Brook University. Jonathan Kaplan is assistant professor of philosophy at Oregon State University.

Table of Contents

Contents Acknowledgments....................vii
PRELUDE Evolutionary Biology and Conceptual Analysis....................1
ONE Natural Selection and Fitness AFTER THE "FORCE" METAPHOR....................13
TWO How (Not) to Measure Natural Selection....................36
THREE The Targets and Units of Selection INDIVIDUAL EVENTS AND POPULATION DYNAMICS....................64
FOUR Studying Constraints through G-Matrices THE HOLY GRAIL OF EVOLUTIONARY QUANTITATIVE GENETICS....................88
FIVE A Quarter Century of Spandrels ADAPTATIONS, ADAPTATIONISMS, AND CONSTRAINTS IN BIOLOGY....................112
SIX Functions and For-ness in Biology....................130
SEVEN Testing Adaptive Hypotheses HISTORICAL EVIDENCE AND HUMAN ADAPTATIONS....................150
EIGHT Slippery Landscapes THE PROMISES AND LIMITS OF THE ADAPTIVE LANDSCAPE METAPHOR IN EVOLUTIONARY BIOLOGY....................175
NINE Species as Family Resemblance Concepts THE (DIS-)SOLUTION OF THE SPECIES PROBLEM?....................207
TEN Testing Biological Hypotheses THE DETECTIVE VERSUS THE STATISTICIAN....................227
CODA A Philosophical Dialogue....................263
References....................273
Index....................293

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