The Changing Role of the Embryo in Evolutionary Thought: Roots of Evo-Devo

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Overview

In this book Ron Amundson examines 200 years of scientific views on the evolution-development relationship from the perspective of evolutionary developmental biology (evo-devo). This new perspective challenges several popular views about the history of evolutionary thought by claiming that many earlier authors made history come out right for the Evolutionary Synthesis. The book starts with a revised history of nineteenth-century evolutionary thought. It then investigates how development became irrelevant to evolution with the Evolutionary Synthesis. It concludes with an examination of the contrasts that persist between mainstream evolutionary theory and evo-devo.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This is revisionist history at its best. The death of Ernst Mayr, the last surviving father of the modern synthesis, makes the publication of this important book all the more timely.... Highly recommended...."
—CHOICE

"The Changing Role of the Embryo paints a fascinating portrait of the ways in which histories of biology have served as philosophical weapons legitimizing specific forms of biological theory and practice...Philosophers of biology, historians of biology, and practicing biologists with an interest in history, should all read this book...."
—Erika Lorraine Milam, Clemson University, Journal of the History of Biology

"… As The Changing Role of the Embryo in Evolutionary Thought demonstrates, understanding the deep epistemological and conceptual foundations of current research practices is clearly valuable. Amundson has taken an important first step, focusing largely on conceptual and ontological incompatibilities between scientific theories, thus suggesting some order among the ruins."
—Science

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Ron Amundson is Professor of Philosophy, University of Hawaii at Hilo.

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Table of Contents

1. Introduction; Part I. Darwin's Century: Beyond the Essentialism Story: 2. Systematics and the birth of the natural system; 3. The origins of morphology, the science of form; 4. Owen and Darwin, the archetype and the ancestor; 5. Evolutionary morphology: the first generation of evolutionists; 6. Interlude; Part II. Neo-Darwin's Century: Explaining the Absence and the Reappearance of Development in Evolutionary Thought: 7. The invention of heredity; 8. Basics of the evolutionary synthesis; 9. Structuralist reactions to the synthesis; 10. The synthesis matures; 11. Recent debates and the continuing tension.

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