Thinking about Evolution: Historical, Philosophical, and Political Perspectives

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Overview

This is the second of two volumes published by Cambridge University Press in honor of Richard Lewontin. The first volume, Evolutionary Genetics from Molecules to Morphology, honors Lewontin's more technical contributions to genetics and evolutionary biology. This second volume of essays honors the philosophical, historical, and political dimensions of his work. Given the range of Lewontin's own contributions, it is fitting that the volume covers such a wide range of perspectives on modern biology. He was a very successful practitioner of evolutionary genetics, a rigorous critic of the practices of genetics and evolutionary biology, as well as an articulate analyst of the social, political, and economic contexts and consequences of genetic and evolutionary research. The volume contains an essay by Lewontin on Natural History and Formalism in Evolutionary Genetics, and an extended interview with Lewontin, covering the history of evolutionary genetics as seen from his perspective and exemplified by his career. The remaining chapters, contributed by former students, post-docs, colleagues, and collaborators, cover issues ranging from the history and conceptual foundations of evolutionary biology and genetics, to the implications of human genetic diversity, to the political economy of agriculture and public health.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"[this] volume is a valuable summary of the 'state of art' in the philosophy of evolutionary biology as well as containing a number of valuable articles critical of behavior genetics, sociobiology, and, by implication, parts of evolutionary psychology." Human Nature Review

"This volume can be read by those interested in the broader aspects of science, the relationship between science and history, and science and politics. It provides a framework, by the example of one person's life and work, for how to situate science in society." Book Reviews

"The scope and themes of the essays in this volume are a fitting honor to Richard Lewontin...More than 25 essays address the social science aspects of Lewontin's field(s) of experience" SB&F July/August 2001

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521178310
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 4/28/2011
  • Edition description: Reissue
  • Pages: 626
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface; Introduction; 1. Does culture evolve? Richard Lewontin; Part A. History of and in Evolutionary Biology: 2. The nature of evolutionary biology: an interchange among Richard Lewontin, Diane Paul, John Beatty and Costas Krimbas; 3. Hannah Arendt and Karl Popper: Darwinism, Fatalism and Totalitarianism John Beatty; 4. The genetics of experimental populations: L'Heritier and Teisser's population cages Jean Gayon and Michel Veuille; 5. Did eugenics rest on an elementary mistake? Diane Paul and Hamish Spencer; 6. Can the norm of reaction save the gene concept? Rafi Falk; 7. The apportionment of human diversity twenty-five years later Maryellen Ruvolo and Mark Seielstad; 8. The Indian caste system: origin, evolution and impact on human diversity Rama Singh; Part B. Philosophy of Evolutionary Biology: 9. Selfish genes or developmental systems? Russel Gray; 10. The evolutionary definition of selective agency, the validation of the theory of hierarchical selection, and the fallacy of the selfish gene Stephen J. Gould; 11. Reductionism in genetics and the human genome project Sahotra Sarkar; 12. Organism and environment Peter Godfrey-Smith; 13. Levels and units of selection Lisa Lloyd; 14. In defense of neo-Darwinism: Popper's 'Darwinism as a metaphysical programme' revisited Costas Krimbas; 15. The two faces of fitness Elliot Sober; 16. Evolvability: adaptation and modularity Jeffrey C. Schank and Bill Wimsatt; 17. Organism and environment revisited Robert Brandon; 18. An 'irreducible' component of cognition Massimo Piattelli-Palmarini; Part C. The Politics of Evolutionary Biology: 19. What causes cancer? A political history of recent debates Robert Proctor; 20. Battling the undead: how (and how not) to resist genetic determinism Philip Kitcher; 21. The rise of neurogenetic determinism Steven Rose; 22. Behavior genetics: Galen's prophecy or Malpighi's legacy? Evan Balaban; 23. Identity politics and biology Ruth Hubbard; 24. The agroecosystem: the modern vision in crisis, the alternative evolving John Vandermeer; 25. Political economy of agricultural genetics Jean-Pierre Berlan; 26. The butterfly ex machina Richard Levins; 27. Evoking transmutational dread: military and civilian uses of nuclear and genetic alchemies Robert Haynes; 28. From natural selection to natural construction to disciplining unruly complexity: the challenge of integrating ecological dynamics into evolutionary theory Peter Taylor.

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