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Growth of Biological Thought: Diversity, Evolution, and Inheritance / Edition 1

Growth of Biological Thought: Diversity, Evolution, and Inheritance / Edition 1

by Ernst Mayr
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No one in this century can speak with greater authority on the progress of ideas in biology than Ernst Mayr. And no book has ever established the life sciences so firmly in the mainstream of Western intellectual history as The Growth of Biological Thought. Ten years in preparation, this is a work of epic proportions, tracing the development of the major problems of biology, from the earliest attempts to find order in the diversity of life, to modern research into the mechanisms of gene transmission.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 2900674364461
Publisher: Harvard
Publication date: 01/22/1985
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 992
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 1.25(h) x 9.00(d)

About the Author

Ernst Mayr was Alexander Agassiz Professor of Zoology, Emeritus, at Harvard University. He was the recipient of numerous honorary degrees and awards, including the Crafoord Prize for Biology, the National Medal of Science, the Balzan Prize, and the Japan Prize.

Table of Contents

1Introduction: How to write history of biology1
Subjectivity and bias9
Why study the history of biology?18
2The place of biology in the sciences and its conceptual structure21
The nature of science21
Method in science25
The position of biology within the sciences32
How and why is biology different?36
Special characteristics of living organisms51
Reduction and biology59
The conceptual structure of biology67
A new philosophy of biology73
3The changing intellectual milieu of biology83
The Christian world picture91
The Renaissance94
The discovery of diversity99
Biology in the Enlightenment107
The rise of science from the seventeenth to the nineteenth century109
Divisive developments in the nineteenth century112
Biology in the twentieth century120
Major periods in the history of biology125
Biology and philosophy128
Biology today131
Part IDiversity of Life
4Macrotaxonomy, the science of classifying147
The classification of plants by the ancients and the herbalists154
Downward classification by logical division158
Pre-Linnaean zoologists166
Carl Linnaeus171
A new start in animal classification182
Taxonomic characters185
Upward classification by empirical grouping190
Transition period (1758-1859)195
Hierarchical classifications205
5Grouping according to common ancestry209
The decline of macrotaxonomic research217
Numerical phenetics221
The traditional or evolutionary methodology233
New taxonomic characters235
Facilitation of information retrieval239
The study of diversity245
6Microtaxonomy, the science of species251
Early species concepts254
The essentialist species concept256
The nominalistic species concept263
Darwin's species concept265
The rise of the biological species concept270
Applying the biological species concept to multidimensional species taxa286
The significance of species in biology295
Part IIEvolution
7Origins without evolution301
The coming of evolutionism309
The French Enlightenment322
8Evolution before Darwin343
Lyell and uniformitarianism375
9Charles Darwin394
Darwin and evolution400
Alfred Russel Wallace417
The publication of the Origin423
10Darwin's evidence for evolution and common descent426
Common descent and the natural system436
Common descent and geographical distribution439
Morphology as evidence for evolution and common descent455
Embryology as evidence for evolution and common descent469
11The causation of evolution: natural selection477
The major components of the theory of natural selection481
The origin of the concept of natural selection488
The impact of the Darwinian revolution501
The resistance to natural selection510
Alternate evolutionary theories525
12Diversity and synthesis of evolutionary thought535
The growing split among the evolutionists540
Advances in evolutionary genetics550
Advances in evolutionary systematics559
The evolutionary synthesis566
13Post-synthesis developments571
Molecular biology574
Natural selection585
Unresolved issues in natural selection591
Modes of speciation600
The evolution of man620
Evolution in modern thought626
Part IIIVariation and Its Inheritance
14Early theories and breeding experiments633
Theories of inheritance among the ancients635
Mendel's forerunners641
15Germ cells, vehicles of heredity652
The Schwann-Schleiden cell theory655
The meaning of sex and fertilization658
Chromosomes and their role673
16The nature of inheritance681
Darwin and variation681
August Weismann698
Hugo de Vries707
Gregor Mendel710
17The flowering of Mendelian genetics727
The rediscoverers of Mendel727
The classical period of Mendelian genetics731
The origin of new variation (mutation)738
The emergence of modern genetics744
The Sutton-Boveri chromosome theory747
Sex determination750
Morgan and the fly room752
Morgan and the chromosome theory769
18Theories of the gene777
Competing theories of inheritance784
The Mendelian explanation of continuous variation790
19The chemical basis of inheritance808
The discovery of the double helix821
Genetics in modern thought826
20Epilogue: Toward a science of science829
Scientists and the scientific milieu830
The maturation of theories and concepts839
Impediments to the maturation of theories and concepts843
The sciences and the external milieu848
Progress in science856

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