New PDF release: The Structure of Evolutionary Theory

By Stephen Jay Gould

ISBN-10: 0674006135

ISBN-13: 9780674006133

The world's so much respected and eloquent interpreter of evolutionary principles bargains right here a piece of explanatory strength extraordinary in our time--a landmark book, either for its ancient sweep and for its clinical imaginative and prescient. With attribute cognizance to aspect, Stephen Jay Gould first describes the content material and discusses the historical past and origins of the 3 center commitments of classical Darwinism: that typical choice works on organisms, now not genes or species; that it's virtually solely the mechanism of adaptive evolutionary swap; and that those alterations are incremental, no longer drastic. subsequent, he examines the 3 opinions that at the moment problem this vintage Darwinian edifice: that choice operates on a number of degrees, from the gene to the gang; that evolution proceeds via quite a few mechanisms, not only common choice; and that motives working at broader scales, together with catastrophes, have figured prominently during evolution. Then, in a gorgeous journey de strength that may most likely stimulate dialogue and debate for many years, Gould proposes his personal procedure for integrating those classical commitments and modern reviews right into a new constitution of evolutionary concept. In 2001 the Library of Congress named Stephen Jay Gould certainly one of America's eighty-three dwelling Legends--people who embrace the "quintessentially American excellent of person creativity, conviction, commitment, and exuberance." each one of those features unearths complete expression during this peerless paintings, the likes of which the medical global has no longer seen--and won't see again--for good over a century. Stephen Jay Gould is the Alexander Agassiz Professor of Zoology at Harvard college and Vincent Astor vacationing Professor of Biology at manhattan collage. A MacArthur Prize Fellow, he has acquired innumerable honors and awards and has written many books, together with Ontogeny and Phylogeny and Time's Arrow, Time's Cycle (both from Harvard).

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Indeed, I know of no other substantial conceptual advance in recent science so abetted by the active collaboration of working scientists and professional philosophers (thus obviating, for once, the perennial, and justified, complaint Defining and Revising the Structure of Evolutionary Theory 29 of philosophers of science that no scientists read their journals or even encounter their analyses). Several key achievements in modern evolutionary theory, particularly the successful resolution of conceptual difficulties in formulating a workable theory of hierarchical selection (rooted in concepts like emergence and simultaneous selection at several levels that our minds, with their preferences for two-valued logics, don't handle either automatically, or well at all), have appeared as joint publications of biologists and philosophers, including the books of Sober and Wilson, 1998, and El dredge and Grene, 1992; and articles of Sober and Lewontin, 1982, and Mayo and Gilinsky, 1987.

Moreover, as we shall see, these three apparently rather different kinds of data and their attendant critiques cohere into a revised general structure for evolutionary theory—thus marking our age as a time for building up and not only as a time for breaking down. CONCEPTS. Following the Kantian dictum that percepts without concepts are blind, but concepts without percepts empty, these two categories interpenetrate as "pure" data suggest novel ideas (how can one not rethink the causes of mass extinction when evidence surfaces for a bolide, 7-10 km in diameter, and packing 104 the megatonnage of all the earth's nuclear weapons combined), whereas "abstract" concepts then taxonomize the natural world in different ways, often "creating" data that had never been granted enough previous intellectual space even to be conceived (as when punctuated equilibrium made stasis a theoretically meaningful and interesting phenomenon, and not just an embarrassing failure to detect "evolution," in its traditional definition of gradual change—and paleontologists then began active studies of a subject that had previously been ignored as uninteresting, if conceptuDefining and Revising the Structure of Evolutionary Theory 27 alized at all).

Exciting subject within the ever changing and ever expanding world of modern science. The Structure of Evolutionary Theory: Revising the Three Central Features of Darwinian Logic In the opening sentence of the Origin's final chapter (1859, p. " The present book, on "the structure of evolutionary theory," despite its extravagant length, is also a brief for an explicit interpretation that may be portrayed as a single extended argument. Although I feel that our best current formulation of evolutionary theory includes modes of reasoning and a set of mechanisms substantially at variance with strict Darwinian natural selection, the logical structure of the Darwinian foundation remains remarkably intact—a fascinating historical observation in itself, and a stunning tribute to the intellectual power of our profession's founder.

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The Structure of Evolutionary Theory by Stephen Jay Gould

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