Dimensions of Darwinism

Dimensions of Darwinism : Themes and Counterthemes in Twentieth-Century Evolutionary Theory

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Originally published in paperback in 1986, the essays in this book discuss questions about the growth and conceptual structure of the modern evolutionary synthesis, or 'neo-Darwinism'. Written by biologists, historians and philosophers, the collection provides a penetrating analysis of the development, meaning and problems of twentieth-century evolutionary theory. Part I includes discussion of the role of eugenics in shaping the biological interests of R. A. Fisher; the abandonment of Lamarckism; the influence of systematics and the concepts of adaptation and random drift in the development of Sewall Wright's theory; and explanation of how the synthesis 'hardened' in the decades following its original presentation. Part II examines the history of mimetic theory as a case study in evolutionary thought, while Part III introduces the reader to some aspects of the German tradition. Finally, Part IV addresses the debates that existed around the time of publication.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 348 pages
  • 152 x 229 x 20mm | 510g
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Revised ed.
  • Worked examples or Exercises
  • 0521310210
  • 9780521310215

Table of contents

List of contributors; Acknowledgments; Introduction Marjorie Grene; Part I. The Developing Synthesis: 1. Fisher's entrance into evolutionary science: the role of eugenics Bernard Norton; 2. The abandonment of Lamarckian explanations: the case of climatic parallelism of animal characteristics Bernhard Rensch; 3. The development of Wright's theory of evolution: systematics, adaptation, and drift William B. Provine; 4. The hardening of the modern synthesis Stephen Jay Gould; Part II. Mimetic Theory: Its Relation to the History of Evolutionary Biology: 5. Mimicry: views of naturalists and ecologists before the modern synthesis William C. Kimler; 6. 'The hypothesis that explains mimetic resemblance explains evolution': the gradualist-saltationist schism John R. G. Turner; Part III. The German Paleontological and Morphological Tradition: 7. Evolutionary theory in German paleontology Wolf-Ernst Reif; 8. The role of morphology in the theory of evolution Rupert Riedl; Part IV. Some Contemporary Issues: The Synthesis Reconsidered: 9. Paleobiology at the crossroads: a critique of some modern paleobiological research programs Antoni Hoffman; 10. Current controversies in evolutionary biology John Maynard Smith; 11. 'Adaptation' Richard M. Burian; 12. Evolutionary theory and its consequences for the concept of adaptation D. S. Peters.
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