Organisms, Agency, and Evolution
The central insight of Darwin's Origin of Species is that evolution is an ecological phenomenon, arising from the activities of organisms in the 'struggle for life'. By contrast, the Modern Synthesis theory of evolution, which rose to prominence in the twentieth century, presents evolution as a fundamentally molecular phenomenon, occurring in populations of sub-organismal entities - genes. After nearly a century of success, the Modern Synthesis theory is now being challenged by empirical advances in the study of organismal development and inheritance. In this important study, D. M. Walsh shows that the principal defect of the Modern Synthesis resides in its rejection of Darwin's organismal perspective, and argues for 'situated Darwinism': an alternative, organism-centred conception of evolution that prioritises organisms as adaptive agents. His book will be of interest to scholars and advanced students of evolutionary biology and the philosophy of biology.
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activities adaptationism adaptationist adaptive bias adaptive change adaptive evolution affordances agents alternative behaviour biological form biologists Cambridge capacities causal causal powers causes cells Chapter complex entities component processes conditions of existence consequence context Darwin’s theory developmental systems distinction effect emergentism environment environmental epigenetic epigenetic landscape evolutionary biology evolutionary change Evolutionary Developmental Biology evolutionary novelties evolutionary theory evolutionary thinking explain explanatory extragenetic fit and diversity function gene regulatory networks genetic genome genotype space goal-directed goals holism individual organisms inheritance and development interactions Lewontin mechanism mechanistic metaphysical models Modern Synthesis conception Modern Synthesis theory Modern Synthesis thinking molecular molecules mutation natural selection niche construction offspring organismal development Oxford phenotype Philosophy of Biology physical plasticity population change population thinking processes of evolution properties purposive relation response robust role Schrödinger’s Situated Darwinism stable structure teleological explanation teleology theoretical tion trait types understanding University Press variation Wagner Walsh Weismann Weismann barrier