Book Review

Biology & Philosophy

, Volume 27, Issue 4, pp 583-593

First online:

Convergence, contingency & morphospace

G. R. McGhee: Convergent evolution: limited forms most beautiful. MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, 2011
  • Adrian Mitchell CurrieAffiliated withc/o RSSS Philosophy Department, Coombs (bldg 9) Australia National University Email author 

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George McGhee’s book “Convergent Evolution: limited forms most beautiful” provides an extensive survey of biological convergence. This paper has two main aims. First, it examines the theoretical claims McGhee makes about convergent evolution—specifically criticizing his use of a total morphospace to understand contingency and his assumption that functional constraints are non-contingent. Second, it sketches a group of important conceptual challenges facing researchers interested in convergence.


Convergence Contingency Morphospace Theoretical morphology