Biology & Philosophy

, Volume 27, Issue 4, pp 583–593

Convergence, contingency & morphospace

G. R. McGhee: Convergent evolution: limited forms most beautiful. MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, 2011
Book Review


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 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.c/o RSSS Philosophy DepartmentCoombs (bldg 9) Australia National UniversityCanberraAustralia

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