Biology & Philosophy

, Volume 28, Issue 5, pp 767–780 | Cite as

Why how and why aren’t enough: more problems with Mayr’s proximate-ultimate distinction

  • Brett Calcott


Like Laland et al., I think Mayr’s distinction is problematic, but I identify a further problem with it. I argue that Mayr’s distinction is a false dichotomy, and obscures an important question about evolutionary change. I show how this question, once revealed, sheds light on some debates in evo-devo that Laland et al.’s analysis cannot, and suggest that it provides a different view about how future integration between biological disciplines might proceed.


Mayr Proximate-ultimate Evo-devo Explanation Causation 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CanberraAustralia

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