New Perspectives on Theory Change in Evolutionary Biology

Workshop ‘The Extended Evolutionary Synthesis: Philosophical and Historical Dimensions’, Ruhr University Bochum, Germany, March 21–22, 2019
  • Alejandro Fábregas-TejedaEmail author


‘Theory change’ has a long tradition of being a topic of general interest for philosophers of science (e.g., Laudan et al. 1986). With respect to biology, ‘theory change’ has been a widely discussed subject throughout the twentieth century, both by scientists looking inside their own disciplinary practices and by philosophers (e.g., Culp and Kitcher 1989; Darden 1991). Preeminently, the relationship between ‘development’ and ‘evolution’ has prompted a lot of debates regarding conceptual change in the life sciences (see Love 2015). In the last two decades, evolutionary biologists that embrace a ‘developmental perspective’ on evolution are increasingly revamping the ‘theory change’ discourse under the banner of the ‘Extended Evolutionary Synthesis’ (EES).

As part of the EES movement, researchers coming from different disciplinary backgrounds are (1) emphasizing organismal causes of development, inheritance and differential fitness, the role of constructive processes in...



I thank Dan Nicholson, Francisco Vergara-Silva, Ricardo Muñiz, Andrew Buskell, Kevin Laland, Katrina Falkenberg, and especially Jan Baedke for reading previous versions of this workshop report, and for pointing out ways to improve it. Any mistake or misstatement of opinions is entirely my fault. I acknowledge the financial support provided by the LabExchange program of Ruhr University Bochum to attend to this workshop. I also thank Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología and Posgrado en Filosofía de la Ciencia, UNAM for additional funding. I acknowledge the attentive editorial assistance of Helmut Pulte. Last but not least, I sincerely thank all the speakers and attendees of the workshop for creating such an intellectually stimulating atmosphere to discuss philosophical and historical problems related to the EES.


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© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Instituto de BiologíaUniversidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM)Mexico CityMexico
  2. 2.Posgrado en Filosofía de la CienciaUNAMMexico CityMexico

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