Advertisement

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
Report

Introduction

‘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...

Notes

Acknowledgements

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.

References

  1. Baedke, J. (2017). Expanding views of evolution and causality. Journal for General Philosophy of Science, 48(4), 591–594.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Baedke, J. (2018). O Organism, Where art thou? Old and new challenges for organism-centered biology. Journal of the History of Biology, 52(2), 293–324.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10739-018-9549-4.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bapteste, E., & Huneman, P. (2018). Towards a dynamic interaction network of life to unify and expand the evolutionary theory. BMC Biology, 16(1), 56.  https://doi.org/10.1186/s12915-018-0531-6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Boumans, M., & Leonelli, S. (2013). Introduction: On the philosophy of science in practice. Journal for General Philosophy of Science, 44(2), 259–261.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Brigandt, I. (2010). Beyond reduction and pluralism: Toward an epistemology of explanatory integration in biology. Erkenntnis, 73(3), 295–311.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Brun, G. (2016). Explication as a method of conceptual re-engineering. Erkenntnis, 81(6), 1211–1241.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Casanueva-López, M., & Vergara-Silva, F. (2018). Teoría de construcción de nicho, “Síntesis Evolutiva Extendida” y filosofía de la ciencia: discusiones pendientes. In J. Muñoz-Rubio (Coord.), La biología evolutiva contemporánea: ¿una revolución más en la ciencia? (pp. 299–355). Ciudad de México: CEIICH, UNAM.Google Scholar
  8. Craig, L. (2010). The so-called extended synthesis and population genetics. Biological Theory, 5(2), 117–123.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Culp, S., & Kitcher, P. (1989). Theory structure and theory change in contemporary molecular biology. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, 40(4), 459–483.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Darden, L. (1991). Theory change in science: Strategies from Mendelian genetics. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  11. Depew, D. J., & Weber, B. H. (2013). Challenging darwinism: Expanding, extending, replacing. In M. Ruse (Ed.), The Cambridge encyclopedia of Darwin and evolutionary thought (pp. 405–411). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Eldredge, N. (1985). Unfinished synthesis: Biological hierarchies and modern evolutionary thought. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  13. Endler, J. A., & McLellan, T. (1988). The processes of evolution: Toward a newer synthesis. Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics, 19(1), 395–421.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Esposito, M. (2013). Romantic biology, 1890–1945. London: Pickering & Chatto.Google Scholar
  15. Fábregas-Tejeda, A., & Vergara-Silva, F. (2018). The emerging structure of the extended evolutionary synthesis: Where does Evo-Devo fit in? Theory in Biosciences, 137(2), 169–184.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Hammerstein, P. (1996). Darwinian adaptation, population genetics and the streetcar theory of evolution. Journal of Mathematical Biology, 34(5–6), 511–532.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Helanterä, H. (2011). Extending the modern synthesis with ants: Ant encounters. Biology and Philosophy, 26(6), 935–944.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Jablonka, E., & Lamb, M. (2008). Soft inheritance: Challenging the modern synthesis. Genetics and Molecular Biology, 31(2), 389–395.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Karlin, S. (1975). General two-locus selection models: Some objectives, results and interpretations. Theoretical Population Biology, 7(3), 364–398.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Laland, K., Uller, T., Feldman, M. W., Sterelny, K., et al. (2014). Does evolutionary theory need a rethink? Yes, urgently. Nature, 514(7521), 161–164.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Laland, K., Uller, T., Feldman, M. W., Sterelny, K., et al. (2015). The extended evolutionary synthesis: Its structure, assumptions and predictions. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 282(1813), 20151019.  https://doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2015.1019.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Laudan, L., Donovan, A., Laudan, R., Barker, P., et al. (1986). Scientific change: Philosophical models and historical research. Synthese, 69(2), 141–223.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Love, A. C. (Ed.). (2015). Conceptual change in biology: Scientific and philosophical perspectives on evolution and development. Dordrecht: Springer.Google Scholar
  24. Maynard Smith, J. (1978). Optimisation theory in evolution. Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics, 9, 31–56.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Müller, G. B. (2007). Evo-Devo: Extending the evolutionary synthesis. Nature Reviews Genetics, 8, 943–949.  https://doi.org/10.1038/nrg2219.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Müller, G. B., & Newman, S. A. (Eds.). (2003). Origination of organismal form: Beyond the gene in developmental and evolutionary biology. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.Google Scholar
  27. Müller, G. B., & Pigliucci, M. (2010). Extended synthesis: Theory expansion or alternative? Biological Theory, 5(3), 275–276.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Nicholson, D. J., & Gawne, R. (2015). Neither logical empiricism nor vitalism, but organicism: What the philosophy of biology was. History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences, 37(4), 345–381.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Peterson, E. L. (2016). The life organic. The theoretical biology club and the roots of epigenetics. Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh Press.Google Scholar
  30. Pigliucci, M. (2007). Do we need an extended evolutionary synthesis? Evolution, 61(12), 2743–2749.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Pigliucci, M., & Müller, G. B. (Eds.). (2010a). Evolution: The extended synthesis. Boston: The MIT Press.Google Scholar
  32. Pigliucci, M., & Müller, G. B. (2010b). Elements of an extended evolutionary synthesis. In M. Pigliucci & G. B. Müller (Eds.), Evolution: The Extended Synthesis (pp. 3–17). Boston: The MIT Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Potochnik, A. (2016). Scientific explanation: Putting communication first. Philosophy of Science, 83(5), 721–732.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Potochnik, A. (2017). Idealization and the aims of science. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Rieppel, O. (2016). Phylogenetic systematics: Haeckel to Hennig. Boca Raton: CRC Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Uller, T., & Helanterä, H. (2019). Niche construction and conceptual change in evolutionary biology. The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, 70(2), 351–375.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Wray, G. A., Hoekstra, H. E., Futuyma, D. J., Lenski, R. E., et al. (2014). Does evolutionary theory need a rethink? No, all is well. Nature, 514(7521), 161–164.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© 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

Personalised recommendations