Advertisement

Biology & Philosophy

, Volume 25, Issue 3, pp 391–403 | Cite as

Philosophical foundations for the hierarchy of life

  • Deborah E. Shelton
  • Richard E. Michod
Article

Abstract

We review Evolution and the Levels of Selection by Samir Okasha. This important book provides a cohesive philosophical framework for understanding levels-of-selections problems in biology. Concerning evolutionary transitions, Okasha proposes that three stages characterize the shift from a lower level of selection to a higher one. We discuss the application of Okasha’s three-stage concept to the evolutionary transition from unicellularity to multicellularity in the volvocine green algae. Okasha’s concepts are a provocative step towards a more general understanding of the major evolutionary transitions; however, the application of certain ideas to the volvocine model system is not straightforward.

Keywords

Chlamydomonas Eudorina Evolutionary transitions Gonium Individuality Multicellularity Multilevel selection Pleodorina Volvocaceae Volvox 

References

  1. Bernstein H, Byerly HC, Hopf FA, Michod R, Vemulapalli GK (1983) The Darwinian dynamic. Q Rev Biol 58:185–207CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bonner JT (2000) First signals: the evolution of multicellular development. Princeton University Press, PrincetonGoogle Scholar
  3. Brandon RN (1982) Levels of selection. Proc Philos Sci Assoc 1:315–323Google Scholar
  4. Brandon RN (1988) The levels of selection: a hierarchy of interactors. In: Plotkin HC (ed) The role of behaviour in evolution. MIT Press, Cambridge, pp 51–71Google Scholar
  5. Brandon RN (1990) Adaptation and environment. Princeton University Press, PrincetonGoogle Scholar
  6. Brandon RN, Carson S (1996) The indeterministic character of evolutionary theory. Philos Sci 63:315–337CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Brandon RN, Antonovics J, Burian RM et al (1994) Sober on Brandon on screening off and the levels of selection. Philos Sci 61:475–486CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Buss LW (1987) The evolution of individuality. Princeton University Press, PrincetonGoogle Scholar
  9. Damuth J, Heisler IL (1988) Alternative formulations of multilevel selection. Biol Philos 3:407–430CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Darwin C (1859) On the origin of species by means of natural selection. John Murray, LondonGoogle Scholar
  11. Dawkins R (1976) The selfish gene. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  12. Dawkins R (1982) The extended phenotype. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  13. Edelman GM (1987) Neural Darwinism: the theory of neuronal group selection. Basic Books, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  14. Fisher RA (1930) The genetical theory of natural selection. Clarendon Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  15. Ghiselin MT (1974) Radical solution to species problem. Syst Zool 23:536–544CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Griesemer J (2000) The units of evolutionary transition. Selection 1:67–80CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Hamilton WD (1963) The evolution of altruistic behaviour. Am Nat 97:354–356CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Hamilton WD (1975) Innate social aptitudes in man: an approach from evolutionary genetics. In: Fox R (ed) Biosocial anthropology. Wiley, New York, pp 133–155Google Scholar
  19. Heisler IL, Damuth J (1987) A method for analyzing selection in hierarchically structured populations. Am Nat 130:582–602CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Herron MD, Michod RE (2008) Evolution of complexity in the volvocine algae: transitions in individuality through Darwin’s eye. Evolution 62:436–451CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Herron MD, Hackett JD, Aylward FO, Michod RE (2009) Triassic origin and early radiation of multicellular volvocine algae. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 106:3254–3258CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Hull DL (1978) Matter of individuality. Philos Sci 45:335–360CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Hull DL (1981) Units of evolution: a metaphysical essay. In: Jensen UJ, Harré R (eds) The philosophy of evolution. Harvester Press, Brighton, pp 23–44Google Scholar
  24. Iwasa K, Murakami S (1968) Palmelloid formation of Chlamydomonas I. Palmelloid induction by organic acids. Physiol Plant 21:1224–1233CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Iwasa K, Murakami S (1969) Palmelloid formation of Chalmydomonas II. Mechanism of palmelloid formation by organic acids. Physiol Plant 22:43–50CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Kirk DL (1998) Volvox: molecular-genetic origins of multicellularity and cellular differentiation. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  27. Kirk DL (2005) A twelve-step program for evolving multicellularity and a division of labor. Bioessays 27:299–310CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Lewontin RC (1970) The units of selection. Annu Rev Ecol Syst 1:1–18CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Lloyd EA (1988) The structure and confirmation of evolutionary theory. Greenwood Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  30. Lurling M, Beekman W (2006) Palmelloids formation in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii: defense against rotifer predators? Ann Limnol 42:65–72CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Maynard Smith J (1976) Group selection. Q Rev Biol 51:277–283CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Maynard Smith J (1987) How to model evolution. In: Dupré J (ed) The latest on the best: essays on evolution and optimality. MIT Press, Cambridge, pp 147–150Google Scholar
  33. Maynard Smith J (1988) Evolutionary progress and levels of selection. In: Nitecki MH (ed) Evolutionary progress. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, pp 219–230Google Scholar
  34. Maynard Smith J (1991) A Darwinian view of symbiosis. In: Margulis L, Fester R (eds) Symbiosis as a source of evolutionary innovation. MIT Press, Cambridge, pp 26–39Google Scholar
  35. Maynard Smith J, Szathmáry E (1995) The major transitions in evolution. W.H. Freeman, San FranciscoGoogle Scholar
  36. McShea DW (1996) Metazoan complexity and evolution: is there a trend? Evolution 50:477–492CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. McShea DW (1998) Possible large-scale trends in organismal evolution: eight live hypotheses. Annu Rev Ecol Syst 29:293–318CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. McShea DW (2001a) The hierarchical structure of organisms: a scale and documentation of a trend in the maximum. Paleobiology 27:405–423CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. McShea DW (2001b) The ‘minor transitions’ in hierarchical evolution and the question of directional bias. J Evol Biol 14:502–518CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Michod RE (1989) Darwinian selection in the brain. Evolution 43:694–696CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Nedelcu AM, Michod R (2003) Evolvability, modularity, and individuality during the transition to multicellularity in volvocalean green algae. In: Schlosser G, Wagner G (eds) Modularity in development and evolution. University of Chicago Press, ChicagoGoogle Scholar
  42. Nunney L (1985a) Female-biased sex-ratios—individual or group selection. Evolution 39:349–361CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Nunney L (1985b) Group selection, altruism, and structured-deme models. Am Nat 126:212–230CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Nunney L (2000) Altruism, benevolence and culture. J Conscious Stud 7:231–236Google Scholar
  45. Okasha S (2006) Evolution and the levels of selection. Oxford University Press, OxfordCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Price GR (1970) Selection and covariance. Nature 227:520–521CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Price GR (1972) Extension of covariance selection mathematics. Ann Hum Genet 35:485–490CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Roze D, Michod RE (2001) Mutation, multilevel selection, and the evolution of propagule size during the origin of multicellularity. Am Nat 158:638–654CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Smith GM (1944) A comparative study of the species of Volvox. Trans Am Microsc Soc 63:265–310CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Sober E (1984) The nature of selection. Chicago University Press, ChicagoGoogle Scholar
  51. Sober E (1987) Comments on Maynard Smith’s “How to model evolution”. In: Dupré J (ed) The latest on the best: essays on evolution and optimality. MIT Press, Cambridge, pp 133–145Google Scholar
  52. Sober E, Wilson DS (1994) A critical review of philosophical work on the units of selection problem. Philos Sci 61:534–555CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Sober E, Wilson DS (1998) Unto others: the evolution and psychology of unselfish behavior. Harvard University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  54. Sober E, Wilson DS (2002) Morality and Unto Others. In: Katz LD (ed) Evolutionary origins of morality. Imprint Academic, Thorverton, pp 257–268Google Scholar
  55. Vallon O, Wollman FA (1995) Mutations affecting O-glycosylation in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii cause delayed cell-wall degradation and sex-limited sterility. Plant Physiol 108:703–712Google Scholar
  56. Wilson DS, Wilson EO (2007) Rethinking the theoretical foundation of sociobiology. Q Rev Biol 82:327–348CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Wimsatt W (1980) Reductionist research strategies and their biases in the units of selection controversy. In: Nickles T (ed) Scientific discoveries: case studies. Reidel, Dordrecht, pp 213–259Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Ecology and Evolutionary BiologyUniversity of ArizonaTucsonUSA

Personalised recommendations