Teaching Evolutionary Developmental Biology: Concepts, Problems, and Controversy

  • Alan C. LoveEmail author
Part of the History, Philosophy and Theory of the Life Sciences book series (HPTL, volume 1)


Although sciences are often conceptualized in terms of theory confirmation and hypothesis testing, an equally important dimension of scientific reasoning is the structure of problems that guide inquiry. This problem structure is evident in several concepts central to evolutionary developmental biology (Evo-devo)—constraints, modularity, evolvability, and novelty. Because problems play an important role in biological practice, they should be included in biological pedagogy, especially when treating the issue of scientific controversy. A key feature of resolving controversy is synthesizing methodologies from different biological disciplines to generate empirically adequate explanations. Concentrating on problem structure illuminates this interdisciplinarity in a way that is often ignored when science is taught only from the perspective of theory or hypothesis. These philosophical considerations can assist life science educators in their continuing quest to teach biology to the next generation.


Problem Agenda Problem Structure National Science Education Standard Developmental Constraint Evolutionary Novelty 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



I am grateful to Kostas Kampourakis for the invitation to contribute this chapter. Many of the ideas set forth here emerged in collaboration with my colleague Ingo Brigandt and I acknowledge my debt to him in working out details related to a problem-oriented conception of scientific inquiry. Wallace Arthur and Kostas Kampourakis provided helpful comments and critical feedback on an earlier version of the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Philosophy, Minnesota Center for Philosophy of ScienceUniversity of MinnesotaMinneapolisUSA

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