Mechanisms in Evo-Devo
- 11 Downloads
The concept of mechanism is central in evolutionary developmental biology (evo-devo). Researchers in this field seek to identify and characterize mechanisms that link individual development with evolutionary change. However, while the centrality of mechanisms for evo-devo is widely accepted, there is a lack of clarity about how mechanisms should be conceptualized in evo-devo to fulfill different explanatory interests and fit with methodological practices. This chapter begins by describing the different ways that philosophers of science understand the concept of mechanism as used by biologists. Next, I survey challenges to these philosophical views that arise when applied to developmental and evolutionary mechanisms, as well as to those mechanisms that link the two. The final section shows how some of these challenges can be addressed via complementary conceptions of mechanisms and mechanistic explanation, especially those that understand mechanisms by means of scales rather than parthood.
KeywordsDevelopmental mechanism Evo-devo Evolutionary mechanism Levels of organization Parthood Scales
I would like to thank Laura Nuño de la Rosa and Gerd B. Müller for the opportunity to participate in this project. I am grateful for comments received on earlier versions of this chapter by Laura Nuño de la Rosa and Alan C. Love. In addition, I gratefully acknowledge financial support from the German Research Foundation (DFG; Project No. BA 5808/1–1).
- Baedke J (forthcoming) The origin of new levels of organization. In: Brooks D, Di Frisco J, Wimsatt W (eds) Levels of organization in the biological sciences. MIT Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
- Craver CF (2015) Levels. In: Metzinger T, Windt JM (eds) Open MIND. MIND Group, Frankfurt, pp 1–26Google Scholar
- Love AC (2018) Developmental mechanisms. In: Glennan S, Illari P (eds) The Routledge handbook of the philosophy of mechanisms and mechanical philosophy. Routledge, New York, pp 332–347Google Scholar
- Minelli A (2015) Biological systematics in the evo-devo era. Eur J Taxon 125:1–23Google Scholar
- Nicholson DJ, Dupré J (eds) (2018) Everything flows: towards a processual philosophy of biology. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
- Winther RG (2015) Evo-devo as a trading zone. In: Love A (ed) Conceptual change in biology. Springer, Dordrecht, pp 459–482Google Scholar