Evolution as Natural History

A Philosophical Analysis

Evolution as Natural History


  • Engelstalig
  • 200 pagina's
  • 9780275968700
  • juni 2000
Alle productspecificaties

Wim van der Steen charts conceptual foundations of evolutionary biology and, on the basis of this, he evaluates applications of evolutionary theory outside biology. Philosophical analysis shows that key notions of the theory such as fitness, adaptation, selection, and optimality are empty place-holder concepts that call for context-dependent specifications of meaning. For example, as he points out, the notion of optimality is empty without a specification of constraints. Hence, the controversial thesis that animals perform optimal behaviors as a result of natural selection is meaningless rather than true or false. Analysis shows that many other controversies in evolutionary biology are spurious. Thus, the thesis of genic selectionism, which puts genes at center stage in evolutionary theory, is best reconstructed as an arbitrary conceptualization without substance. Disagreements over the thesis are futile. They reflect preferences for different conceptualizations which are ultimately equivalent. As concepts are properly specified, van der Steen asserts evolutionary theory turns out to be a body of interesting natural history at a low level of generality. General laws of evolution do not exist. Hence, evolutionary approaches do not allow sweeping claims about human nature. Unfortunately, in disciplines outside biology such claims are often defended with evolutionary approaches. Evolutionary theory also cannot serve as a foundation for normative views in ethics or epistemology. This is an important and controversial work for scholars and advanced researchers in biology and the philosophy of biology.


.,. an excellent resource for the identification of the most recent authors and disputes among evolutionists. -The Review of Metaphysics


Auteur Wim J. van der Steen, Wim J. van der Steen
Taal Engels
Afmetingen 20x235x155 mm
Gewicht 449,00 gram
Verschijningsdatum juni 2000
ISBN10 0275968707
ISBN13 9780275968700

Je vindt dit boek in

Categorieën Exacte wetenschappen > Biologie
  Mens & Maatschappij > Filosofie
  Exacte wetenschappen > Levenswetenschappen
Studie of Management Studieboek
Uitvoering Boek
Onderwerp Evolutie
Verschijningsvorm Hardcover

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Anderen bekeken ook:

The Structure of Biological Science
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Vaulting Ambition
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Philosophy of Evolutionary Biology
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