By Jonathan Kaplan, Massimo Pigliucci

ISBN-10: 0226668371

ISBN-13: 9780226668376

Making feel of Evolution explores modern evolutionary biology, targeting the weather of theories—selection, edition, and species—that are advanced and open to a number of attainable interpretations, lots of that are incompatible with each other and with different accredited practices within the self-discipline. specific experimental tools, for instance, could call for one figuring out of “selection,” whereas the applying of an identical proposal to a different zone of evolutionary biology may necessitate a truly diverse definition.

Spotlighting those conceptual problems and providing trade theoretical interpretations that alleviate this incompatibility, Massimo Pigliucci and Jonathan Kaplan intertwine medical and philosophical research to provide a coherent photograph of evolutionary biology. leading edge and debatable, Making feel of Evolution encourages additional improvement of the fashionable Synthesis and descriptions what will be worthwhile for the continuing refinement of this evolving field.


"The philosophical research during this ebook deals a transparent conceptual point of view for evolutionary geneticists attempting to get their mathematical gear transparent and make an estimation of its relevance to explaining organic phenomena. however it additionally should still inspire philosophers that evolutionary quantititative genetics is a fertile area for analysing the that means and use of concepts."
(Alan C. Love brain)

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Additional info for Making Sense of Evolution: The Conceptual Foundations of Evolutionary Biology

Example text

1). There are several well-known problems with the idea of heritability. First, the heritability of a trait is a result (among other things) of the particular genes and gene frequencies that are present in a given population. This means that heritabilities are not specific to a trait, but are more narrowly defined for a particular trait in a particular population at a particular time (Lewontin 1974). 3 So using the breeder’s equation to predict longterm responses to selection is simply out of the proper scope of the quantitative genetic approach—selection on a trait changes the trait’s heri- 3.

And, therefore, where is the error? 5 (continued) Similarly, in finite populations, organisms with particular variants of a trait will sometimes do better or worse than the mean expected outcome; this is neither a “sampling error” nor the result of some special process. Rather, the likelihood of any particular outcome can be derived from the frequency with which it appears in the distribution of outcomes. THE TROUBLE WITH FORCES If one accepts these analyses of fitness and selection, the difficulties with the force metaphor become clear.

We would, therefore, be unable to predict the average success of organisms with one variant of a trait rather than another, and similarly unable to predict the mean changes in trait (including allele) frequencies. The same would hold under most conditions even if we had access to the vernacular fitness of every organism in the population. 5 While the informal fitness of particular variants of traits vis-à-vis certain physical processes may be accessible, in order to move to predictive fitness, we would need to be able to find the average informal fitness of those variants of the traits, given all the physical processes they interact with, and we would need to know the average frequency with which organisms with those variants interacted with those physical processes throughout their life cycles.

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Making Sense of Evolution: The Conceptual Foundations of Evolutionary Biology by Jonathan Kaplan, Massimo Pigliucci

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