Evolutionary Theory: A Hierarchical Perspective (Hardback)
  • Evolutionary Theory: A Hierarchical Perspective (Hardback)
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Evolutionary Theory: A Hierarchical Perspective (Hardback)

(editor), (editor), (editor), (editor)
£79.00
Hardback 320 Pages / Published: 28/10/2016
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The natural world is infinitely complex and hierarchically structured, with smaller units forming the components of progressively larger systems: molecules make up cells, cells comprise tissues and organs that are, in turn, parts of individual organisms, which are united into populations and integrated into yet more encompassing ecosystems. In the face of such awe-inspiring complexity, there is a need for a comprehensive, non-reductionist evolutionary theory. Having emerged at the crossroads of paleobiology, genetics, and developmental biology, the hierarchical approach to evolution provides a unifying perspective on the natural world and offers an operational framework for scientists seeking to understand the way complex biological systems work and evolve. Coedited by one of the founders of hierarchy theory and featuring a diverse and renowned group of contributors, this volume provides an integrated, comprehensive, cutting-edge introduction to the hierarchy theory of evolution. From sweeping historical reviews to philosophical pieces, theoretical essays, and strictly empirical chapters, it reveals hierarchy theory as a vibrant field of scientific enterprise that holds promise for unification across the life sciences and offers new venues of empirical and theoretical research. Stretching from molecules to the biosphere, hierarchy theory aims to provide an all-encompassing understanding of evolution and with this first collection devoted entirely to the concept will help make transparent the fundamental patterns that propel living systems.

Publisher: The University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 9780226426051
Number of pages: 320
Weight: 680 g
Dimensions: 229 x 152 x 25 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
"Evolutionary Theory provides a contemporary selection of historical, conceptual, and empirical essays on the hierarchy theory of evolution that Eldredge and his collaborators hope will bring about renewed enthusiasm for the theory in evolutionary biology circles. . . . Both the range of topics covered in this volume and the diversity of contributors are impressive. As such, it serves an important need at a time when highly specialized journals rarely provide the opportunity for biologists and philosophers to jointly engage with conceptual issues in biology."--Bengt Autzen, University of Bristol "Science "
"The editors of Evolutionary Theory are all respected scholars with important track records as advocates of an understanding of evolution that does not conform to the standard, received version--the so-called Evolutionary or Modern Synthesis. The central point of disagreement between the two camps turns on the role of natural selection: while neither denies its role, the editors of and contributors to this volume consider that it is not the only factor that plays a role in speciation--especially the origin of species. Clear and readable, chapters explore themes of information, integration, organization, mereology, context, time--and the constraints responsible for bringing hierarchies into being and keeping them in existence while allowing them to change. The crucial significance of these conceptual issues, and how they are made manifest in biology, development, and evolution, can no longer be ignored."--Alicia Juarrero, Prince George's Community College, emerita "author of "Dynamics in Action: Intentional Behavior as a Complex System" "

"This excellently "integrated" and edited volume of 14 chapters (plus introductory and concluding chapters) is the essential resource for any individual seeking to understand the central role that hierarchical thinking has played over the past several centuries in efforts to understand relationships between and change within and among organisms. With a strong emphasis on speciation and unifying theoretical and philosophical perspectives, these chapters combine the ecological (spatial, system, "niche construction," and dynamic relationships) and genealogical (temporal, lineage, "niche evolution," and emergent properties) aspects of evolution so often studied in isolation. Nested hierarchies of individuals, species, niches, populations, and communities interacting causally with genetic and epigenetic developmental and ecological processes are used to understand dichotomies such as macro and microevolution, tempo and mode, and pattern and process in evolution. Many chapters, including the introduction, highlight these themes in a historical context, an approach that integrates the chapters to reveal just how deeply rooted hierarchical perspectives are in the quest to understand organismal relationships and evolution. Dual categories, such as evolution and development, pattern and process, and nature and nurture begin to fall away in the light of the approach expounded in this illuminating volume. Essential."

--Choice

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