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Challenging the Modern SynthesisAdaptation, Development, and Inheritance$
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Philippe Huneman and Denis Walsh

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780199377176

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199377176.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 28 November 2021

Evo-Devo and the Structure(s) of Evolutionary Theory

Evo-Devo and the Structure(s) of Evolutionary Theory

A Different Kind of Challenge

(p.159) 5 Evo-Devo and the Structure(s) of Evolutionary Theory
Challenging the Modern Synthesis

Alan C. Love

Oxford University Press

Many researchers have argued that evolutionary developmental biology (evo-devo) constitutes a challenge to standard evolutionary theory, requiring the explicit inclusion of developmental processes that generate variation and attention to organismal form (rather than adaptive function). An analysis of these developmental-form challenges indicates that the primary concern is not the inclusion of specific content but the epistemic organization or structure of evolutionary theory. Proponents of developmental-form challenges favor moving their considerations to a more central location in evolutionary theorizing, in part because of a commitment to the value of mechanistic explanation. This chapter argues there are multiple legitimate structures for evolutionary theory, instead of a single, overarching or canonical organization, and different theory presentations can be understood as idealizations that serve different investigative and explanatory goals in evolutionary inquiry.

Keywords:   development, form, function, idealization, material inference, mechanistic explanation, pluralism, theory, structure

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