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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: 24 June 2021

Toward a Nonidealist Evolutionary Synthesis

Toward a Nonidealist Evolutionary Synthesis

(p.188) 6 Toward a Nonidealist Evolutionary Synthesis
Challenging the Modern Synthesis

Stuart A. Newman

Oxford University Press

The received model of evolution sees all inherited features resulting from deterministic networks of interacting genes, implying that living systems are reducible to information in genetic programs. The model requires these programs and their associated phenotypes to have evolved by an isotropic search process occurring in gradual steps with no preferred morphological outcomes. The alternative is to recognize that clusters and aggregates of cells, the raw material of evolution, constitute middle-scale material systems. This implies the necessity of bringing the modern physics of mesoscale matter into the explanatory framework for the evolution of development. The relevant, often nonlinear, physical processes were mobilized at the inception of the phyla when their signature morphological outcomes first appeared and remain as efficient causes, albeit transformed, in present-day embryos. This physicogenetic perspective reengages with concepts of saltation, orthogenesis, and environment-induced plasticity long excluded from evolutionary theory.

Keywords:   dynamical patterning module, mesoscale physics, saltation, orthogenesis, plasticity, genetic program, physicogenetic, modern synthesis

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