Adaptationism and Optimality (Cambridge Studies in Philosophy and Biology)

Adaptationism and Optimality (Cambridge Studies in Philosophy and Biology)

By: Steven Hecht Orzack (editor), Elliott Sober (editor), Michael Ruse (series_editor)Hardback

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The debate over the relative importance of natural selection as compared to other forces affecting the evolution of organisms is a long-standing and central controversy in evolutionary biology. The theory of adaptationism argues that natural selection contains sufficient explanatory power in itself to account for all evolution. However, there are differing views about the efficiency of the adaptation model of explanation. If the adaptationism theory is applied, are energy and resources being used to their optimum? This book presents an up-to-date view of this controversy and reflects the dramatic changes in our understanding of evolution that have occurred in the last twenty years. The volume combines contributions from biologists and philosophers, and offers a systematic treatment of foundational, conceptual, and methodological issues surrounding the theory of adaptationism. The essays examine recent developments in topics such as phylogenetic analysis, the theory of optimality and ess models, and methods of testing models.

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About Author

Elliott Sober is Hans Reichenbach Professor of Philosophy and William F. Vilas Research Professor at University of Wisconsin-Madison where he has taught since 1974. His research is in philosophy of science, especially in the philosophy of evolutionary biology. Sober's books include The Nature of Selection - Evolutionary Theory in Philosophical Focus (1984), Reconstructing the Past - Parsimony, Evolution, and Inference (1988), Philosophy of Biology (1993), From a Biological Point of View - Essays in Evolutionary Philosophy (1994), and Unto Others - The Evolution and Psychology of Unselfish Behavior (1998), coauthored with David Sloan Wilson.


Introduction; 1. A likelihood framework for the phylogenetic analysis of adaptation David A. Baum and Michael J. Donoghue; 2. Adaptation, phylogenetic inertia, and the method of controlled comparisons Steven Orzack and Elliott Sober; 3. Optimality and phylogeny: a critique of current thought Hudson Kern Reeve and Paul W. Sherman; 4. Fit of form and function, diversity of life, and procession of life as an evolutionary game Joel S. Brown; 5. Optimality and evolutionary stability under short-term and long-term selection Ilan Eshel and Marcus W. Feldman; 6. Selective regime and fig wasp sex ratios: towards sorting rigor from pseudo-rigor in tests of adaptation Edward Allen Herre, Carlos A. Machado, and Stuart A. West; 7. Is optimality over the hill? The fitness landscapes of idealized organisms George W. Gilchrist and Joel G. Kingsolver; 8. Adaptation, optimality, and the meaning of phenotypic variation in natural populations Kenneth J. Halama and David N. Reznick; 9. Adaptationism, optimality models, and tests of adaptive scenarios Peter Abrams; 10. Adaptation and development: on the lack of common ground Ron Amundson; 11. Three kinds of adaptationism Peter Godfrey-Smith; 12. Adaptation, adaptationism, and optimality Egbert Giles Leigh, Jr.

Product Details

  • publication date: 11/06/2001
  • ISBN13: 9780521591669
  • Format: Hardback
  • Number Of Pages: 420
  • ID: 9780521591669
  • weight: 680
  • ISBN10: 052159166X

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