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Evolutionary TheoryA Hierarchical Perspective$
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Niles Eldredge, Telmo Pievani, Emanuele Serrelli, and Ilya Tëmkin

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780226426051

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226426198.001.0001

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Hierarchy Theory and the Extended Synthesis Debate

Hierarchy Theory and the Extended Synthesis Debate

(p.351) Conclusion Hierarchy Theory and the Extended Synthesis Debate
Evolutionary Theory

Telmo Pievani

University of Chicago Press

In the closing remarks we propose a theoretical watermark that connects all the chapters of this volume. After a short summary about Eldredge’s twin hierarchies as a possible unifying frame for evolutionary biology, with different levels of organization above and below the organismic level, we stress the point the each level should be considered autonomous, and at the same time interdependent with the others. Hierarchy theory is a non-reductionist Darwinian research programme, with a heuristic and a theoretical relevance. In the first sense, Hierarchy Theory is a useful framework in order to understand the rapid advancements in specific evolutionary disciplines, such as paleo-anthropology. In the second sense, Hierarchy Theory aims at enlarging the standard neo-Darwinian theory of evolution through a more ecological and multilevel framework if compared to the so-called Extended Evolutionary Synthesis. The theory of evolution is still evolving, and this is what a healthy research programme should do.

Keywords:   hierarchy theory, heuristics, hominin phylogeny, evolutionary ecology, Extended Evolutionary Synthesis, niche construction, gene culture coevolution

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