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The Theory of EvolutionPrinciples, Concepts, and Assumptions$
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Samuel M. Scheiner and David P. Mindell

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780226671024

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226671338.001.0001

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The Theory of Evolution

The Theory of Evolution

(p.1) One The Theory of Evolution
(p.iii) The Theory of Evolution

David P. Mindell

Samuel M. Scheiner

University of Chicago Press

The increasing breadth of evolutionary science, operating across genes and genomes, whole organisms, clades and ecosystems, makes ongoing integration for principles, concepts and methods, both challenging and necessary. This chapter discusses the general theory of evolution - its role, its principles and scientific rationale - as well as how it relates to its constitutive theories and other general theories within biology. It reviews aspects of recent growth for evolution, including expanding on the Modern Synthesis, reticulate evolution, abundant host-symbiont systems and increasingly sophisticated phylogenetic methods. The overall diversity of explanatory aims among evolutionary biologists, in seeking to understand evolution across taxa, at multiple levels of biological organization, and due to many different causes, requires a pluralistic approach to understanding evolutionary theory. This is consistent with the philosophical approach known as pragmatism, allowing flexibility for syntheses across disciplines and countering any tendency towards an overly proscribed general theory. The role of metaphor is also discussed.

Keywords:   constitutive theory, general theory, metaphor, pragmatism, theory integration

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