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Evolutionary Theory

Evolutionary Theory Author Niles Eldredge
ISBN-10 9780226426198
Release 2016-09-23
Pages 320
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The natural world is infinitely complex and hierarchically structured, with smaller units forming the components of progressively larger systems: molecules make up cells, cells comprise tissues and organs that are, in turn, parts of individual organisms, which are united into populations and integrated into yet more encompassing ecosystems. In the face of such awe-inspiring complexity, there is a need for a comprehensive, non-reductionist evolutionary theory. Having emerged at the crossroads of paleobiology, genetics, and developmental biology, the hierarchical approach to evolution provides a unifying perspective on the natural world and offers an operational framework for scientists seeking to understand the way complex biological systems work and evolve. Coedited by one of the founders of hierarchy theory and featuring a diverse and renowned group of contributors, this volume provides an integrated, comprehensive, cutting-edge introduction to the hierarchy theory of evolution. From sweeping historical reviews to philosophical pieces, theoretical essays, and strictly empirical chapters, it reveals hierarchy theory as a vibrant field of scientific enterprise that holds promise for unification across the life sciences and offers new venues of empirical and theoretical research. Stretching from molecules to the biosphere, hierarchy theory aims to provide an all-encompassing understanding of evolution and—with this first collection devoted entirely to the concept—will help make transparent the fundamental patterns that propel living systems.



Hierarchy in the Forest

Hierarchy in the Forest Author Christopher BOEHM
ISBN-10 0674028449
Release 2009-06-30
Pages 304
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Are humans by nature hierarchical or egalitarian? Hierarchy in the Forest addresses this question by examining the evolutionary origins of social and political behavior. Christopher Boehm, an anthropologist whose fieldwork has focused on the political arrangements of human and nonhuman primate groups, postulates that egalitarianism is in effect a hierarchy in which the weak combine forces to dominate the strong. The political flexibility of our species is formidable: we can be quite egalitarian, we can be quite despotic. Hierarchy in the Forest traces the roots of these contradictory traits in chimpanzee, bonobo, gorilla, and early human societies. Boehm looks at the loose group structures of hunter-gatherers, then at tribal segmentation, and finally at present-day governments to see how these conflicting tendencies are reflected. Hierarchy in the Forest claims new territory for biological anthropology and evolutionary biology by extending the domain of these sciences into a crucial aspect of human political and social behavior. This book will be a key document in the study of the evolutionary basis of genuine altruism. Table of Contents: The Question of Egalitarian Society Hierarchy and Equality Putting Down Aggressors Equality and Its Causes A Wider View of Egalitarianism The Hominoid Political Spectrum Ancestral Politics The Evolution of Egalitarian Society Paleolithic Politics and Natural Selection Ambivalence and Compromise in Human Nature References Index Reviews of this book: This well-written book, geared toward an audience with background in the behavioral and evolutionary sciences but accessible to a broad readership, raises two general questions: 'What is an egalitarian society?' and 'How have these societies evolved?'...[Christopher Boehm] takes the reader on a journey from the Arctic to the Americas, from Australia to Africa, in search of hunter-gatherer and tribal societies that emanate the egalitarian ethos--one that promotes generosity, altruism and sharing but forbids upstartism, aggression and egoism. Throughout this journey, Boehm tantalizes the reader with vivid anthropological accounts of ridicule, criticism, ostracism and even execution--prevalent tactics used by subordinates in egalitarian societies to level the social playing field...Hierarchy in the Forest is an interesting and thought-provoking book that is surely an important contribution to perspectives on human sociality and politics. --Ryan Earley, American Scientist Reviews of this book: Combing an exhaustive ethnographic survey of human societies from groups of hunter-gatherers to contemporary residents of the Balkans with a detailed analysis of the behavioral attributes of non-human primates (chimpanzees, gorillas, bonobos), Boehm focuses on whether humans are hierarchical or egalitarian by nature...[Boehm's hypotheses] are invariably intriguing and well documented...He raises topics of wide interest and his book should get attention. --Publishers Weekly Boehm has been the first to look at egalitarianism with a cold, unromantic eye. He sees it as a victory over hierarchical tendencies, which are equally marked in our species. I would predict that his insightful examination will reverberate within anthropology and the social sciences as well as among biologists interested in the evolution of social systems. --Frans de Waal, Emory University Hierarchy in the Forest is an original and stimulating contribution to thinking about the origins of egalitarianism. I personally find Boehm's ideas convincing, but whether one agrees with him or not, he has formulated his hypotheses in such a way that this book is likely to set the terms of the discussion for the forseeable future. --Barbara Smuts, University of Michigan The most unique and interesting feature of this clear, well written book is the way Boehm links the study of nonhuman primates (particularly chimpanzees) to traditional concepts of political anthropology. As a political scientist, I was intrigued by Boehm's suggestion that democracy, both ancient and modern, could be understood as the expression of the same natural dispositions that support the egalitarianism of nomadic bands and sedentary tribes. I expect that many scholars in biology, anthropology, and the social sciences would learn from this stimulating book. Even those who disagree with Boehm's arguments are likely to be provoked in instructive ways. --Larry Arnhart, Northern Illinois University Chris Boehm boldly and cogently attacks a whole orthodoxy in anthropology which sees hunter-gatherer 'egalitarianism' as somehow the basic form of human society. No praise can be too high for Boehm's brilliant and courageous book. --Robin Fox, Rutgers University



Beyond Mechanism

Beyond Mechanism Author Brian G. Henning
ISBN-10 9780739174371
Release 2013-02-01
Pages 484
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Pairing scientists and philosophers together, this book is an exploration of some of the new frontiers in biology (e.g., Emergence, Complex Systems, Biosemiotics, Symbiogenesis, Organic Selection, Epigenetics, Niche Construction, Teleodynamics, etc.). The chapters in this volume challenge the mechanistic metaphysic that is implicit in the reigning neo-Darwinist paradigm, point to more inclusive modes of thinking in relation to the nature of life, and contribute to the novel synthesis that is presently “in the air.”



The Evolution of Mind

The Evolution of Mind Author Denise D. Cummins
ISBN-10 0195110536
Release 1998
Pages 264
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Our understanding of the human mind has radically changed in recent years--from the unified mind once envisioned by Ren� Descartes over three hundred years ago to a new understanding of mind as a set of specialized cognitive components gradually accumulated in our evolutionary past. As a result, many scientists and philosophers now believe that our minds emerged out of the same type of evolutionary processes that have shaped our bodies. In The Evolution of Mind, outstanding figures on the cutting edge of evolutionary psychology follow clues provided by current neuroscientific evidence to illuminate many puzzling questions of human cognitive evolution. With contributions from psychologists, ethologists, anthropologists, and philosophers, the book offers a broad range of approaches to explore the mysteries of the minds evolution--from investigating the biological functions of human cognition to drawing comparisons between human and animal cognitive abilities. This interdisciplinary work presents a comparative and evolutionary perspective on a wide variety of topics, including mental algorithms for reasoning about contingencies, quantities, social norms, and the minds of others; social play and communicative abilities; thought and language, and the role of Darwin's theory of natural selection in evolutionary psychology. Written in a highly readable style, The Evolution of Mind will appeal to a broad range of researchers and students and help set the agenda for the field for years to come.



The Selfish Gene

The Selfish Gene Author Richard Dawkins
ISBN-10 0192860925
Release 1989
Pages 352
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An ethologist shows man to be a gene machine whose world is one of savage competition and deceit



Social Dominance

Social Dominance Author Jim Sidanius
ISBN-10 0521805406
Release 2001-02-12
Pages 403
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This book employs social dominance theory to understand social hierarchy and oppression.



Punctuated Equilibrium

Punctuated Equilibrium Author Stephen Jay GOULD
ISBN-10 9780674037847
Release 2009-06-30
Pages 408
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In 1972 Stephen Jay Gould took the scientific world by storm with his paper on punctuated equilibrium. Challenging a core assumption of Darwin's theory of evolution, it launched the controversial idea that the majority of species originates in geological moments (punctuations) and persists in stasis. Now, thirty-five years later, Punctuated Equilibrium offers his only book-length testament on a theory he fiercely promoted, repeatedly refined, and tirelessly defended.



The Darwinian Tradition in Context

The Darwinian Tradition in Context Author Richard G. Delisle
ISBN-10 9783319691237
Release 2017-12-29
Pages 352
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The main goal of this book is to put the Darwinian tradition in context by raising questions such as: How should it be defined? Did it interact with other research programs? Were there any research programs that developed largely independently of the Darwinian tradition? Accordingly, the contributing authors explicitly explore the nature of the relationship between the Darwinian tradition and other research programs running in parallel. In the wake of the Synthetic Theory of Evolution, which was established throughout the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s, historians and philosophers of biology devoted considerable attention to the Darwinian tradition, i.e., linking Charles Darwin to mid-Twentieth-Century developments in evolutionary biology. Since then, more recent developments in evolutionary biology have challenged, in part or entirely, the heritage of the Darwinian tradition. Not surprisingly, this has in turn been followed by a historiographical “recalibration” on the part of historians and philosophers regarding other research programs and traditions in evolutionary biology. In order to acknowledge this shift, the papers in this book have been arranged on the basis of two main threads: Part I: A perspective that views Darwinism as either being originally pluralistic or having acquired such a pluralistic nature through modifications and borrowings over time. Part II: A perspective blurring the boundaries between non-Darwinian and Darwinian traditions, either by contending that Darwinism itself was never quite as Darwinian as previously assumed, or that non-Darwinian traditions took on board various Darwinian components, when not fertilizing Darwinism directly. Between a Darwinism reaching out to other research programs and non-Darwinian programs reaching out to Darwinism, the least that can be said is that this interweaving of intellectual threads blurs the historiographical field. This volume aims to open vital new avenues for approaching and reflecting on the development of evolutionary biology.



Darwinian Politics

Darwinian Politics Author Paul H. Rubin
ISBN-10 0813530962
Release 2002
Pages 223
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"In this lively and insightful book, Paul Rubin shows just how much light can be shed on the institutions of modern life by reference to our long species' history as hunter-gatherers. This is highly recommended reading."-Herbert Gintis, author of Game Theory Evolving "Full of insights and interesting connections among biology, public policy, and economics. It keeps the reader's interest and is well paced. Simply great-I enjoyed every minute of it."-Michael T. McGuire, coauthor of Darwinian Psychiatry "A lucid, responsible, thought-provoking, constructive inquiry into the biological foundations of economic behavior."-Richard Posner, judge, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit "This is a great book, and more than worthy of serious attention. . . . An interesting and imaginative book. . . . Wonderfully engaging."-Jason Potts, University of Queensland Darwinian Politics is the first book to examine political behavior from a modern evolutionary perspective. Paul H. Rubin demonstrates why certain political-moral philosophies succeed or fail in modern Western culture. He begins by showing relationships between biology and natural selection and the history of political philosophy and explains why desirable policies must treat each person as an individual. He considers the notion of group identity and conflict, observing a human propensity to form in-groups, a behavior that does not necessitate but often leads to deviancies such as racism. In discussing altruism, Rubin shows that people are willing to aid the poor if they are convinced that the recipients are not shirkers or freeloaders. This explains why recent welfare reforms are widely viewed as successful. Rubin illustrates evolutionary premises for religious belief and for desires to regulate the behavior of others, and how in today's world such regulation may not serve any useful purpose. Ultimately, the author argues that humans naturally seek political freedom, and modern Western society provides more freedom than any previous one. Paul H. Rubin is a professor of economics and law at Emory University. He is the author of Managing Business Transactions: Controlling the Costs of Coordinating, Communicating, and Decision Making and Privacy and the Commercial Use of Personal Information.



An Evolutionary Theory of Economic Change

An Evolutionary Theory of Economic Change Author Richard R. Nelson
ISBN-10 0674041437
Release 2009-06-01
Pages 454
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This book contains the most sustained and serious attack on mainstream, neoclassical economics in more than forty years. Nelson and Winter focus their critique on the basic question of how firms and industries change overtime. They marshal significant objections to the fundamental neoclassical assumptions of profit maximization and market equilibrium, which they find ineffective in the analysis of technological innovation and the dynamics of competition among firms. To replace these assumptions, they borrow from biology the concept of natural selection to construct a precise and detailed evolutionary theory of business behavior. They grant that films are motivated by profit and engage in search for ways of improving profits, but they do not consider them to be profit maximizing. Likewise, they emphasize the tendency for the more profitable firms to drive the less profitable ones out of business, but they do not focus their analysis on hypothetical states of industry equilibrium. The results of their new paradigm and analytical framework are impressive. Not only have they been able to develop more coherent and powerful models of competitive firm dynamics under conditions of growth and technological change, but their approach is compatible with findings in psychology and other social sciences. Finally, their work has important implications for welfare economics and for government policy toward industry.



Cosmic Evolution

Cosmic Evolution Author Eric J. Chaisson
ISBN-10 0674009878
Release 2002-10-01
Pages 274
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We are connected to distant space and time not only by our imaginations but also through a common cosmic heritage. Emerging now from modern science is a unified scenario of the cosmos, including ourselves as sentient beings, based on the time-honored concept of change. From galaxies to snowflakes, from stars and planets to life itself, we are beginning to identify an underlying ubiquitous pattern penetrating the fabric of all the natural sciences--a sweepingly encompassing view of the order and structure of every known class of object in our richly endowed universe. This is the subject of Eric Chaisson's new book. In Cosmic Evolution Chaisson addresses some of the most basic issues we can contemplate: the origin of matter and the origin of life, and the ways matter, life, and radiation interact and change with time. Guided by notions of beauty and symmetry, by the search for simplicity and elegance, by the ambition to explain the widest range of phenomena with the fewest possible principles, Chaisson designs for us an expansive yet intricate model depicting the origin and evolution of all material structures. He shows us that neither new science nor appeals to nonscience are needed to understand the impressive hierarchy of the cosmic evolutionary story, from quark to quasar, from microbe to mind.



Evolutionary Worlds Without End

Evolutionary Worlds Without End Author Henry C. Plotkin
ISBN-10 9780199544950
Release 2010
Pages 214
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In Evolutionary Worlds without end, Henry Plotkin considers whether there is any general theory in biology, including the social sciences, that is in any way equivalent to the general theories of physics. He starts by examining Ernest Rutherford's dictum as to what science is. In the later chapters he considers the possibility, within an historical framework, of a general theory being based upon selection processes. --



Hierarchy

Hierarchy Author T. F. H. Allen
ISBN-10 9780226489681
Release 2017-11-10
Pages 423
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Ecosystems are incredibly complex, non-linear structures and self-organized entities; they cannot be described by simple models or by statistical approaches. Within each ecosystem are scores of individuals interacting continuously with others and with their biotic and abiotic surroundings, over vast geographic spaces, and over varying time scales as well. To approach the enormity of this complexity, ecologists have developed tools to simplify and aggregate information, and among them is Hierarchy Theory. Instead of analyzing the whole structure to understand the functions of the system, Hierarchy Theory analyzes hierarchical levels only and the interactions between them. It draws upon two different paradigms of complexity, reductionism and holism, adapting the most useful features of each into a viable means of studying ecosystems. It reduces the amount of data the researcher has to deal with, and it explicitly considers the relevant entities and interconnections of a larger complex system according to a specific research question. Originally published in 1982, Hierarchy was the first book to apply the tool to ecological systems. In the three decades since its publication, the work has influenced myriad large scale research initiatives in ecology, and this new, thoroughly revised edition reflects the assimilation of the theory in ecological research, and its successful application to the understanding of complex systems.



Macroevolution

Macroevolution Author Emanuele Serrelli
ISBN-10 9783319150451
Release 2015-02-13
Pages 403
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This book is divided in two parts, the first of which shows how, beyond paleontology and systematics, macroevolutionary theories apply key insights from ecology and biogeography, developmental biology, biophysics, molecular phylogenetics and even the sociocultural sciences to explain evolution in deep time. In the second part, the phenomenon of macroevolution is examined with the help of real life-history case studies on the evolution of eukaryotic sex, the formation of anatomical form and body-plans, extinction and speciation events of marine invertebrates, hominin evolution and species conservation ethics. The book brings together leading experts, who explain pivotal concepts such as Punctuated Equilibria, Stasis, Developmental Constraints, Adaptive Radiations, Habitat Tracking, Turnovers, (Mass) Extinctions, Species Sorting, Major Transitions, Trends and Hierarchies – key premises that allow macroevolutionary epistemic frameworks to transcend microevolutionary theories that focus on genetic variation, selection, migration and fitness. Along the way, the contributing authors review ongoing debates and current scientific challenges; detail new and fascinating scientific tools and techniques that allow us to cross the classic borders between disciplines; demonstrate how their theories make it possible to extend the Modern Synthesis; present guidelines on how the macroevolutionary field could be further developed; and provide a rich view of just how it was that life evolved across time and space. In short, this book is a must-read for active scholars and because the technical aspects are fully explained, it is also accessible for non-specialists. Understanding evolution requires a solid grasp of above-population phenomena. Species are real biological individuals and abiotic factors impact the future course of evolution. Beyond observation, when the explanation of macroevolution is the goal, we need both evidence and theory that enable us to explain and interpret how life evolves at the grand scale.



Hierarchical Perspectives on Marine Complexities

Hierarchical Perspectives on Marine Complexities Author Spencer Apollonio
ISBN-10 9780231516303
Release 2010-06-01
Pages 320
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This book is the first application of hierarchy theory to the ecological workings of the Gulf of Maine and of marine ecosystems in general. Apollonio explores in detail the idea of natural constraints inherent in hierarchical ecosystems and the impact upon such systems when constraints are reduced or removed. He argues that conventional fisheries management, which practices the removal of these constraints, may be doomed to failure.



The Structure of Evolutionary Theory

The Structure of Evolutionary Theory Author Stephen Jay Gould
ISBN-10 9780674417922
Release 2002-03-21
Pages 1464
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The world’s most revered and eloquent interpreter of evolutionary ideas offers here a work of explanatory force unprecedented in our time—a landmark publication, both for its historical sweep and for its scientific vision. With characteristic attention to detail, Stephen Jay Gould first describes the content and discusses the history and origins of the three core commitments of classical Darwinism: that natural selection works on organisms, not genes or species; that it is almost exclusively the mechanism of adaptive evolutionary change; and that these changes are incremental, not drastic. Next, he examines the three critiques that currently challenge this classic Darwinian edifice: that selection operates on multiple levels, from the gene to the group; that evolution proceeds by a variety of mechanisms, not just natural selection; and that causes operating at broader scales, including catastrophes, have figured prominently in the course of evolution. Then, in a stunning tour de force that will likely stimulate discussion and debate for decades, Gould proposes his own system for integrating these classical commitments and contemporary critiques into a new structure of evolutionary thought. In 2001 the Library of Congress named Stephen Jay Gould one of America’s eighty-three Living Legends—people who embody the “quintessentially American ideal of individual creativity, conviction, dedication, and exuberance.” Each of these qualities finds full expression in this peerless work, the likes of which the scientific world has not seen—and may not see again—for well over a century.



Evolution

Evolution Author Carl T. Bergstrom
ISBN-10 9780393601039
Release 2016-02-25
Pages 896
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Evolution presents foundational concepts through a contemporary framework of population genetics and phylogenetics that is enriched by current research and stunning art. In every chapter, new critical thinking questions and expanded end-of-chapter problems emphasizing data interpretation reinforce the Second Edition’s focus on helping students think like evolutionary biologists.