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Darwinian Populations and Natural Selection…
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Darwinian Populations and Natural Selection

by Peter Godfrey-Smith

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The strength of Darwinian Populations and Natural Selection is that it rightly warns us not to take for granted basic concepts in evolutionary theory, such as individual and descendant. The Earth is full of species, from aphids to aspens, which leave us wondering how best to carve the world at its joints. Godfrey-Smith gives us a framework in which to make sense of these cases; he encourages us to keep an open mind to Darwinian processes, cajoling us to “raise our glasses to mutations in ramets. But we should raise them higher to mutations in seeds” (p. 107). And we say, “hear, hear!”
 
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0199552045, Hardcover)

In 1859 Darwin described a deceptively simple mechanism that he called "natural selection," a combination of variation, inheritance, and reproductive success. He argued that this mechanism was the key to explaining the most puzzling features of the natural world, and science and philosophy were changed forever as a result. The exact nature of the Darwinian process has been controversial ever since, however. Godfrey-Smith draws on new developments in biology, philosophy of science, and other fields to give a new analysis and extension of Darwin's idea. The central concept used is that of a "Darwinian population," a collection of things with the capacity to undergo change by natural selection. From this starting point, new analyses of the role of genes in evolution, the application of Darwinian ideas to cultural change, and "evolutionary transitions" that produce complex organisms and societies are developed. Darwinian Populations and Natural Selection will be essential reading for anyone interested in evolutionary theory.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:38:05 -0400)

"The book presents a new way of understanding Darwinism and evolution by natural selection, combining work in biology, philosophy, and other fields. It gives new criticisms of gene-centered views of evolution, and presents a new framework for understanding the evolution of complex organisms and societies. - ;In 1859 Darwin described a deceptively simple mechanism that he called 'natural selection,' a combination of variation, inheritance, and reproductive success. He argued that this mechanism was the key to explaining the most puzzling features of the natural world, and science and philosophy were changed forever as a result. The exact nature of the Darwinian process has been controversial ever since, however. Godfrey-Smith draws on new developments in biology, philosophy of science, and other fields to give a new analysis and extension of Darwin's idea. The central concept used is that of a 'Darwinian population,' a collection of things with the capacity to undergo change by natural selection. From this starting point, new analyses of the role of genes in evolution, the application of Darwinian ideas to cultural change, and 'evolutionary transitions' that produce complex organisms and societies are developed. Darwinian Populations and Natural Selection will be essential reading for anyone interested in evolutionary theory"--Provided by publisher.… (more)

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