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Specific to papers included in Developmental Systems Theory (DST) is the belief that the study of development requires a systems-level model. Such a model would abstract away from the specific biological details of any particular developmental process in order to isolate the general properties of developing systems.  Contrasting with Developmental Modularity, DST maintains that identifying the function of individual developmental modules at the cellular and molecular levels is intractably complicated and is incapable of representing the structure found at the abstract systems-level, systems properties are emergent. However, reflecting an internal dispute, the systems studied are either individual developing organisms (expressing particular phenotypes) or systems of ecologically-coupled populations of developing organisms (as they co-evolve with each other).

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  1. Gennaro Auletta (2011). Cognitive Biology: Dealing with Information From Bacteria to Minds. Oxford University Press, Usa.
    Machine generated contents note: -- 1. Quantum Mechanics as a General Framework -- 2. Classical and Quantum Information and Entropy -- 3. The Brain: An Outlook -- 4. Vision -- 5. Dealing with Target's Motion and Our Own Movement -- 6. Complexity: A Necessary Condition -- 7. General Features of Life -- 8. The Organism as a Semiotic and Cybernetic System -- 9. Phylogeny -- 10. Ontogeny -- 11. Epigeny -- 12. Representational Semiotics -- 13. The Brain as an Information-Control (...)
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  2. Christopher J. Austin (2014). The Dispositional Genome: Primus Inter Pares. Biology and Philosophy:1-20.
    According to the proponents of Developmental Systems Theory and the Causal Parity Thesis, the privileging of the genome as “first among equals” with respect to the development of phenotypic traits is more a reflection of our own heuristic prejudice than of ontology - the underlying causal structures responsible for that specified development no more single out the genome as primary than they do other broadly “environmental” factors. Parting with the methodology of the popular responses to the Thesis, this paper offers (...)
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  3. F. Bailly, F. Gaill & R. Mosseri (1991). A Dynamical System for Biological Development: The Case of Caenorhabditis Elegans. Acta Biotheoretica 39 (3-4).
    We show how a simple nonlinear dynamical system (the discrete quadratic iteration on the unit segment) can be the basis for modelling the embryogenesis process. Such an approach, even though being crude, can nevertheless prove to be useful when looking with the two main involved processes:i) on one hand the cell proliferation under successive divisions ii) on the other hand, the differentiation between cell lineages. We illustrate this new approach in the case of Caenorhabditis elegans by looking at the early (...)
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  4. Majid Bani-Yaghoub & David E. Amundsen (2008). Study and Simulation of Reaction–Diffusion Systems Affected by Interacting Signaling Pathways. Acta Biotheoretica 56 (4).
    Possible effects of interaction (cross-talk) between signaling pathways is studied in a system of Reaction–Diffusion (RD) equations. Furthermore, the relevance of spontaneous neurite symmetry breaking and Turing instability has been examined through numerical simulations. The interaction between Retinoic Acid (RA) and Notch signaling pathways is considered as a perturbation to RD system of axon-forming potential for N2a neuroblastoma cells. The present work suggests that large increases to the level of RA–Notch interaction can possibly have substantial impacts on neurite outgrowth and (...)
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  5. Denis Barabé & Joachim Vieth (1979). Le Concept de Fusion En Morphologie Vegetale Chez Payer Et Chez Van Tieghem. Acta Biotheoretica 28 (3).
    The meaning of the concept of fusion is discussed in relation with the works of Payer and those of Van Tieghem. It is pointed out that there is a difference, at the theoretical level, between the concept of fusion congénitale as defined by Payer and the concept of concrescence congénitale formulated by Van Tieghem. The former is inobservable by definition, while the latter deals with intercalary growth. For Van Tieghem, anatomy can prove the existence of fusion, even if we do (...)
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  6. Anouk Barberousse (2010). The Role of Self-Organization in Developmental Systems Theory and the Neo-Darwinian, Theory of Evolution. Biological Theory 5 (3):202-205.
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  7. Anouk Barberousse, Francesca Merlin & Thomas Pradeu (2010). Introduction: Reassessing Developmental Systems Theory. Biological Theory 5 (3):199-201.
    The Developmental Systems Theory (DST) presented by its proponents as a challenging approach in biology is aimed at transforming the workings of the life sciences from both a theoretical and experimental point of view (see, in particular, Oyama [1985] 2000; Oyama et al. 2001). Even though some may have the impression that the enthusiasm surrounding DST has faded in very recent years, some of the key concepts, ideas, and visions of DST have in fact pervaded biology and philosophy of biology. (...)
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  8. Jonathan Bard (2010). A Systems Biology View of Evolutionary Genetics. Bioessays 32 (7):559-563.
  9. Jonathan Bard (1989). What's Next in Developmental Systems?Organogenesis of the Kidney. By L. Sax�N (1987). Cambridge University Press. Pp. 173. �25. [REVIEW] Bioessays 11 (2-3):76-77.
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  10. Gillian Barker (1993). Models of Biological Change: Implications of Three Cases of "Lamrckian" Change. In Perspectives in Ethology 10: Behavior and Evolution. 229-248.
  11. Pierre-Alain Braillard (forthcoming). Systems Biology and the Mechanistic Framework. History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences.
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  12. Ann Burlein (2005). The Productive Power of Ambiguity: Rethinking Homosexuality Through the Virtual and Developmental Systems Theory. Hypatia 20 (1):21-53.
  13. Brett Calcott (2014). Engineering and Evolvability. Biology and Philosophy 29 (3):293-313.
    Comparing engineering to evolution typically involves adaptationist thinking, where well-designed artifacts are likened to well-adapted organisms, and the process of evolution is likened to the process of design. A quite different comparison is made when biologists focus on evolvability instead of adaptationism. Here, the idea is that complex integrated systems, whether evolved or engineered, share universal principles that affect the way they change over time. This shift from adaptationism to evolvability is a significant move for, as I argue, we can (...)
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  14. Brett Calcott (2013). Why How and Why Aren't Enough: More Problems with Mayr's Proximate-Ultimate Distinction. Biology and Philosophy 28 (5):767-780.
    Like Laland et al., I think Mayr’s distinction is problematic, but I identify a further problem with it. I argue that Mayr’s distinction is a false dichotomy, and obscures an important question about evolutionary change. I show how this question, once revealed, sheds light on some debates in evo-devo that Laland et al.’s analysis cannot, and suggest that it provides a different view about how future integration between biological disciplines might proceed.
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  15. Athel Cornish-Bowden (2006). Putting the Systems Back Into Systems Biology. Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 49 (4):475-489.
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  16. John Dupré (2012). Processes of Life: Essays in the Philosophy of Biology. OUP Oxford.
    John Dupré explores recent revolutionary developments in biology and considers their relevance for our understanding of human nature and human society. Epigenetics and related areas of molecular biology have eroded the exceptional status of the gene and presented the genome as fully interactive with the rest of the cell. Developmental systems theory provides a space for a vision of evolution that takes full account of the fundamental importance of developmental processes. Dupré shows the importance of microbiology for a proper understanding (...)
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  17. John Dupré (2010). Developmental Systems Theory. The Philosophers' Magazine (50):38-39.
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  18. L. R. Franklin-Hall (forthcoming). Explaining Causal Selection with Explanatory Causal Economy: Biology and Beyond. In P.-A. Braillard & C. Malaterre (eds.), Explanation in Biology: An Enquiry into the Diversity of Explanatory Patterns in the Life Sciences. Springer.
    Among the factors necessary for the occurrence of some event, which of these are selectively highlighted in its explanation and labeled as causes — and which are explanatorily omitted, or relegated to the status of background conditions? Following J. S. Mill, most have thought that only a pragmatic answer to this question was possible. In this paper I suggest we understand this ‘causal selection problem’ in causal-explanatory terms, and propose that explanatory trade-offs between abstraction and stability can provide a principled (...)
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  19. Philippe Gagnon (2009). Les Limites du Vivant Sont-Elles Riches D’Une Leçon? Contribution À L’Étude du Déterminisme Morphique. Eikasia. Revista de Filosofía 27 (August):155-186.
    Freedom is first apprehended as the pursuit of an activity which implies the choice to defend a thesis among other possible ones. This translation of the problem of freedom in an articulate language presupposes a complex nervous system and sensory apparatuses which we take for granted. In this study, I try to explore the undergrounds of the problem of freedom along with the suggestion that the notion of coding could enable one to bridge nature and the mind. When organisms invent, (...)
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  20. Wayne Getz (2003). “Evo-Devo” and the Conundrum of Sympatric Speciation. BioScience 53 (4):313.
  21. Peter Godfrey-Smith (2000). Explanatory Symmetries, Preformation, and Developmental Systems Theory. Philosophy of Science 67 (3):331.
    Some central ideas associated with developmental systems theory (DST) are outlined for non-specialists. These ideas concern the nature of biological development, the alleged distinction between "genetic" and "environmental" traits, the relations between organism and environment, and evolutionary processes. I also discuss some criticisms of the DST approach.
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  22. Paul E. Griffiths & Russell D. Gray (2005). Discussion: Three Ways to Misunderstand Developmental Systems Theory. [REVIEW] Biology and Philosophy 20 (2-3):417-425.
    Developmental systems theory (DST) is a general theoretical perspective on development, heredity and evolution. It is intended to facilitate the study of interactions between the many factors that influence development without reviving `dichotomous' debates over nature or nurture, gene or environment, biology or culture. Several recent papers have addressed the relationship between DST and the thriving new discipline of evolutionary developmental biology (EDB). The contributions to this literature by evolutionary developmental biologists contain three important misunderstandings of DST.
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  23. Paul E. Griffiths & Russell D. Gray (1997). Replicator II – Judgement Day. Biology and Philosophy 12 (4):471-492.
    The Developmental Systems approach to evolution is defended against the alternative extended replicator approach of Sterelny, Smith and Dickison (1996). A precise definition is provided of the spatial and temporal boundaries of the life-cycle that DST claims is the unit of evolution. Pacé Sterelny et al., the extended replicator theory is not a bulwark against excessive holism. Everything which DST claims is replicated in evolution can be shown to be an extended replicator on Sterelny et al.s definition. Reasons are given (...)
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  24. Andrew L. Hamilton (2009). Toward a Mechanistic Evo Devo. In Manfred Laubichler & Jane Maienschein (eds.), Form and Function in Developmental Evolution. Cambridge University Press. 213.
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  25. Adam Hochman (2013). The Phylogeny Fallacy and the Ontogeny Fallacy. Biology and Philosophy 28 (4):593-612.
    In 1990 Robert Lickliter and Thomas Berry identified the phylogeny fallacy, an empirically untenable dichotomy between proximate and evolutionary causation, which locates proximate causes in the decoding of ‘genetic programs’, and evolutionary causes in the historical events that shaped these programs. More recently, Lickliter and Hunter Honeycutt (Psychol Bull 129:819–835, 2003a) argued that Evolutionary Psychologists commit this fallacy, and they proposed an alternative research program for evolutionary psychology. For these authors the phylogeny fallacy is the proximate/evolutionary distinction itself, which they (...)
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  26. Eva Jablonka & Marion Lamb (2002). Creating Bridges or Rifts? Developmental Systems Theory and Evolutionary Developmental Biology. Bioessays 24 (3):290-291.
  27. Jonathan Kaplan (2008). Evolutionary Innovations and Developmental Resources: From Stability to Variation and Back Again. Philosophy of Science 75 (5):861-873.
    Will a synthesis of developmental and evolutionary biology require a focus on the role of nongenetic resources in evolution? Nongenetic variation may exist but be hidden because the phenotypes are stable (developmentally canalized) under certain background conditions. In this case, those differences may come to play important roles in evolution when background conditions change. If this is so, then a focus on the way that developmental resources are made reliable, and the ways in which reliability fails, may prove to be (...)
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  28. Kevin N. Laland, John Odling-Smee, William Hoppitt & Tobias Uller (2013). More on How and Why: Cause and Effect in Biology Revisited. Biology and Philosophy 28 (5):719-745.
    In 1961, Ernst Mayr published a highly influential article on the nature of causation in biology, in which he distinguished between proximate and ultimate causes. Mayr argued that proximate causes (e.g. physiological factors) and ultimate causes (e.g. natural selection) addressed distinct ‘how’ and ‘why’ questions and were not competing alternatives. That distinction retains explanatory value today. However, the adoption of Mayr’s heuristic led to the widespread belief that ontogenetic processes are irrelevant to evolutionary questions, a belief that has (1) hindered (...)
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  29. Ehud Lamm (2010). Genes Versus Genomes: The Role of Genome Organization in Evolution. Dissertation, Tel Aviv University
    Recent and not so recent advances in our molecular understanding of the genome make the once prevalent view of the genome as a passive container of genetic information (i.e., genes) untenable, and emphasize the importance of the internal organization and re-organization dynamics of the genome for both development and evolution. While this conclusion is by now well accepted, the construction of a comprehensive conceptual framework for studying the genome as a dynamic system, capable of self-organization and adaptive behavior is still (...)
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  30. Paula Mabee (2010). A Multifaceted View of Evo-Devo. BioScience 60 (7):555-556.
  31. David Morris (1999). The Fold and the Body Schema in Merleau-Ponty and Dynamic Systems Theory. Chiasmi International 1:275-286.
    Contemporary thought, whether it be in psychology, biology, immunology, philosophy of perception or philosophy of mind, is confronted with the breakdown of barriers between organism and environment, self and other, subject and object, perceiver and perceived. In this paper I show how Merleau-Ponty can help us think about this problem, by attending to a methodological theme in the background of his dialectical conception of embodiment. In La structure du comportement, Merleau-Ponty conceives life as extension folding back upon itself so as (...)
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  32. Susan Oyama (2000). Causal Democracy and Causal Contributions in Developmental Systems Theory. Philosophy of Science 67 (3):347.
    In reworking a variety of biological concepts, Developmental Systems Theory (DST) has made frequent use of parity of reasoning. We have done this to show, for instance, that factors that have similar sorts of impact on a developing organism tend nevertheless to be invested with quite different causal importance. We have made similar arguments about evolutionary processes. Together, these analyses have allowed DST not only to cut through some age-old muddles about the nature of development, but also to effect a (...)
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  33. Slobodan Perovic & Ljiljana Radenovic, Is Nativism in Psychology Reconcilable with the Parity Thesis in Biology?
    The Modern Synthesis of Darwinism and genetics regards non-genetic factors as merely constraints on the genetic variations that result in the characteristics of organisms. Even though the environment (including social interactions and culture) is as necessary as genes in terms of selection and inheritance, it does not contain the information that controls the development of the traits. S. Oyama’s account of the Parity Thesis, however, states that one cannot conceivably distinguish in a meaningful way between nature-based (i.e., gene-based) and nurture-based (...)
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  34. Massimo Pigliucci (2010). Genotype–Phenotype Mapping and the End of the ‘Genes as Blueprint’ Metaphor. Philosophical Transactions Royal Society B 365:557–566.
    In a now classic paper published in 1991, Alberch introduced the concept of genotype–phenotype (G!P) mapping to provide a framework for a more sophisticated discussion of the integration between genetics and developmental biology that was then available. The advent of evo-devo first and of the genomic era later would seem to have superseded talk of transitions in phenotypic space and the like, central to Alberch’s approach. On the contrary, this paper shows that recent empirical and theoretical advances have only sharpened (...)
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  35. Massimo Pigliucci (2003). The New Evolutionary Synthesis: Around the Corner, or Impossible Chimaera? [REVIEW] Quarterly Review of Biology 78 (4):449-453.
    In the fall of 1990 I had just began my doc- toral studies at the University of Connecticut. Freshly arrived from Italy, I came to the United States to work with Carl Schlichting on something to do with phenotypic plastic- ity. I spent most of that semester discussing with other graduate students what I thought was a momentous paper by Mary Jane West- Eberhard (1989) in the Annual Review of Ecol- ogy and Systematics. That paper, entitled Phe- notypic Plasticity and (...)
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  36. Thomas Pradeu (2010). The Organism in Developmental Systems Theory. Biological Theory 5 (3):216-222.
    In this paper, I address the question of what the Developmental Systems Theory (DST) aims at explaining. I distinguish two lines of thought in DST, one which deals specifically with development, and tries to explain the development of the individual organism, and the other which presents itself as a reconceptualization of evolution, and tries to explain the evolution of populations of developmental systems (organism-environment units). I emphasize that, despite the claiming of the contrary by DST proponents, there are two very (...)
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  37. Diego Rasskin-Gutman (2007). The Power of Mathematical Modeling in Developmental Biology: Biological Physics of the Developing Embryo Gabor Forgacs and Stuart A. Newman Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005 (337 Pp; $ 64 Hbk; ISBN 0-521-78337-2). [REVIEW] Biological Theory 2 (1):108-111.
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  38. Jason Scott Robert (2003). Developmental Systems and Animal Behaviour. Biology and Philosophy 18 (3):477-489.
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  39. Jason Scott Robert, Constant Factors and Hedgeless Hedges: On Heuristics and Biases Developmental Biology.
    How does a complex organism develop from a relatively simple, homogeneous mass? The usual answer is: through the execution of species-specific genetic instructions specifying the development of that organism. Commentators are sometimes sceptical of this usual answer, but of course not all commentators. Some biologists refer to master control genes responsible for the activation of all the genes responsible for every aspect of organismal development; and some philosophers, most notoriously Rosenberg, buy this claim hook, line, and sinker. Here I explore (...)
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  40. Jason Scott Robert, Brian K. Hall & Wendy M. Olson (2001). Bridging the Gap Between Developmental Systems Theory and Evolutionary Developmental Biology†. Bioessays 23 (10):954-962.
  41. Robert D. Rupert, Extended Cognition, Extended Selection, and Developmental Systems Theory.
    I respond to Karola Stotz's criticisms of my previously published challenges to the inference from developmental systems theory to an extended view of cognition.
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  42. David Russell & Lloyd Fell, Living Systems - Autonomous Unities.
    The question which is never entirely resolved is: what is life? Biology, claims to stand for the study of life and living things, yet we would say that it cannot make a thoroughly clear distinction between living and non living, except in some very obvious cases. There are textbook definitions, of course, based on certain notable properties such as the ability to metabolize or reproduce, but these are arbitrary. If we are familiar with the characteristics of a particular animal or (...)
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  43. Armin W. Schulz (2013). Overextension: The Extended Mind and Arguments From Evolutionary Biology. [REVIEW] European Journal for Philosophy of Science 3 (2):241-255.
    I critically assess two widely cited evolutionary biological arguments for two versions of the ‘Extended Mind Thesis’ (EMT): namely, an argument appealing to Dawkins’s ‘Extended Phenotype Thesis’ (EPT) and an argument appealing to ‘Developmental Systems Theory’ (DST). Specifically, I argue that, firstly, appealing to the EPT is not useful for supporting the EMT (in either version), as it is structured and motivated too differently from the latter to be able to corroborate or elucidate it. Secondly, I extend and defend Rupert’s (...)
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  44. Jeffrey H. Schwartz (2006). Decisions, Decisions: Why Thomas Hunt Morgan Was Not the "Father" of Evo-Devo. Philosophy of Science 73 (5):918-929.
    Although the construction of neo-Darwinism grew out of Thomas Hunt Morgan's melding of Darwinism and Mendelism, his evidence did not soley support a model of gradual change. To the contrary, he was confronted with observations that could have led him to a more "evo-devo" understanding of the emergence of novel features. Indeed, since Morgan was an embryologist before he became a fruit-fly geneticist, one would have predicted that the combination of these two lines of research would have resulted in early (...)
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  45. Werner Schwemmler (1980). The Triality Principle as a Possible Cause of the Periodicity of Evolving Systems. Acta Biotheoretica 29 (2).
    Evolution proceeds in phases, alternatingly convergent and divergent. During the divergent phases, many variants of an evolutionary system arise, and in the convergent phases, these are brought together in a new, higher unity, which in turn varies, and so on. Thus the mechanism of evolution is trialistic, proceeding according to the Hegelian principle (in the widest sense) of thesis, antithesis and synthesis. This mechanism is at the same time mirrored in the structure of the evolving systems, being most clearly expressed (...)
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  46. Nicholas Shea (2012). Genetic Representation Explains the Cluster of Innateness-Related Properties. Mind and Language 27 (4):466-493.
    The concept of innateness is used to make inferences between various better-understood properties, like developmental canalization, evolutionary adaptation, heritability, species-typicality, and so on (‘innateness-related properties’). This article uses a recently-developed account of the representational content carried by inheritance systems like the genome to explain why innateness-related properties cluster together, especially in non-human organisms. Although inferences between innateness-related properties are deductively invalid, and lead to false conclusions in many actual cases, where some aspect of a phenotypic trait develops in reliance on (...)
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  47. Nicholas Shea (2011). Developmental Systems Theory Formulated as a Claim About Inherited Representations. Philosophy of Science 78 (1):60-82.
    Developmental Systems Theory (DST) emphasises the importance of non-genetic factors in development and their relevance to evolution. A common, deflationary reaction is that it has long been appreciated that non-genetic factors are causally indispensable. This paper argues that DST can be reformulated to make a more substantive claim: that the special role played by genes is also played by some (but not all) non-genetic resources. That special role is to transmit inherited representations, in the sense of Shea (2007: Biology and (...)
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  48. Orkun S. Soyer & Maureen A. O'Malley (2013). Evolutionary Systems Biology: What It is and Why It Matters. Bioessays 35 (8):696-705.
  49. Ulrich E. Stegmann (2012). Varieties of Parity. Biology and Philosophy 27 (6):903-918.
    A central idea of developmental systems theory is ‘parity’ or ‘symmetry’ between genes and non-genetic factors of development. The precise content of this idea remains controversial, with different authors stressing different aspects and little explicit comparisons among the various interpretations. Here I characterise and assess several influential versions of parity.
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  50. Kim Sterelny (2000). Development, Evolution, and Adaptation. Philosophy of Science 67 (3):387.
    In this paper I develop three conceptions of the relationship between evolutionary and developmental biology. I further argue that: (a) the choice between them largely turns on as yet unresolved empirical considerations; (b) none of these conceptions demand a fundamental conceptual reevaluation of evolutionary biology; and (c) while developmental systems theorists have constructed an important and innovative alternative to the standard view of the genotype/phenotype relations, in considering the general issue of the relationship between evolutionary and developmental biology, we can (...)
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