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There are two claims that define Process Structuralism. First is that development has a strong influence on the kinds of phenotypes available for selection, bringing developmental phenomena to bear on evolutionary theory. Developmental processes are fundamentally developmental constraints explaining biological phenomena, such as the conservation of traits across phylogeny, in terms of developmental processes biasing the variation in phenotypic forms available for selection. Distinctive is the second claim, the ontological assertion that biological kinds can be individuated in terms of the kinds of structures that emerge from the dynamic process of cellular and physiological development, rather than in terms of historically contingent common descent. The dynamical process of development generate stable archetypal organismic structures, these constitute what was called a bauplan.

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  1. Marcello Barbieri (2012). Code Biology – A New Science of Life. Biosemiotics 5 (3):411-437.
    Systems Biology and the Modern Synthesis are recent versions of two classical biological paradigms that are known as structuralism and functionalism, or internalism and externalism. According to functionalism (or externalism), living matter is a fundamentally passive entity that owes its organization to external forces (functions that shape organs) or to an external organizing agent (natural selection). Structuralism (or internalism), is the view that living matter is an intrinsically active entity that is capable of organizing itself from within, with purely internal (...)
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  2. 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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  3. Paul E. Griffiths (1996). Darwinism, Process Structuralism, and Natural Kinds. Philosophy of Science 63 (3):9.
    Darwinists classify biological traits either by their ancestry (homology) or by their adaptive role. Only the latter can provide traditional natural kinds, but only the former is practicable. Process structuralists exploit this embarrassment to argue for non-Darwinian classifications in terms of underlying developmental mechanisms. This new taxonomy will also explain phylogenetic inertia and developmental constraint. I argue that Darwinian homologies are natural kinds despite having historical essences and being spatio-temporally restricted. Furthermore, process structuralist explanations of biological form require an unwarranted (...)
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  4. 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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  5. Manfred D. Laubichler (2009). Form and Function in Evo Devo: Historical and Conceptual Reflections. In Manfred Laubichler & Jane Maienschein (eds.), Form and Function in Developmental Evolution. Cambridge University Press. 10.
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  6. Tim Lewens (2012). Pheneticism Reconsidered. Biology and Philosophy 27 (2):159-177.
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  7. Paula Mabee (2010). A Multifaceted View of Evo-Devo. Bioscience 60 (7):555-556.
  8. Anne Dambricourt Malassé (1995). Les Attracteurs Inedits de L'Hominisation. Acta Biotheoretica 43 (1-2).
    The recent discovery of a phenomenon of craniofacial growth, called craniofacial contraction, throws a new <span class='Hi'>light</span> on the process of hominization. The main interest of this discovery lies in a growth principle combining the different craniofacial units, that is to say, the neurocranium (neural skull), the chondrocranium (basal skull) and the splanchnocranium (visceral archs including the mandible). Until recent years, these different parts were considered as neighbouring element without any morphogenic or morphodynamic connection. But now, we know that the (...)
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  9. Fabian Neuhaus & Barry Smith (2008). Modelling Principles and Methodologies: Relations in Anatomical Ontologies. In Albert Burger, Duncan Davidson & Richard Baldock (eds.), Anatomy Ontologies for Bioinformatics: Principles and Practice. Springer.
    It is now increasingly accepted that many existing biological and medical ontologies can be improved by adopting tools and methods that bring a greater degree of logical and ontological rigor. In this chapter we will focus on the merits of a logically sound approach to ontologies from a methodological point of view. As we shall see, one crucial feature of a logically sound approach is that we have clear and functional definitions of the relational expressions such as ‘is a’ and (...)
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  10. Massimo Pigliucci (2013). Between Holism and Reductionism: A Philosophical Primer on Emergence. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society.
    Ever since Darwin a great deal of the conceptual history of biology may be read as a struggle between two philosophical positions: reductionism and holism. On the one hand, we have the reductionist claim that evolution has to be understood in terms of changes at the fundamental causal level of the gene. As Richard Dawkins famously put it, organisms are just ‘lumbering robots’ in the service of their genetic masters. On the other hand, there is a long holistic tradition that (...)
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  11. 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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  12. David Resnik (1994). The Rebirth of Rational Morphology. Acta Biotheoretica 42 (1).
    This paper examines a new challenge to neo-Darwinism, a movement known as process structuralism. The process structuralist critique of neo-Darwinism holds 1) that there are general laws in biology and that biologists should search for these laws; 2) that there are general forms of morphology and development and that biologists should attempt to uncover these forms; 3) that organisms are unified wholes that cannot be understood without adopting a holistic perspective; and 4) that no special, causal primacy should be given (...)
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  13. 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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  14. Denis M. Walsh (2013). Mechanism, Emergence, and Miscibility: The Autonomy of Evo-Devo. In. In Philippe Huneman (ed.), Functions: Selection and Mechanisms. Springer. 43--65.
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