David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Biology and Philosophy 6 (3):303-324 (1991)
The consensus among evolutionists seems to be (and has been for at least a century) that the morphological <span class='Hi'>complexity</span> of organisms increases in evolution, although almost no empirical evidence for such a trend exists. Most studies of <span class='Hi'>complexity</span> have been theoretical, and the few empirical studies have not, with the exception of certain recent ones, been especially rigorous; reviews are presented of both the theoretical and empirical literature. The paucity of evidence raises the question of what sustains the consensus, and a number of suggestions are offered, including the possibility that certain cultural and/or perceptual biases are at work. In addition, a shift in emphasis from theoretical to empirical inquiry is recommended for the study of <span class='Hi'>complexity</span>, and guidelines for future empirical studies are proposed.
|Keywords||Complexity entropy evolution evolutionary trends Herbert Spencer progress|
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Citations of this work BETA
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Jesper Hoffmeyer (2010). A Biosemiotic Approach to the Question of Meaning. Zygon 45 (2):367-390.
Angela Potochnik & Brian McGill (2012). The Limitations of Hierarchical Organization. Philosophy of Science 79 (1):120-140.
Adrian Mitchell Currie (2013). Narratives, Mechanisms and Progress in Historical Science. Synthese 191 (6):1-21.
Derek D. Turner (2014). Philosophical Issues in Recent Paleontology. Philosophy Compass 9 (7):494-505.
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