Complexity and evolution: What everybody knows [Book Review]
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
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 complexity of organisms increases in evolution, although almost no empirical evidence for such a trend exists. Most studies of complexity 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 complexity, and guidelines for future empirical studies are proposed.
|Keywords||Complexity entropy evolution evolutionary trends Herbert Spencer progress|
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References found in this work BETA
D. R. Brooks (1988). Evolution as Entropy: Toward a Unified Theory of Biology. University of Chicago Press.
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Citations of this work BETA
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Angela Potochnik & Brian McGill (2012). The Limitations of Hierarchical Organization. Philosophy of Science 79 (1):120-140.
Massimo Pigliucci (2008). Sewall Wright's Adaptive Landscapes: 1932 Vs. 1988. Biology and Philosophy 23 (5):591-603.
Adrian Mitchell Currie (2013). Narratives, Mechanisms and Progress in Historical Science. Synthese 191 (6):1-21.
Derek D. Turner (2009). How Much Can We Know About the Causes of Evolutionary Trends? Biology and Philosophy 24 (3):341-357.
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