David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Biology and Philosophy 7 (2):135-160 (1992)
Accounts of the evolutionary past have as much in common with works of narrative history as they do with works of science. Awareness of the narrative character of evolutionary writing leads to the discovery of a host of fascinating and hitherto unrecognized problems in the representation of evolutionary history, problems associated with the writing of narrative. These problems include selective attention, narrative perspective, foregrounding and backgrounding, differential resolution, and the establishment of a canon of important events. The narrative aspects of evolutionary writing, however, which promote linearity and cohesiveness in conventional stories, conflict with the underlying chronicle of evolution, which is not linear, but branched, and which does not cohere, but diverges. The impulse to narrate is so great, however, and is so strongly reinforced by traditional schemes of taxonomic attention, that natural historians have more often abandoned the diverging tree than they have abandoned the narrative mode of representation. If we are to understand the true nature of the evolutionary past then we must adopt tree thinking, and develop new and creative ways, both narrative and non-narrative, of telling the history of life.
|Keywords||Cladistics classification evolutionary history narrative natural history natural system philosophy of history philosophy of science phylogeny progress systematics tree thinking tree topology|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
Kevin de Queiroz (1988). Systematics and the Darwinian Revolution. Philosophy of Science 55 (2):238-259.
W. B. Gallie (1968). Philosophy and the Historical Understanding. New York, Schocken Books.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Rukmini Bhaya Nair (2010). The Nature of Narrative : Schemes, Genes, Memes, Dreams, and Screams! In Armin W. Geertz & Jeppe Sinding Jensen (eds.), Religious Narrative, Cognition, and Culture: Image and Word in the Mind of Narrative. Equinox Pub. Ltd..
Hanno Sandvik (2009). Anthropocentricisms in Cladograms. Biology and Philosophy 24 (4):425-440.
Jeppe Sinding Jensen (2010). Language as an Emergent Function : Some Radical Neurological and Evolutionary Implications. In Armin W. Geertz & Jeppe Sinding Jensen (eds.), Religious Narrative, Cognition, and Culture: Image and Word in the Mind of Narrative. Equinox Pub. Ltd..
Björn Eriksson (2005). Understanding Narrative Explanation. Croatian Journal of Philosophy 5 (2):317-344.
Maureen A. O.’Malley (2010). Ernst Mayr, the Tree of Life, and Philosophy of Biology. Biology and Philosophy 25 (4):529-552.
Mary B. Williams (1986). The Logical Skeleton of Darwin's Historical Methodology. PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1986:514 - 521.
Alun Munslow (2007). Narrative and History. Palgrave Macmillan.
David Young (2007). The Discovery of Evolution. Cambridge University Press, in Association with Natural History Museum, London.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads16 ( #98,987 of 1,096,840 )
Recent downloads (6 months)5 ( #53,739 of 1,096,840 )
How can I increase my downloads?