David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Bioessays 31 (12):1337-1346 (2009)
‘‘Adaptive radiation’’ is an evocative metaphor for explosive evolutionary divergence, which for over 100 years has given a powerful heuristic to countless scientists working on all types of organisms at all phylogenetic levels. However, success has come at the price of making ‘‘adaptive radiation’’ so vague that it can no longer reflect the detailed results yielded by powerful new phylogeny-based techniques that quantify continuous adaptive radiation variables such as speciation rate, phylogenetic tree shape, and morphological diversity. Attempts to shoehorn the results of these techniques into categorical ‘‘adaptive radiation: yes/no’’ schemes lead to reification, in which arbitrary quantitative thresholds are regarded as real. Our account of the life cycle of metaphors in science suggests that it is time to exchange the spent metaphor for new concepts that better represent the full range of diversity, disparity, and speciation rate across all of life.
|Keywords||metaphor reification adaptive radiation life-cycle evolutionary biology|
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References found in this work BETA
George Lakoff (1980/2003). Metaphors We Live By. University of Chicago Press.
Mary B. Hesse (1966). Models and Analogies in Science. University of Notre Dame Press.
Max Black (1962). Models and Metaphors. Ithaca, N.Y.,Cornell University Press.
Paul E. Griffiths (2001). Genetic Information: A Metaphor in Search of a Theory. Philosophy of Science 68 (3):394-412.
Citations of this work BETA
Alfonso Arroyo-Santos, Mark E. Olson & Francisco Vergara-Silva (2013). The Phylogeography Debate and the Epistemology of Model-Based Evolutionary Biology. Biology and Philosophy 29 (6):833-850.
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