David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Biology and Philosophy 25 (4):529-552 (2010)
Ernst Mayr’s influence on philosophy of biology has given the field a particular perspective on evolution, phylogeny and life in general. Using debates about the tree of life as a guide, I show how Mayrian evolutionary biology excludes numerous forms of life and many important evolutionary processes. Hybridization and lateral gene transfer are two of these processes, and they occur frequently, with important outcomes in all domains of life. Eukaryotes appear to have a more tree-like history because successful lateral events tend to occur among more closely related species, or at a lower frequency, than in prokaryotes, but this is a difference of degree rather than kind. Although the tree of life is especially problematic as a representation of the evolutionary history of prokaryotes, it can function more generally as an illustration of the limitations of a standard evolutionary perspective. Moreover, for philosophers, questions about the tree of life can be applied to the Mayrian inheritance in philosophy of biology. These questions make clear that the dichotomy of life Mayr suggested is based on too narrow a perspective. An alternative to this dichotomy is a multidimensional continuum in which different strategies of genetic exchange bestow greater adaptiveness and evolvability on prokaryotes and eukaryotes.
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|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
Ron Amundson (1998). Typology Reconsidered: Two Doctrines on the History of Evolutionary Biology. [REVIEW] Biology and Philosophy 13 (2):153-177.
Cheryl P. Andam, David Williams & J. Peter Gogarten (2010). Natural Taxonomy in Light of Horizontal Gene Transfer. Biology and Philosophy 25 (4):589-602.
Peter Beurton (2002). Ernst Mayr Through Time on the Biological Species Concept - a Conceptual Analysis. Theory in Biosciences 121:81-98.
Walter J. Bock (1994). Ernst Mayr, Naturalist: His Contributions to Systematics and Evolution. [REVIEW] Biology and Philosophy 9 (3):267-327.
Richard W. Burkhardt (1994). Ernst Mayr: Biologist-Historian. [REVIEW] Biology and Philosophy 9 (3):359-371.
Citations of this work BETA
Maureen A. O'Malley (2013). When Integration Fails: Prokaryote Phylogeny and the Tree of Life. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 44 (4):551-562.
Similar books and articles
W. Ford Doolittle (2010). The Attempt on the Life of the Tree of Life: Science, Philosophy and Politics. Biology and Philosophy 25 (4):455-473.
Frédéric Bouchard (2010). Symbiosis, Lateral Function Transfer and the (Many) Saplings of Life. Biology and Philosophy 24 (4):623-641.
Carl Chung (2003). On the Origin of the Typological/Population Distinction in Ernst Mayr's Changing Views of Species, 1942-1959. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 34 (2):277-296.
Joel D. Velasco (2010). Species, Genes, and the Tree of Life. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 61 (3):599-619.
Ernst Mayr (2007). What Makes Biology Unique?: Considerations on the Autonomy of a Scientific Discipline. Cambridge University Press.
Jeffrey G. Lawrence & Adam C. Retchless (2010). The Myth of Bacterial Species and Speciation. Biology and Philosophy 25 (4):569-588.
John Beatty (1994). The Proximate/Ultimate Distinction in the Multiple Careers of Ernst Mayr. Biology and Philosophy 9 (3):333-356.
L. R. Franklin-Hall (2010). Trashing Life's Tree. Biology and Philosophy 25 (4):689-709.
Maureen A. O’Malley, William Martin & John Dupré (2010). The Tree of Life: Introduction to an Evolutionary Debate. [REVIEW] Biology and Philosophy 25 (4):441-453.
Added to index2010-05-12
Total downloads25 ( #75,582 of 1,140,007 )
Recent downloads (6 months)1 ( #157,514 of 1,140,007 )
How can I increase my downloads?