Is convergence more than an analogy? Homoplasy and its implications for macroevolutionary predictability
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Biology and Philosophy 22 (4):565-578 (2007)
A number of authors have pointed to “convergent evolution” as evidence for the central role of natural selection in shaping predictable trajectories of macroevolution. However, there are numerous conceptual and empirical difficulties that arise in broadly appealing to the frequency of homoplasy as evidence for a non-contingently constrained adaptational design space. Most important is the need to distinguish between convergent (externally constrained) and parallel (internally constrained) evolution, and to consider how the respective frequencies of these significantly different sources of homoplasy affect a strong adaptationist view of life. In this paper, I critically evaluate Simon Conway Morris’s use of the homoplasy literature to support his argument for a non-contingent, counterfactually stable account of macroevolutionary pattern. In so doing, I offer a conception of parallelism which avoids the charge that it differs from convergence merely in degree and not in kind. I argue that although organisms sharing a homoplastic trait will also share varying degrees of homology, it is the underlying developmental homology with respect to the generators directly causally responsible for the homoplastic event that defines parallel evolution and non-arbitrarily distinguishes it from convergence. The notion of “screening-off” is used to distinguish the proximal generators of a homoplastic trait from its more distal genetic causes (such as a master control gene).
|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
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
Russell Powell (2012). Convergent Evolution and the Limits of Natural Selection. European Journal for Philosophy of Science 2 (3):355-373.
Tudor M. Baetu (2012). Mechanistic Constraints on Evolutionary Outcomes. Philosophy of Science 79 (2):276-294.
Adrian Mitchell Currie (2012). Convergence, Contingency & Morphospace. Biology and Philosophy 27 (4):583-593.
Adrian Mitchell Currie (2014). Venomous Dinosaurs and Rear-Fanged Snakes: Homology and Homoplasy Characterized. [REVIEW] Erkenntnis 79 (3):701-727.
Similar books and articles
Bernd Rosslenbroich (2006). The Notion of Progress in Evolutionary Biology – the Unresolved Problem and an Empirical Suggestion. Biology and Philosophy 21 (1):41-70.
Trevor Pearce (2012). Convergence and Parallelism in Evolution: A Neo-Gouldian Account. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 63 (2):429-448.
Mark Wilkinson (1998). Higher-Order Homoplasy Tests. Acta Biotheoretica 46 (2):109-116.
Mark B. Couch (2005). Functional Properties and Convergence in Biology. Philosophy of Science 72 (5):1041-1051.
Maryanne Martin & Gregory V. Jones (2005). Constraints From Handedness on the Evolution of Brain Lateralization. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 28 (4):603-604.
Marc Ereshefsky (1988). Individuality and Macroevolutionary Theory. PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1988:216 - 222.
Malcolm Parker (2007). Two Into One Won't Go: Conceptual, Clinical, Ethical and Legal Impedimenta to the Convergence of Cam and Orthodox Medicine. [REVIEW] Journal of Bioethical Inquiry 4 (1):7-19.
Michael F. Whiting & Lawrence M. Kelly (1995). Synamorphy, Monophyly, and Cladistic Analysis: A Reply to Wilkinson. Acta Biotheoretica 43 (3):249-257.
Lev Yampolsky & Arlin Stoltzfus (2001). Bias in the Introduction of Variation as an Orienting Factor in Evolution. Evolution and Development 3 (2):73-83.
L. Hammen (1986). On Some Aspects of Parallel Evolution in Chelicerata. Acta Biotheoretica 35 (1-2).
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads18 ( #100,656 of 1,168,035 )
Recent downloads (6 months)1 ( #140,420 of 1,168,035 )
How can I increase my downloads?