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Developmental Biology is the study of organisms’ life cycles from single cell to complex reproducing and aging multi-cellular organisms. It endeavours to explain phenomena such as: cellular differentiation (e.g. neurons vs. liver cells) and cellular aging, the development of gross morphology and anatomical structures (e.g. body shape and organs -eyes and limbs-), and the development of an organism as an integrated part of an eco-system (e.g. phenotypic plasticity). The philosophically relevant points, in addition to broader philosophy of science inquiries (e.g. confirmation and explanation) are those that have to do with the ontological status of biological kinds and with inter-level relations, specifically the integration of developmental biology with evolutionary biology and to a lesser extent, with ecology. Keeping this is in mind the subcategories within Developmental Biology can be grouped into three main themes: evolution(Evolutionary-Developmental Biology, Developmental Constraints and Process Structuralism)ecology (Ecological Developmental Biology, Epigenetic Inheritance, Nature vs. Nurture and Innateness) and ontology (Developmental Modularity, Developmental System Theory and Process Structuralism).

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  1. Making Sense of Life: Explaining Biological Development with Models, Metaphors, and Machines (Review).John C. Avise - 2004 - Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 47 (1):145-148.
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  2. What Evolvability Really Is.R. L. Brown - 2014 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 65 (3):549-572.
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  3. The Plasticity of the Merely Human.Damon Marcel DeCoste - 2007 - Renascence 60 (1):33-52.
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  4. Glial Strategy for Metabolic Shuttling and Neuronal Function.Joachim W. Deitmer - 2000 - Bioessays 22 (8):747-752.
  5. Adaptive Responses to Genotoxic Damage: Bacterial Strategies to Prevent ‐Mutation and Cell Death.Bruce Demple - 1987 - Bioessays 6 (4):157-160.
  6. Insect Developmental Genetics – Moving Beyond Drosophila.Rob Denell - 1987 - Bioessays 6 (2):77-79.
  7. Mathematical Model and Simulation of Retina and Tectum Opticum of Lower Vertebrates.U. An der Heiden & G. Roth - 1987 - Acta Biotheoretica 36 (3):179-212.
    The processing of information within the retino-tectal visual system of amphibians is decomposed into five major operational stages, three of them taking place in the retina and two in the optic tectum. The stages in the retina involve a spatially local high-pass filtering in connection to the perception of moving objects, separation of the receptor activity into ON- and OFF-channels regarding the distinction of objects on both light and dark backgrounds, spatial integration via near excitation and far-reaching inhibition. Variation of (...)
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  8. Scienze della vita e filosofia nel Seicento e Settecento. [REVIEW]Alessandro Dini - 1987 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 9 (2):327 - 332.
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  9. Embryonic Development and Induction.F. J. Dore - 1939 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 14 (3):510-511.
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  10. Studien Zur Theorie der Organischen Formbildung.Hans Driesch - 1937 - Acta Biotheoretica 3 (1):51-80.
    The concept of embryological “exactness” is introduced; it becomes rather complicated if a called interaction of embryological parts is in question. From the point of view of the biological mechanist “exactness” is ultimately founded upon a given material structure. The experiment is the only possible way to decide, whether the mechanistic view is right or not; mere description does not suffice here. The decision is in favor of so called vitalism. The “harmonious-equipotential system” implies “exactness”. The “genes” are not the (...)
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  11. Zur Kritik Des „Holismus”.Hans Driesch - 1936 - Acta Biotheoretica 1 (3):185-202.
  12. Embryologie au XVIII E Siècle: L'Interprétation de S. Roe. [REVIEW]François Duchesneau - 1985 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 7 (2):321 - 327.
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  13. Illuminating Plant Development.Catherine M. Duckett & John C. Gray - 1995 - Bioessays 17 (2):101-103.
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  14. Do Human Eggs Attract Spermatozoa?Michael Eisenbach & Ilan Tur-Kaspa - 1999 - Bioessays 21 (3):203-210.
  15. Ontogenetic Machinery.Lorenz Engell - 2011 - Radical Philosophy 169:10.
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  16. How Might Replicative Senescence Contribute to Human Ageing?Richard G. A. Faragher & David Kipling - 1998 - Bioessays 20 (12):985-991.
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  17. On the Logistic Law of Growth and its Empirical Verifications in Biology.Willy Feller - 1940 - Acta Biotheoretica 5 (2):51-66.
    Es wird untersucht, wie weit den empirischen Bestätigungen der logistischen Differentialgleichung als Ausdruck eines biologischen Wachstumsgesetzes tatsächliche Beweiskraft zukommt. Durch eine Reihe praktischer Ausgleichungen wurde geprüft, welche Güte der Annäherung im Durchschnitt zu erwarten ist, wenn durch eine beliebige andere dreiparametrige ScharS-förmiger Kurven ersetzt wird und ). Es zeigt sich überraschenderweise, dass sich die logistische Kurve keineswegs besonders gut dem biologischen Material anpasst, und dass letzteres auch mit ganz anderen Hypothesen vereinbar wäre. Ähnliches gilt auch von den Experimenten vonGause bewiesen (...)
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  18. Plant Morphogenesis: A Geometrical Model for the Ramification.Michel Ferré & Hervé Le Guyader - 1990 - Acta Biotheoretica 38 (3-4):181-206.
    A geometrical model is proposed that describes the emergence of a primordium at the shoot apex in Dicotyledons. It is based on recent fundamental results on plant morphogenesis, viz.:the emergence is preceded by the reorganization of the microtubules of the cortical cytoskeleton, leading to a new orientation of the synthesis of the cell wall microfibrils;the resulting global stress is related to the general orientation of the cell growth;The model sums up the continuous interactions that link the microtubules, the microfibrils and (...)
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  19. Ontogeny Recapitulates Phylogeny: A Classical Formula of Organicism in Approaches to Organic Form. Permutations in Science and Culture.Kj Fink - 1987 - Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science 105:87-112.
  20. Development, Databases and the Internet.S. M. Frisch - 1995 - Bioessays 17:1002-1002.
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  21. [From experimental embryology to a genetics of development: from Hans Spemann to Antonio Garcia-Bellido].C. Galperin - 1999 - Revue d'Histoire des Sciences 53 (3-4):581-616.
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  22. Cognitive Modularity, Biological Modularity, and Evolvability.Claudia García - 2007 - Biological Theory 2 (1):62-73.
    I examine an argument that has recently appeared in the cognitive science literature in favor of thinking that the mind is mostly composed of Fodorian-type cognitive modules; an argument that concludes that a mind that is massively composed of classical cognitive mechanisms that are cognitively modular is more evolvable than a mind that is not cognitively modular, since a cognitive mechanism that is cognitively modular is likely to be biologically modular, and biologically modular characters are more evolvable. I argue that (...)
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  23. Christine Hertler, Morphologische Methoden in der Evolutionsforschung.M. Ghiselin - 2002 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 23 (2):318-318.
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  24. Hydra as a Model for the Development of Biological Form.Alfred Gierer - 1974 - Scientific American 231 (6):44-54.
    Cells isolated from this freshwater polyp can aggregate and form a complete new animal. Experiments with the system lend support to a physico-chemical scheme for the creation of biological pattern.
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  25. Conceptions of Prenatal Development: Behavioral Embryology.Gilbert Gottlieb - 1976 - Psychological Review 83 (3):215-234.
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  26. Genetic Information: A Metaphor in Search of a Theory.Paul E. Griffiths - 2001 - Philosophy of Science 68 (3):394-412.
    John Maynard Smith has defended against philosophical criticism the view that developmental biology is the study of the expression of information encoded in the genes by natural selection. However, like other naturalistic concepts of information, this ‘teleosemantic’ information applies to many non-genetic factors in development. Maynard Smith also fails to show that developmental biology is concerned with teleosemantic information. Some other ways to support Maynard Smith’s conclusion are considered. It is argued that on any definition of information the view that (...)
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  27. Developmental Biology and Genetics: An Informative Overview. Genetics and Development. By JAMES H. SANG. Longman, 1984. Pp. 398. £10.50. [REVIEW]Thomas Grigliatti - 1985 - Bioessays 3 (6):278-279.
  28. Egg Distributions and the Information a Solitary Parasitoid has and Uses for its Oviposition Decisions.Lia Hemerik, Nelly van der Hoeven & Jacques J. M. van Alphen - 2002 - Acta Biotheoretica 50 (3):167-188.
    Approximately three decades ago the question was first answered whether parasitoids are able to assess the number or origin of eggs in a host for a solitary parasitoid, Leptopilina heterotoma, by fitting theoretically derived distributions to empirical ones. We extend the set of different theoretically postulated distributions of eggs among hosts by combining searching modes and abilities in assessing host quality. In the models, parasitoids search either randomly (Poisson) (1) or by vibrotaxis (Negative Binomial) (2). Parasitoids are: (a) assumed to (...)
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  29. Olson's Embryo Problem.David B. Hershenov - 2002 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 80 (4):502-511.
  30. On the Development of Certain Species of Very Large Body Size by Linear-Dominance Mating Hierarchy.Leonard Hersher - 1985 - Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 29 (1):88-91.
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  31. Review of Daniel J. Hruschka's Friendship: Development, Ecology, and Evolution of a Relationship (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2010). [REVIEW]Nicole H. Hess & Shane J. Macfarlan - 2013 - Human Nature 24 (3):348-350.
  32. Development and Purpose.L. T. Hobhouse - 1927 - Grosse Pointe, Mich., Scholarly Press.
    purpose, the train of events which it sets up and the* ultimate end are seen as an ... Conversely, an organic whole is one which is determined by a purpose. ...
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  33. Information, Complexity and Generative Replication.Geoffrey M. Hodgson & Thorbjørn Knudsen - 2007 - Biology and Philosophy 23 (1):47-65.
    The established definition of replication in terms of the conditions of causality, similarity and information transfer is very broad. We draw inspiration from the literature on self-reproducing automata to strengthen the notion of information transfer in replication processes. To the triple conditions of causality, similarity and information transfer, we add a fourth condition that defines a “generative replicator” as a conditional generative mechanism, which can turn input signals from an environment into developmental instructions. Generative replication must have the potential to (...)
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  34. Population Structure Increases the Evolvability of Genetic Algorithms.Felix J. H. Hol, Xin Wang & Juan E. Keymer - 2012 - Complexity 17 (5):58-64.
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  35. Animals Are Both Radially and Bilaterally Symmetrical: Accommodating Seemingly Mutually Exclusive Paradigms.Gábor Holló - 2014 - Bioessays 36 (9):901-902.
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  36. Zur Geschichte des Hormonbegriffes in der Botanik und zur Entdeckungsgeschichte der 'Wuchsstoffe'.Ekkehard Höxtermann - 1994 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 16 (2):311 - 337.
    The beginning of hormone research in the history of botany is discussed. Specific growth substances had been assumed to explain organ correlations in plants long before the term hormone was introduced into physiology. Progress in medical endocrinology did not initially have a particularly deep influence on physiology of plant development. Only a few botanists used the hormone concept without, however, having great resonance. Studies on phototropic responses led to the acceptance of growth regulating substances. But doubts arose if these plant (...)
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  37. The Essence of Scientific Theories.David L. Hull - 2006 - Biological Theory 1 (1):17-19.
  38. A Clash of Paradigms or the Sound of One Hand Clapping.David L. Hull - 1998 - Biology and Philosophy 13 (4):587-595.
  39. A Period of Development: A Response. [REVIEW]David L. Hull - 1988 - Biology and Philosophy 3 (2):241-263.
  40. Causal Parity and Externalisms: Extensions in Life and Mind. [REVIEW]Philippe Huneman - 2013 - Minds and Machines 23 (3):377-404.
    This paper questions the form and prospects of “extended theories” which have been simultaneously and independently advocated both in the philosophy of mind and in the philosophy of biology. It focuses on Extend Mind Theory (EMT) and Developmental Systems Theory (DST). It shows first that the two theories vindicate a parallel extension of received views, the former concerning extending cognition beyond the brain, the latter concerned with extending evolution and development beyond the genes. It also shows that both arguments rely (...)
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  41. Reflexive Judgement and Wolffian Embryology: Kant's Shift Between the First and the Third Critique.Philippe Huneman - unknown
    The problem of generation has been, for Kant scholars, a kind of test of Kant's successive concepts of finality. Although he deplores the absence of a naturalistic account of purposiveness (and hence of reproduction) in his pre-critical writings, in the First Critique he nevertheless presents a "reductionist" view of finality in the Transcendental Dialectic's Appendices. This finality can be used only as a language, extended to the whole of nature, but which must be filled with mechanistic explanations. Therefore, in 1781, (...)
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  42. Spatial, Temporal, and Modulatory Factors Affecting GasNet Evolvability in a Visually Guided Robotics Task.Philip Husbands, Andrew Philippides, Patricia Vargas, Christopher L. Buckley, Peter Fine, Ezequiel Di Paolo & Michael O'Shea - 2010 - Complexity 16 (2):35-44.
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  43. The History of the Plant Embryo. Terminology and Visualization From Ancient Until Modern Times.Hans Werner Ingensiep - 2004 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 26 (3/4):309 - 331.
    Since ancient times comparisons between embryonic forms of humans, animals, and plants are known. In deciphering a plant embryo and its development, one applied a specific zoomorphic terminology. Until the 17th century naturalists who studied plants were inspired by the concepts of ancient natural philosophy. Since then plant embryos are visualized by drawings and diagrammatic sketches. In the 18th century the embryo became an important issue in debates concerning theories of generation and the analogy between animal egg and vegetable seed (...)
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  44. Moral Fibre: The Negotiation of Microscopic Facts in Victorian Britain. [REVIEW]L. S. Jacyna - 2003 - Journal of the History of Biology 36 (1):39 - 85.
    During the 1840s and 1850s the British embryologist and histologist Martin Barry (1802-1855) propounded a bold and original thesis about the microscopic structure of animal and vegetable tissue. He maintained that minute double spirals were virtually ubiquitous in the makeup of a wide range of structures. This paper considers how a claim of this kind was consonant with a romantic image of scientific creativity with which Barry identified. It describes his partially successful strategies to convince contemporaries of the veracity of (...)
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  45. Learning to Dance with Maxine Sheets-Johnstone: Maxine Sheets-Johnstone: The Primacy of Movement, John Benjamins, Amsterdam, 2011, 2nd Expanded Edition, 574 Pp, $49.95 Pbk, ISBN 978-9027252197 (Book Review). [REVIEW]Sybillyn Jennings - 2011 - Biological Theory 6 (2):184-186.
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  46. Evolvability of Consciousness.George H. Jensen - 2010 - Revista Portuguesa de Filosofia 66 (4):881 - 895.
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  47. The Causality Horizon and the Developmental Bases of Morphological Evolution.Jukka Jernvall - 2013 - Biological Theory 8 (3):286-292.
    With the advent of evolutionary developmental research, or EvoDevo, there is hope of discovering the roles that the genetic bases of development play in morphological evolution. Studies in EvoDevo span several levels of organismal organization. Low-level studies identify the ultimate genetic changes responsible for morphological variation and diversity. High-level studies of development focus on how genetic differences affect the dynamics of gene networks and epigenetic interactions to modify morphology. Whereas an increasing number of studies link independent acquisition of homoplastic or (...)
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  48. Stochastic Development of Cell Populations Under Non-Homogeneous Conditions.MiloŠ Jílek - 1975 - Acta Biotheoretica 24 (3-4):108-119.
    Studies on the development of cell populations are often based on results of the theory of stochastic birth- and death-processes (continuous or discrete (seee.g. references inVogel, Niewisch &Matioli (1969), in some cases, death may be interpreted not as actual death of the cell bute.g. as a recruitment of the cell considered into another cell compartment, etc.). It is usually assumed that the conditions for the development are homogeneous,i.e. that the probabilities of births and deaths are independent on the time. However, (...)
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  49. The Developmental Basis of Identity.Martin H. Johnson - 2001 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 32 (4):601-617.
    We are each the product of our development. The nature of the developmental process by which each of us was formed is described from gametogenesis to neonatality. The varied influences upon that process and their relative balance and patterns of interaction are then considered. In particular, the relative importance of epigenetic and genetic factors is discussed. It is concluded that development is a continuous process involving epigenetic/genetic interactions throughout. The contemporary emphasis on the genetic basis for human individuality is reviewed (...)
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  50. Chemical Embryology. By Joseph Needham. (London: Cambridge University Press. 1931. 3 Vols.).Jas Johnstone - 1932 - Philosophy 7 (27):354-.
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