Typology and Natural Kinds in Evo-Devo

In Nuño De La Rosa Laura & Müller Gerd (eds.), Evolutionary Developmental Biology: A Reference Guide. Springer. pp. 483-493 (2021)
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The traditional practice of establishing morphological types and investigating morphological organization has found new support from evolutionary developmental biology (evo-devo), especially with respect to the notion of body plans. Despite recurring claims that typology is at odds with evolutionary thinking, evo-devo offers mechanistic explanations of the evolutionary origin, transformation, and evolvability of morphological organization. In parallel, philosophers have developed non-essentialist conceptions of natural kinds that permit kinds to exhibit variation and undergo change. This not only facilitates a construal of species and higher taxa as natural kinds, but also broadens our perspective on the diversity of kinds found in biology. There are many different natural kinds relevant to the investigative and explanatory aims of evo-devo, including homologues and developmental modules.



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Ingo Brigandt
University of Alberta

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