Explanation in Evo-Devo

In de la Rosa L. N. & Müller G. B. (eds.), Evolutionary Developmental Biology - A Reference Guide. Springer (2021)
  Copy   BIBTEX


Evo-devo is a multidisciplinary field that investigates the interplay between evolutionary and developmental processes and brings together different kinds of explanatory strategies. This chapter examines the structure of paradigmatic explanations in evo-devo (e.g., the explanation of the origin of an evolutionary novelty) and raises philosophical questions about explanation in evo-devo. Much research in evo-devo is concerned with studying the developmental mechanisms that constrain and facilitate phenotypic evolution, which suggests that a distinctive feature of evo-devo is that it constructs mechanistic explanations. In this chapter, I discuss three major challenges for thinking about evo-devo as providing mechanistic explanations. First, an explanation of an evolutionary novelty consists of several mechanistic explanations, rather than being a single one. Second, developmental mechanisms are ontogenetically and phylogenetically dynamic and thus difficult to individuate. Third, an explanation of an evolutionary novelty also has a non-mechanistic, historical part. Finally, I discuss whether evo-devo’s emphasis on mechanistic explanation promotes explanatory integration or results in a reductionist view of evolution.



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 94,439

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Causing and Composing Evolution: Lessons from Evo-Devo Mechanisms.Cristina Villegas - 2023 - In João L. Cordovil, Gil Santos & Davide Vecchi (eds.), New Mechanism Explanation, Emergence and Reduction. Springer. pp. 61-83.
Typology and Natural Kinds in Evo-Devo.Ingo Brigandt - 2021 - In Nuño De La Rosa Laura & Müller Gerd (eds.), Evolutionary Developmental Biology: A Reference Guide. Springer. pp. 483-493.
Proximate Versus Ultimate Causation and Evo-Devo.Rachael L. Brown - 2018 - In Laura Nuño de la Rosa & G. Müller (eds.), Evolutionary Developmental Biology. Springer.
Toward a mechanistic Evo Devo.Andrew L. Hamilton - 2009 - In Manfred D. Laubichler & Jane Maienschein (eds.), Form and Function in Developmental Evolution. Cambridge University Press. pp. 213.
Toward a Mechanistic Evo Devo.Andrew Hamilton - 2009 - In Manfred D. Laubichler & Jane Maienschein (eds.), Form and Function in Developmental Evolution. Cambridge University Press.


Added to PP

65 (#246,044)

6 months
22 (#159,065)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Marie I. Kaiser
Bielefeld University

Citations of this work

No citations found.

Add more citations

References found in this work

Thinking about mechanisms.Peter Machamer, Lindley Darden & Carl F. Craver - 2000 - Philosophy of Science 67 (1):1-25.
Explaining the Brain.Carl F. Craver - 2007 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press.
The Scientific Image.William Demopoulos & Bas C. van Fraassen - 1982 - Philosophical Review 91 (4):603.
The New Mechanical Philosophy.Stuart Glennan - 2017 - Oxford: Oxford University Press.

View all 25 references / Add more references