Biology and Philosophy 6 (3):303-324 (1991)

Authors
Dan McShea
Duke University
Abstract
The consensus among evolutionists seems to be that the morphological complexity of organisms increases in evolution, although almost no empirical evidence for such a trend exists. Most studies of complexity have been theoretical, and the few empirical studies have not, with the exception of certain recent ones, been especially rigorous; reviews are presented of both the theoretical and empirical literature. The paucity of evidence raises the question of what sustains the consensus, and a number of suggestions are offered, including the possibility that certain cultural and/or perceptual biases are at work. In addition, a shift in emphasis from theoretical to empirical inquiry is recommended for the study of complexity, and guidelines for future empirical studies are proposed.
Keywords Complexity  entropy  evolution  evolutionary trends  Herbert Spencer  progress
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DOI 10.1007/BF00132234
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References found in this work BETA

Ontogeny and Phylogeny.Stephen Jay Gould - 1978 - Philosophy of Science 45 (4):652-653.
First Principles. --.Herbert Spencer - 1860 - Cambridge University Press.
Towards a Theoretical Biology.Michael Ruse - 1972 - Philosophy of Science 39 (1):105-106.

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Citations of this work BETA

The Limitations of Hierarchical Organization.Angela Potochnik & Brian McGill - 2012 - Philosophy of Science 79 (1):120-140.
Biological Individuals.Robert A. Wilson & Matthew J. Barker - 2019 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy 1 (1).
Interweaving Categories: Styles, Paradigms, and Models.Rasmus Grønfeldt Winther - 2012 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 43 (4):628-639.

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