The Fate of the Method of ‘Paradigms’ in Paleobiology

Journal of the History of Biology 51 (3):479-533 (2018)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

An earlier article described the mid-twentieth century origins of the method of “paradigms” in paleobiology, as a way of making testable hypotheses about the functional morphology of extinct organisms. The present article describes the use of “paradigms” through the 1970s and, briefly, to the end of the century. After I had proposed the paradigm method to help interpret the ecological history of brachiopods, my students developed it in relation to that and other invertebrate phyla, notably in Euan Clarkson’s analysis of vision in trilobites. David Raup’s computer-aided “theoretical morphology” was then combined with my functional or adaptive emphasis, in Adolf Seilacher’s tripartite “constructional morphology.” Stephen Jay Gould, who had strongly endorsed the method, later switched to criticizing the “adaptationist program” he claimed it embodied. Although the explicit use of paradigms in paleobiology had declined by the end of the century, the method was tacitly subsumed into functional morphology as “biomechanics.”

Links

PhilArchive



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 76,199

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

Wittgenstein the Morphologist I.Kristijan Krkač & Josip Lukin - 2008 - Synthesis Philosophica 23 (2):427-438.
Implementing Generalized Empirical Method in Neuroscience by Functionally Ordering Tasks.Robert Henman - 2016 - Dialogues in Philosophy, Mental and Neuro Sciences 9 (1):10-21.
On the Chinese Origin of the Galley Method of Arithmetical Division.Lam Lay-Yong - 1966 - British Journal for the History of Science 3 (1):66-69.

Analytics

Added to PP
2017-11-02

Downloads
17 (#640,951)

6 months
1 (#448,894)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Citations of this work

Add more citations

References found in this work

The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.Thomas S. Kuhn - 1962 - University of Chicago Press.
The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.Thomas Samuel Kuhn - 1962 - Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Form and Function: A Contribution to the History of Animal Morphology.E. S. Russell - 1916 - Journal of the History of Biology 17 (1):151-151.
The inference of function from structure in fossils.M. J. S. Rudwick - 1964 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 15 (57):27-40.

View all 9 references / Add more references