Developmental Systems Theory Formulated as a Claim about Inherited Representations

Philosophy of Science 78 (1):60-82 (2011)
Developmental Systems Theory (DST) emphasises the importance of non-genetic factors in development and their relevance to evolution. A common, deflationary reaction is that it has long been appreciated that non-genetic factors are causally indispensable. This paper argues that DST can be reformulated to make a more substantive claim: that the special role played by genes is also played by some (but not all) non-genetic resources. That special role is to transmit inherited representations, in the sense of Shea (2007: Biology and Philosophy, 22, 313-331). Formulating DST as the claim that there are non-genetic inherited representations turns it into a striking, empirically-testable hypothesis, driving the sort of investigations that are only now beginning to appear in the scientific literature. DST’s characteristic rejection of a gene vs. environment dichotomy is preserved, but without dissolving all potentially explanatory distinctions into an interactionist causal soup, as some have alleged
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1086/658110
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 24,470
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

View all 10 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
Nicholas Shea (2012). Inherited Representations Are Read in Development. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 64 (1):1-31.
Nicholas Shea (2013). Inherited Representations Are Read in Development. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 64 (1):1-31.
Ulrich E. Stegmann (2012). Varieties of Parity. Biology and Philosophy 27 (6):903-918.

View all 7 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

55 ( #88,810 of 1,925,583 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

10 ( #87,899 of 1,925,583 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.