Neo-rationalism versus neo-darwinism: Integrating development and evolution [Book Review]

Biology and Philosophy 7 (4):431-451 (1992)
An increasing number of biologists are expressing discontent with the prevailing theory of neo-Darwinism. In particular, the tendency of neo-Darwinians to adopt genetic determinism and atomistic notions of both genes and organisms is seen as grossly unfair to the body of developmental theory. One faction of dissenteers, the Process Structuralists, take their inspiration from the rational morphologists who preceded Darwin. These neo-rationalists argue that a mature biology must possess universal laws and that these generative laws should be sought within organismal development. Such a rational biology will only be possible once the neo-Darwinian paradigm, with its reliance on inherently stochastic processes, is overthrown.To facilitate this revolution, process structuralism launches a broad attack on the theoritical adequacy of its opponent. It is charged that neo-Darwinism is untestable and therefore its hypotheses are nothing more than adaptive stories. Further, the lamentable tendencies toward genetic determinism and atomism by modern biologists is seen as the inescapable consequences of adopting the neo-Darwinian outlook.
Keywords Darwinism  epigenetic  genetic  genotype  phenotype  rationalism
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DOI 10.1007/BF00130061
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C. H. Waddington (1941). Organisers and Genes. Philosophy of Science 8 (3):463-463.

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