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New & Forthcoming Titles | Evolutionary Biology – New Perspectives on its Development

Evolutionary Biology – New Perspectives on Its Development

Evolutionary Biology – New Perspectives on Its Development

Series Ed.: Delisle, Richard G.

ISSN: 2524-7751

The Major Metaphors of Evolution

Authors: Salvatore J. Agosta, Center for Environmental Studies and Department of Biology, Virginia Commonwealth University, USA
Daniel R. Brooks, School of Biological Sciences, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, USA
If we had unlimited time, the next general framework for biological evolution would emerge from the academic wars of attrition that have characterized western science. This is not possible. Climate change events emerging at an accelerating pace pose an existential crisis for humanity. Evolution is the unifying principle of life, and a better-unified evolutionary framework should help identify novel ways in which evolutionary principles can be applied to help humanity survive. For such discussions to be effective, we need cooperation. When do we agree but use different words or images; when do we disagree, and how can we resolve those disagreements productively? When are we saying something new, when are we saying something old but in a way that gives new vitality to older ideas? We propose a framework based on three dualistic classes of metaphors – time, space, and conflict resolution - to help cooperation. Evolutionary transitions theory shows how the metaphors can help understand the selective diversification of life that Darwin recognized with his metaphor of the Tree of Life. The recently proposed Stockholm Paradigm shows how the metaphors can help understand the emergence of complex ecosystems that Darwin recognized with his metaphor of the Tangled Bank. Taken together, these ideas suggest proactive measures for coping with climate change.

Charles Darwin's Incomplete Revolution: The Origin of Species and the Static Worldview

Author: Richard G. Delisle, Department of Philosophy and School of Liberal Education, University of Lethbridge, Canada
For the large public, Charles Darwin's Origin of Species represents the work that alone gave rise to evolutionism. Of course, scholars today know better than that. Yet, few resist the temptation of turning to the Origin in order to support it or reject it in light of their own work. Apparently, Darwin fills the mythical role of a founding figure that must either be invoked or revoked. This book offers a thorough reanalysis of Darwin's magnum opus, being an invitation to move beyond what is currently expected of it. Once the rhetorical varnish of Darwin's discourses is removed, one discovers a work of remarkably indecisive conclusions. This will be highlighted with two main theses: (1) The Origin of Species never remotely achieved the theoretical unity to which it is often credited. Rather, Darwin was overwhelmed by a host of phenonema that could not fit into his narrow conceptual framework. (2) In the Origin of Species, Darwin failed at completing the full conversion to evolutionism. Carrying many ill-designed intellectual tools of the 17th and 18th centuries, Darwin merely promoted a special brand of evolutionism, one that prevented him from taking the decisive steps toward a full and truly open evolutionism. Darwin uncomfortably sat between two conceptions of the world (the static and the evolutionary), two epistemologies employed to tackle them, and two scientific revolutions (the Scientific Revolution and the Transformist Revolution). What exactly the so-called "Darwinian Revolution" is all about has never been more uncertain.

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