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Dispositional Properties in Evo-Devo

Austin, Christopher J. and Nuño de la Rosa, Laura (2018) Dispositional Properties in Evo-Devo. [Preprint]

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Abstract

In identifying intrinsic molecular chance and extrinsic adaptive pressures as the only causally relevant factors in the process of evolution, the theoretical perspective of the Modern Synthesis had a major impact on the perceived tenability of an ontology of dispositional properties. However, since the late 1970s, an increasing number of evolutionary biologists have challenged the descriptive and explanatory adequacy of this “chance alone, extrinsic only” understanding of evolutionary change. Because morphological studies of homology, convergence, and teratology have revealed a space of possible forms and phylogenetic trajectories that is considerably more restricted than expected, evo-devo has focused on the causal contribution of intrinsic developmental processes to the course of evolution. Evo-devo’s investigation into the developmental structure of the modality of morphology – including both the possibility and impossibility of organismal form – has led to the utilisation of a number of dispositional concepts that emphasise the tendency of the evolutionary process to change along certain routes. In this sense, and in contrast to the perspective of the Modern Synthesis, evo-devo can be described as a “science of dispositions.” This chapter discusses the recent philosophical literature on dispositional properties in evo-devo, exploring debates about both the metaphysical and epistemological aspects of the central dispositional concepts utilised in contemporary evo-devo (e.g., variability, modularity, robustness, plasticity, and evolvability) and addressing the epistemological question of how dispositional properties challenge existing explanatory models in evolutionary biology.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Austin, Christopher J.Christopherja@gmail.com0000-0003-3283-204X
Nuño de la Rosa, Laura
Keywords: developmental constraints; dispositions; evo-devo; evolvability; modularity; robustness; teleology; variational structuralism
Subjects: General Issues > Scientific Metaphysics
Specific Sciences > Biology
Specific Sciences > Biology > Developmental Biology
Specific Sciences > Biology > Evolutionary Theory
Specific Sciences > Biology > Function/Teleology
General Issues > History of Philosophy of Science
Depositing User: Dr. Christopher J. Austin
Date Deposited: 28 May 2018 18:48
Last Modified: 28 May 2018 18:48
Item ID: 14717
Official URL: https://link.springer.com/referenceworkentry/10.10...
DOI or Unique Handle: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-33038-9_64-1
Subjects: General Issues > Scientific Metaphysics
Specific Sciences > Biology
Specific Sciences > Biology > Developmental Biology
Specific Sciences > Biology > Evolutionary Theory
Specific Sciences > Biology > Function/Teleology
General Issues > History of Philosophy of Science
Date: May 2018
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/14717

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