evolutionary theory a hierarchical perspective

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Evolutionary Theory

Author : Niles Eldredge
ISBN : 9780226426198
Genre : Science
File Size : 50. 73 MB
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The natural world is infinitely complex and hierarchically structured, with smaller units forming the components of progressively larger systems: molecules make up cells, cells comprise tissues and organs that are, in turn, parts of individual organisms, which are united into populations and integrated into yet more encompassing ecosystems. In the face of such awe-inspiring complexity, there is a need for a comprehensive, non-reductionist evolutionary theory. Having emerged at the crossroads of paleobiology, genetics, and developmental biology, the hierarchical approach to evolution provides a unifying perspective on the natural world and offers an operational framework for scientists seeking to understand the way complex biological systems work and evolve. Coedited by one of the founders of hierarchy theory and featuring a diverse and renowned group of contributors, this volume provides an integrated, comprehensive, cutting-edge introduction to the hierarchy theory of evolution. From sweeping historical reviews to philosophical pieces, theoretical essays, and strictly empirical chapters, it reveals hierarchy theory as a vibrant field of scientific enterprise that holds promise for unification across the life sciences and offers new venues of empirical and theoretical research. Stretching from molecules to the biosphere, hierarchy theory aims to provide an all-encompassing understanding of evolution and—with this first collection devoted entirely to the concept—will help make transparent the fundamental patterns that propel living systems.

Hierarchy In The Forest

Author : Christopher BOEHM
ISBN : 0674028449
Genre : Science
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Are humans by nature hierarchical or egalitarian? Hierarchy in the Forest addresses this question by examining the evolutionary origins of social and political behavior. Christopher Boehm, an anthropologist whose fieldwork has focused on the political arrangements of human and nonhuman primate groups, postulates that egalitarianism is in effect a hierarchy in which the weak combine forces to dominate the strong. The political flexibility of our species is formidable: we can be quite egalitarian, we can be quite despotic. Hierarchy in the Forest traces the roots of these contradictory traits in chimpanzee, bonobo, gorilla, and early human societies. Boehm looks at the loose group structures of hunter-gatherers, then at tribal segmentation, and finally at present-day governments to see how these conflicting tendencies are reflected. Hierarchy in the Forest claims new territory for biological anthropology and evolutionary biology by extending the domain of these sciences into a crucial aspect of human political and social behavior. This book will be a key document in the study of the evolutionary basis of genuine altruism. Table of Contents: The Question of Egalitarian Society Hierarchy and Equality Putting Down Aggressors Equality and Its Causes A Wider View of Egalitarianism The Hominoid Political Spectrum Ancestral Politics The Evolution of Egalitarian Society Paleolithic Politics and Natural Selection Ambivalence and Compromise in Human Nature References Index Reviews of this book: This well-written book, geared toward an audience with background in the behavioral and evolutionary sciences but accessible to a broad readership, raises two general questions: 'What is an egalitarian society?' and 'How have these societies evolved?'...[Christopher Boehm] takes the reader on a journey from the Arctic to the Americas, from Australia to Africa, in search of hunter-gatherer and tribal societies that emanate the egalitarian ethos--one that promotes generosity, altruism and sharing but forbids upstartism, aggression and egoism. Throughout this journey, Boehm tantalizes the reader with vivid anthropological accounts of ridicule, criticism, ostracism and even execution--prevalent tactics used by subordinates in egalitarian societies to level the social playing field...Hierarchy in the Forest is an interesting and thought-provoking book that is surely an important contribution to perspectives on human sociality and politics. --Ryan Earley, American Scientist Reviews of this book: Combing an exhaustive ethnographic survey of human societies from groups of hunter-gatherers to contemporary residents of the Balkans with a detailed analysis of the behavioral attributes of non-human primates (chimpanzees, gorillas, bonobos), Boehm focuses on whether humans are hierarchical or egalitarian by nature...[Boehm's hypotheses] are invariably intriguing and well documented...He raises topics of wide interest and his book should get attention. --Publishers Weekly Boehm has been the first to look at egalitarianism with a cold, unromantic eye. He sees it as a victory over hierarchical tendencies, which are equally marked in our species. I would predict that his insightful examination will reverberate within anthropology and the social sciences as well as among biologists interested in the evolution of social systems. --Frans de Waal, Emory University Hierarchy in the Forest is an original and stimulating contribution to thinking about the origins of egalitarianism. I personally find Boehm's ideas convincing, but whether one agrees with him or not, he has formulated his hypotheses in such a way that this book is likely to set the terms of the discussion for the forseeable future. --Barbara Smuts, University of Michigan The most unique and interesting feature of this clear, well written book is the way Boehm links the study of nonhuman primates (particularly chimpanzees) to traditional concepts of political anthropology. As a political scientist, I was intrigued by Boehm's suggestion that democracy, both ancient and modern, could be understood as the expression of the same natural dispositions that support the egalitarianism of nomadic bands and sedentary tribes. I expect that many scholars in biology, anthropology, and the social sciences would learn from this stimulating book. Even those who disagree with Boehm's arguments are likely to be provoked in instructive ways. --Larry Arnhart, Northern Illinois University Chris Boehm boldly and cogently attacks a whole orthodoxy in anthropology which sees hunter-gatherer 'egalitarianism' as somehow the basic form of human society. No praise can be too high for Boehm's brilliant and courageous book. --Robin Fox, Rutgers University

Beyond Mechanism

Author : Brian G. Henning
ISBN : 9780739174371
Genre : Philosophy
File Size : 66. 15 MB
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Pairing scientists and philosophers together, this book is an exploration of some of the new frontiers in biology (e.g., Emergence, Complex Systems, Biosemiotics, Symbiogenesis, Organic Selection, Epigenetics, Niche Construction, Teleodynamics, etc.). The chapters in this volume challenge the mechanistic metaphysic that is implicit in the reigning neo-Darwinist paradigm, point to more inclusive modes of thinking in relation to the nature of life, and contribute to the novel synthesis that is presently “in the air.”

The Evolution Of Mind

Author : Denise D. Cummins
ISBN : 0195110536
Genre : Psychology
File Size : 43. 49 MB
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Our understanding of the human mind has radically changed in recent years--from the unified mind once envisioned by Ren� Descartes over three hundred years ago to a new understanding of mind as a set of specialized cognitive components gradually accumulated in our evolutionary past. As a result, many scientists and philosophers now believe that our minds emerged out of the same type of evolutionary processes that have shaped our bodies. In The Evolution of Mind, outstanding figures on the cutting edge of evolutionary psychology follow clues provided by current neuroscientific evidence to illuminate many puzzling questions of human cognitive evolution. With contributions from psychologists, ethologists, anthropologists, and philosophers, the book offers a broad range of approaches to explore the mysteries of the minds evolution--from investigating the biological functions of human cognition to drawing comparisons between human and animal cognitive abilities. This interdisciplinary work presents a comparative and evolutionary perspective on a wide variety of topics, including mental algorithms for reasoning about contingencies, quantities, social norms, and the minds of others; social play and communicative abilities; thought and language, and the role of Darwin's theory of natural selection in evolutionary psychology. Written in a highly readable style, The Evolution of Mind will appeal to a broad range of researchers and students and help set the agenda for the field for years to come.

The Structure Of Evolutionary Theory

Author : Stephen Jay Gould
ISBN : 9780674417922
Genre : Science
File Size : 36. 13 MB
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The world’s most revered and eloquent interpreter of evolutionary ideas offers here a work of explanatory force unprecedented in our time—a landmark publication, both for its historical sweep and for its scientific vision. With characteristic attention to detail, Stephen Jay Gould first describes the content and discusses the history and origins of the three core commitments of classical Darwinism: that natural selection works on organisms, not genes or species; that it is almost exclusively the mechanism of adaptive evolutionary change; and that these changes are incremental, not drastic. Next, he examines the three critiques that currently challenge this classic Darwinian edifice: that selection operates on multiple levels, from the gene to the group; that evolution proceeds by a variety of mechanisms, not just natural selection; and that causes operating at broader scales, including catastrophes, have figured prominently in the course of evolution. Then, in a stunning tour de force that will likely stimulate discussion and debate for decades, Gould proposes his own system for integrating these classical commitments and contemporary critiques into a new structure of evolutionary thought. In 2001 the Library of Congress named Stephen Jay Gould one of America’s eighty-three Living Legends—people who embody the “quintessentially American ideal of individual creativity, conviction, dedication, and exuberance.” Each of these qualities finds full expression in this peerless work, the likes of which the scientific world has not seen—and may not see again—for well over a century.

Social Dominance

Author : Jim Sidanius
ISBN : 0521805406
Genre : Psychology
File Size : 60. 47 MB
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This book employs social dominance theory to understand social hierarchy and oppression.

The Selfish Gene

Author : Richard Dawkins
ISBN : 0192860925
Genre : Literary Criticism
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An ethologist shows man to be a gene machine whose world is one of savage competition and deceit

The Darwinian Tradition In Context

Author : Richard G. Delisle
ISBN : 9783319691237
Genre : Science
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The main goal of this book is to put the Darwinian tradition in context by raising questions such as: How should it be defined? Did it interact with other research programs? Were there any research programs that developed largely independently of the Darwinian tradition? Accordingly, the contributing authors explicitly explore the nature of the relationship between the Darwinian tradition and other research programs running in parallel. In the wake of the Synthetic Theory of Evolution, which was established throughout the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s, historians and philosophers of biology devoted considerable attention to the Darwinian tradition, i.e., linking Charles Darwin to mid-Twentieth-Century developments in evolutionary biology. Since then, more recent developments in evolutionary biology have challenged, in part or entirely, the heritage of the Darwinian tradition. Not surprisingly, this has in turn been followed by a historiographical “recalibration” on the part of historians and philosophers regarding other research programs and traditions in evolutionary biology. In order to acknowledge this shift, the papers in this book have been arranged on the basis of two main threads: Part I: A perspective that views Darwinism as either being originally pluralistic or having acquired such a pluralistic nature through modifications and borrowings over time. Part II: A perspective blurring the boundaries between non-Darwinian and Darwinian traditions, either by contending that Darwinism itself was never quite as Darwinian as previously assumed, or that non-Darwinian traditions took on board various Darwinian components, when not fertilizing Darwinism directly. Between a Darwinism reaching out to other research programs and non-Darwinian programs reaching out to Darwinism, the least that can be said is that this interweaving of intellectual threads blurs the historiographical field. This volume aims to open vital new avenues for approaching and reflecting on the development of evolutionary biology.

Punctuated Equilibrium

Author : Stephen Jay GOULD
ISBN : 9780674037847
Genre : Science
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In 1972 Stephen Jay Gould took the scientific world by storm with his paper on punctuated equilibrium. Challenging a core assumption of Darwin's theory of evolution, it launched the controversial idea that the majority of species originates in geological moments (punctuations) and persists in stasis. Now, thirty-five years later, Punctuated Equilibrium offers his only book-length testament on a theory he fiercely promoted, repeatedly refined, and tirelessly defended.

An Evolutionary Theory Of Economic Change

Author : Richard R. Nelson
ISBN : 0674041437
Genre : Business & Economics
File Size : 57. 22 MB
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This book contains the most sustained and serious attack on mainstream, neoclassical economics in more than forty years. Nelson and Winter focus their critique on the basic question of how firms and industries change overtime. They marshal significant objections to the fundamental neoclassical assumptions of profit maximization and market equilibrium, which they find ineffective in the analysis of technological innovation and the dynamics of competition among firms. To replace these assumptions, they borrow from biology the concept of natural selection to construct a precise and detailed evolutionary theory of business behavior. They grant that films are motivated by profit and engage in search for ways of improving profits, but they do not consider them to be profit maximizing. Likewise, they emphasize the tendency for the more profitable firms to drive the less profitable ones out of business, but they do not focus their analysis on hypothetical states of industry equilibrium. The results of their new paradigm and analytical framework are impressive. Not only have they been able to develop more coherent and powerful models of competitive firm dynamics under conditions of growth and technological change, but their approach is compatible with findings in psychology and other social sciences. Finally, their work has important implications for welfare economics and for government policy toward industry.

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