Beyond Mechanism: Putting Life Back Into Biology
It has been said that new discoveries and developments in the human, social, and natural sciences hang “in the air” (Bowler, 1983; 2008) prior to their consummation. While neo-Darwinist biology has been powerfully served by its mechanistic metaphysic and a reductionist methodology in which living organisms are considered machines, many of the chapters in this volume place this paradigm into question. Pairing scientists and philosophers together, this volume explores what might be termed “the New Frontiers” of biology, namely contemporary areas of research that appear to call an updating, a supplementation, or a relaxation of some of the main tenets of the Modern Synthesis. Such areas of investigation include: Emergence Theory, Systems Biology, Biosemiotics, Homeostasis, Symbiogenesis, Niche Construction, the Theory of Organic Selection (also known as “the Baldwin Effect”), Self-Organization and Teleodynamics, as well as Epigenetics. Most of the chapters in this book offer critical reflections on the neo-Darwinist outlook and work to promote a novel synthesis that is open to a greater degree of inclusivity as well as to a more holistic orientation in the biological sciences.
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Section 1 Complexity Systems Theory and Emergence
Section 2 Biosemiotics
Section 3 Homeostasis Thermodynamics and Symbiogenesis
Section 4 The Baldwin Effect Behavior and Evolution
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adaptive Alfred North Alfred North Whitehead animals autocatalytic sets autogen autopoiesis Baldwin Effect behavior biologists Biosemiotics biosphere Brian Cambridge University Press causal cell chemical Chicago concept Conrad Hal Waddington constraints Darwin Darwinian Dawkins Deacon Depew Descartes Developmental DNA methylation dynamic systems Ecology edited emergence energy entities entropy environment environmental epigenesis Epigenetic Inheritance Epigenetics Ernst Mayr Evolution Evolutionary Synthesis evolving example explain external Falkner ﬂow function gene genetic genome genotype gradients Harvard University Press Hoffmeyer homeostasis human individual inﬂuence interactions Jablonka Kant Kauffman laws living systems logic machine Mayr mechanism mechanistic metaphysical methylation modern synthesis molecular molecules natural selection neo-Darwinian neo-Darwinism niche Niche Construction notion ofthe organismic Oxford University Press perspective phenomena phenotype Philosophy phosphate physical Process and Reality produce properties proteins reductionist reﬂection Science scientific self-organization semiotic soft inheritance species structure symbiogenesis teleology theory thermodynamic tion Waddington Weismann Whitehead York