Biological Emergences

Author: Robert G. B. Reid
Publisher: MIT Press
ISBN: 0262264420
Format: PDF
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Natural selection is commonly interpreted as the fundamental mechanism of evolution. Questions about how selection theory can claim to be the all-sufficient explanation of evolution often go unanswered by today's neo-Darwinists, perhaps for fear that any criticism of the evolutionary paradigm will encourage creationists and proponents of intelligent design.In Biological Emergences, Robert Reid argues that natural selection is not the cause of evolution. He writes that the causes of variations, which he refers to as natural experiments, are independent of natural selection; indeed, he suggests, natural selection may get in the way of evolution. Reid proposes an alternative theory to explain how emergent novelties are generated and under what conditions they can overcome the resistance of natural selection. He suggests that what causes innovative variation causes evolution, and that these phenomena are environmental as well as organismal.After an extended critique of selectionism, Reid constructs an emergence theory of evolution, first examining the evidence in three causal arenas of emergent evolution: symbiosis/association, evolutionary physiology/behavior, and developmental evolution. Based on this evidence of causation, he proposes some working hypotheses, examining mechanisms and processes common to all three arenas, and arrives at a theoretical framework that accounts for generative mechanisms and emergent qualities. Without selectionism, Reid argues, evolutionary innovation can more easily be integrated into a general thesis. Finally, Reid proposes a biological synthesis of rapid emergent evolutionary phases and the prolonged, dynamically stable, non-evolutionary phases imposed by natural selection.

Living in a Dangerous Climate

Author: Renée Hetherington
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 1107379334
Format: PDF, ePub
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Living in a Dangerous Climate provides a journey through human and Earth history, showing how a changing climate has affected human evolution and society. Is it possible for humanity to evolve quickly, or is slow, gradual, genetic evolution the only way we change? Why did all other Homo species go extinct while Homo sapiens became dominant? How did agriculture, domestication and the use of fossil fuels affect humanity's growing dominance? Do today's dominant societies – devoted as they are to Darwinism and 'survival of the fittest' – contribute to our current failure to meet the hazards of a dangerous climate? Unique and thought provoking, the book links scientific knowledge and perspectives of evolution, climate change and economics in a way that is accessible and exciting for the general reader. The book is also valuable for courses on climate change, human evolution and environmental science.

The SAGE Handbook of Complexity and Management

Author: Peter Allen
Publisher: SAGE
ISBN: 1446209741
Format: PDF, ePub
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The SAGE Handbook of Complexity and Management is the first substantive scholarly work to provide a map of the state of art research in the growing field emerging at the intersection of complexity science and management studies. Edited and written by internationally respected scholars from management and related disciplines, the Handbook will be the definitive reference source for understanding the implications of complexity science for management research and practice. Part One: Foundations introduces complexity science and its implications for the foundations of scientific knowledge, including management knowledge. Part Two: Applications presents the numerous ways in which complexity science models and tools, as well as complexity thinking, are being applied to management and organizational phenomena and the insights gained as a result. Part Three: Interfaces highlights how complexity science is transforming various non-management fields and, in so doing, creating exciting interfaces for bridging between management and related disciplines.

Vivarium

Author: Gerd B. Müller
Publisher: MIT Press
ISBN: 0262036703
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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The scientific achievements and forgotten legacy of a major Austrian research institute, from its founding in 1902 to its wartime destruction in 1945. The Biologische Versuchsanstalt was founded in Vienna in 1902 with the explicit goal to foster the quantification, mathematization, and theory formation of the biological sciences. Three biologists from affluent Viennese Jewish families—Hans Przibram, Wilhelm Figdor, and Leopold von Portheim–founded, financed, and nurtured the institute, overseeing its development into one of the most advanced biological research institutes of the time. And yet today its accomplishments are nearly forgotten. In 1938, the founders and other members were denied access to the institute by the Nazis and were forced into exile or deported to concentration camps. The building itself was destroyed by fire in April 1945. This book rescues the legacy of the “Vivarium” (as the Institute was often called), describing both its scientific achievements and its place in history. The book covers the Viennese sociocultural context at the time of the Vivarium's founding, and the scientific zeitgeist that shaped its investigations. It discusses the institute's departments and their research topics, and describes two examples that had scientific and international ramifications: the early work of Karl von Frisch, who in 1973 won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine; and the connection to Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York. Contributors Heiner Fangerau, Johannes Feichtinger, Georg Gaugusch, Manfred D. Laubichler, Cheryl A. Logan, Gerd B. Müller, Tania Munz, Kärin Nickelsen, Christian Reiß, Kate E. Sohasky, Heiko Stoff, Klaus Taschwer

Functions in Biological and Artificial Worlds

Author: Ulrich Krohs
Publisher: MIT Press
ISBN: 026211321X
Format: PDF, Docs
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Investigations into the relationship between organism and artifacts from the perspective of functionality. The notion of function is an integral part of thinking in both biology and technology; biological organisms and technical artifacts are both ascribed functionality. Yet the concept of function is notoriously obscure (with problematic issues regarding the normative and the descriptive nature of functions, for example) and demands philosophical clarification. So too the relationship between biological organisms and technical artifacts: although entities of one kind are often described in terms of the other--as in the machine analogy for biological organism or the evolutionary account of technological development--the parallels between the two break down at certain points. This volume takes on both issues and examines the relationship between organisms and artifacts from the perspective of functionality. Believing that the concept of function is the root of an accurate understanding of biological organisms, technical artifacts, and the relation between the two, the contributors take an integrative approach, offering philosophical analyses that embrace both biological and technical fields of function ascription. They aim at a better understanding not only of the concept of function but also of the similarities and differences between organisms and artifacts as they relate to functionality. Their ontological, epistemological, and phenomenological comparisons will clarify problems that are central to the philosophies of both biology and technology. Contributors Paul Sheldon Davies, Maarten Franssen, Wybo Houkes, Yoshinobu Kitamura, Peter Kroes, Ulrich Krohs, Tim Lewens, Andrew Light, Françoise Longy, Peter McLaughlin, Riichiro Mizoguchi, Mark Perlman, Beth Preston, Giacomo Romano, Marzia Soavi, Pieter E. Vermaas

Modularity

Author: Werner Callebaut
Publisher: MIT Press
ISBN: 9780262033268
Format: PDF, Docs
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Experts from diverse fields, including artificial life, cognitive science, economics, developmental and evolutionary biology, and the arts, discuss modularity.

Darwin s Pious Idea

Author: Conor Cunningham
Publisher: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company
ISBN:
Format: PDF
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According to British scholar Conor Cunningham, the debate today between religion and evolution has been hijacked by extremists: on one side stand fundamentalist believers who reject evolution outright; on the opposing side are fundamentalist atheists who claim that Darwin s theory rules out the possibility of God. Both sides are dead wrong, argues Cunningham, who is at once a Christian and a firm believer in the theory of evolution. In Darwin s Pious Idea Cunningham puts forth a trenchant, compelling case for both creation and evolution, drawing skillfully on an array of philosophical, theological, historical, and scientific sources to buttress his arguments.

Evolution of Communicative Flexibility

Author: D. Kimbrough Oller
Publisher: MIT Press (MA)
ISBN: 9780262151214
Format: PDF
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Experts investigate communicative flexibility (in both form and usage of signals) asthe foundation of the evolution of complex communication systems, including humanlanguage.