Darwinian Populations and Natural Selection

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OUP Oxford, Mar 26, 2009 - Philosophy - 224 pages
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In 1859 Darwin described a deceptively simple mechanism that he called "natural selection," a combination of variation, inheritance, and reproductive success. He argued that this mechanism was the key to explaining the most puzzling features of the natural world, and science and philosophy were changed forever as a result. The exact nature of the Darwinian process has been controversial ever since, however. Godfrey-Smith draws on new developments in biology, philosophy of science, and other fields to give a new analysis and extension of Darwin's idea. The central concept used is that of a "Darwinian population," a collection of things with the capacity to undergo change by natural selection. From this starting point, new analyses of the role of genes in evolution, the application of Darwinian ideas to cultural change, and "evolutionary transitions" that produce complex organisms and societies are developed. Darwinian Populations and Natural Selection will be essential reading for anyone interested in evolutionary theory
 

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Contents

1 Introduction and Overview
1
2 Natural Selection and its Representation
17
3 Variation Selection and Origins
41
4 Reproduction and Individuality
69
5 Bottlenecks Germ Lines and Queen Bees
87
6 Levels and Transitions
109
7 The Genes Eye View
129
8 Cultural Evolution
147
Models
165
Bibliography
185
Index
203
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About the author (2009)

Peter Godfrey-Smith is Professor of Philosophy at Harvard University. He is the author of Complexity and the Function of Mind in Nature (CUP, 1996) and Theory and Reality: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Science (Chicago University Press, 2003).

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