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The Organism in Evolutionary Explanation: From Early 20th Century to the Extended Evolutionary Synthesis

Baedke, Jan and Fábregas-Tejeda, Alejandro (2023) The Organism in Evolutionary Explanation: From Early 20th Century to the Extended Evolutionary Synthesis. [Preprint]

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Abstract

In recent years there have been a number of calls for integrating developmental and organismal phenomena into evolutionary theory. This so-called Extended Evolutionary Synthesis (EES) argues that evolutionary theory should not primarily explain certain evolutionary phenomena by highlighting genes and populations but organisms instead, in particular how their development and behavior biases and drives evolutionary change. Here, we offer a new historiography that focuses less on the differences between the EES and the Modern Synthesis, but seeks to provide a better understanding about which theoretical and explanatory traditions the organism-centered framework of the EES draws on. This concerns especially three currently resurfacing explanatory roles granted to organisms in evolution: organisms should allow (1) contextualizing parts in development, especially genes, (2) focusing on reciprocal organism-environment relations (in contrast to, e.g., gene-environment interactions), and (3) understand the role of agency in evolution. Through this analysis, we show that the EES advances a revival of older explanatory roles granted to the organism in evolutionary research, which became marginalized in the second half of the 20th century. This new perspective helps to re-center contemporary theoretical debates towards relevant questions of explanatory standards in evolutionary biology.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Baedke, Janjan.baedke@rub.de
Fábregas-Tejeda, Alejandro
Keywords: Organism; Modern Synthesis; Organicism; Extended Evolutionary Synthesis; Explanation; Explanatory standards
Subjects: General Issues > History of Philosophy of Science
Depositing User: Jan Baedke
Date Deposited: 26 Nov 2022 23:01
Last Modified: 26 Nov 2022 23:01
Item ID: 21476
Subjects: General Issues > History of Philosophy of Science
Date: 2023
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/21476

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