Conceptual Change in Biology: Scientific and Philosophical by Alan C. Love

By Alan C. Love

This quantity explores questions about conceptual switch from either clinical and philosophical viewpoints by means of examining the hot background of evolutionary developmental biology. It positive factors revised papers that originated from the workshop "Conceptual swap in organic technological know-how: Evolutionary Developmental Biology, 1981-2011" held on the Max Planck Institute for the historical past of technological know-how in Berlin in July 2010.

In those papers, philosophers and biologists evaluate and distinction key innovations in evolutionary developmental biology and their improvement because the unique, seminal Dahlem convention on evolution and improvement held in Berlin in 1981. a few of the unique medical contributors from the 1981 convention also are members to this new quantity and, together with different professional biologists and philosophers specializing on those subject matters, offer an authoritative, finished view at the subject.

Taken jointly, the papers provide novel views on how and why the conceptual panorama has shifted and stabilized particularly methods, yielding insights into the dynamic epistemic adjustments that experience happened over the last 3 many years. This quantity will entice philosophers of biology learning conceptual swap, evolutionary developmental biologists considering comprehending the genesis in their box and comparing its destiny instructions, and historians of biology analyzing this era whilst the intersection of evolution and improvement rose back to prominence in organic science.

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Extra info for Conceptual Change in Biology: Scientific and Philosophical Perspectives on Evolution and Development

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Developmental or biological homology fit with the need for a developmental explanation of evolutionary change in characters, which meant a rejection of the transformational homology concept as appropriate for Evo-devo’s explanatory agenda. This framed a restructured definition of novelty that pulled it away from functional and ecological considerations. All of this was stimulated by changes in systematics, where the cladistic revolution had transformed how phylogenetic trees were built. But a phylogenetic definition of novelty (autapomorphy), closely related to the phylogenetic definition of homology (synapomorphy) was insufficient for the task—explaining the discontinuity in ontogeny (within organisms) that governs the discontinuity in phylogeny (across organisms/species).

Many have argued explicitly that the process of conceptual change in science is directly analogous to conceptual change in developing children (Carey 2009). , classrooms) or whether children harbor “framework theories” that impart meaning to concepts. The stakes are high as results can affect educational policy directly or indirectly. For Evo-devo, educational conceptual change is significant for understanding how individuals comprehend both development and evolution through science education. Some have argued that Evo-devo offers a more conducive route for students to understand how evolution works (Carroll 2005) or provides more perspicuous evidence for evolutionary change unavailable from other areas of biology (Gilbert 2003).

Others, starting with a view of concepts as representational structure or “frames,” stress that some kinds of conceptual change, such as reclassification, are more epistemologically significant than other kinds, such as adding instances under a concept (Thagard 1992, 1999). Another approach links conceptual use to scientific goals and tracks change in light of adjustments in these goals over time, whether in response to theorizing or new data (Brigandt 2010). The present volume does not evaluate these types of accounts of how concepts change, but they should be kept in mind as patterns of conceptual change are dissected and analyzed in Evo-devo and other related biological disciplines throughout the contributions.

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