Journal Article

Convergence and Parallelism in Evolution: A Neo-Gouldian Account

Trevor Pearce

in The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science

Published on behalf of British Society for the Philosophy of Science

Volume 63, issue 2, pages 429-448
Published in print June 2012 | ISSN: 0007-0882
Published online November 2011 | e-ISSN: 1464-3537 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/bjps/axr046
Convergence and Parallelism in Evolution: A Neo-Gouldian Account

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Determining whether a homoplastic trait is the result of convergence or parallelism is central to many of the most important contemporary discussions in biology and philosophy: the relation between evolution and development, the importance of constraints on variation, and the role of contingency in evolution. In this article, I show that two recent attempts to draw a black-or-white distinction between convergence and parallelism fail, albeit for different reasons. Nevertheless, I argue that we should not be afraid of gray areas: a clarified version of S. J. Gould's earlier account, based on a separation of underlying developmental mechanisms from the realized trait, still represents a useful approach.

1Introduction

2The Topological Approach

3The Screening-Off Approach

4The Neo-Gouldian Approach

5Conclusion

Journal Article.  7152 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Philosophy of Science ; Science and Mathematics

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