John O. Reiss

in Not by Design

Published by University of California Press

Published in print October 2009 | ISBN: 9780520258938
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520944404 | DOI:

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Darwin's preconceptions about adaptedness, combined with his focus on environmentally driven evolution, produced the theory of natural selection as a fundamentally teleological theory, which in turn has contributed many controversies in evolutionary biology. This book deals with the problem of teleology, arguing that Cuvier's principle of the conditions for existence can help resolve persistent issues in evolutionary biology. This conclusion summarizes the reasons why we need to “retire Darwin's watchmaker” to achieve a more balanced structure for evolutionary biology. It argues that by doing this, we can be free to pursue the study of evolution under the dual view of mechanisms which generate variation and the conditions for the continued existence of that variation.

Keywords: adaptedness; evolution; natural selection; teleological theory; evolutionary biology; teleology; conditions for existence; variation

Chapter.  1045 words. 

Subjects: Evolutionary Biology

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