Darwinian Populations and Natural Selection

Paperback | February 1, 2011

byPeter Godfrey-Smith

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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 philosophywere 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 thatof 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 organismsand societies are developed. Darwinian Populations and Natural Selection will be essential reading for anyone interested in evolutionary theory.

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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 philosophywere changed forever as a result. The exact nat...

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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Format:PaperbackDimensions:224 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.01 inPublished:February 1, 2011Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199596271

ISBN - 13:9780199596270

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Table of Contents

1. Introduction and Overview2. Natural Selection and its Representation3. Variation, Selection, and Origins4. Reproduction and Individuality5. Bottlenecks, Germ Lines, and Queen Bees6. Levels and Transitions7. The Gene's Eye View8. Cultural EvolutionAppendix. Models

Editorial Reviews

"Darwinian Populations and Natural Selection will be something to be reckoned with for anybody interested in the conceptual foundations of evolutionary theory and in the applicability of Darwinian ideas beyond the strict confines of biological evolution." --Massimo Pigliucci, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews