Genes, Categories, and Species: The Evolutionary and Cognitive Cause of the Species Problem

Hardcover | July 17, 2001

byJody Hey

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In Genes, Categories and Species, Jody Hey provides an enlightening new solution to one of biology's most ironic and perplexing puzzles. When Darwin showed that life evolves, and that it does so by natural selection, he transformed our understanding of living things. But the very question Darwin addressed-the nature of species-continues to pose an awkward conundrum for biologists. Despite enormous efforts by a great many scholars,biologists still cannot agree on how to identify species or even how to define the word "species." Genes, Categories, and Species is not like other books on the species problem, for it does not begin by asking, "What is a species?" Instead, it focuses on the very fact that biologists are stumped by species and their curious behavior in coping with that uncertainty. Faced with a persistent conundrum-and no lack of data on the subject-biologists who ponder the species problem have ceased to ask the most essential of scientific questions: "What new information do we need to resolve the problem?" This is the question that motivates this book and leads to thediscoveries it reveals. The answer to the species problem lies not with the processes and patterns of biological diversity, Hey contends, but rather in the way the human mind perceives and categorizes that diversity. The promise of this book is twofold. First, it allows biologists to understand the causes of the species problem and to use this knowledge to avoid the major confusions that arise over species. Second, with its explanation of the species problem, it gives scholars and students of human nature ahumbling example of how ill-suited the human mind is for certain kinds of scientific questions.

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From the Publisher

In Genes, Categories and Species, Jody Hey provides an enlightening new solution to one of biology's most ironic and perplexing puzzles. When Darwin showed that life evolves, and that it does so by natural selection, he transformed our understanding of living things. But the very question Darwin addressed-the nature of species-conti...

Jody Hey is Professor of Genetics at Rutgers University, where he uses both mathematical theory and DNA sequencing to study the process of evolution. In recent years he has conducted research on the evolutionary divergence of fruit fly species and on the evolutionary origins of modern humans. This book was written while Dr. Hey was vi...
Format:HardcoverDimensions:240 pages, 5.59 × 7.99 × 0.98 inPublished:July 17, 2001Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195144775

ISBN - 13:9780195144772

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Table of Contents

1. The Species Problem2. The Mode of Life3. The Theory of LifeEnd of Part 14. Categories in the World and in the Mind5. Typological Thinking About Species6. Biological Diversity7. Recombination and Biological Species8. The Cause of the Species Problem9. The Origin of Natural KindsEnd of Part 210. Phylogeny11. Systematics12. Evolutionary Biology13. What are Species? And What are Taxa?14. What is to be Done?

Editorial Reviews

"This book links together philosophy, linguistics, and biology in an innovative fashion to arrive at a resolution of the long-standing "species question" of biology. Hey is able to frame his arguments in a style that makes what might otherwise be impenetrable, engaging. It will stimulateuseful discussion and insight into the history of science, the physics-envy of ecologists, and the ability of scientists to be truly objective. A thought-provoking and profoundly insightful work."--Choice