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Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection fails to explain the forms of organisms because it focuses on inheritance and survival, not on how organisms are generated. The first part of this 2007 book (by Gerry Webster) looks critically of the conceptual structure of Darwinism and describes the limitation of the theory of evolution as a comprehensive biological theory, arguing that a theory of biological form is needed to understand the structure of organisms and their transformations as revealed in taxonomy. The second part of the book (by Brian Goodwin) explores such a theory in terms of organisms as developing and transforming dynamic systems, within which gene action is to be understood. A number of specific examples, including tetrapod limb formation and Drosophila development, are used to illustrate how these hierarchically-organized dynamic fields undergo robust symmetry-breaking cascades to produce generic forms.Read more
- Argues that there is more to an understanding of the shape and structure of living things than is explained by Darwinian selection and the action of genes
- Shows that Darwinism is not a complete description of the working of an organism and that a theory of form is also required to complete the picture
- Gerry Webster describes the philosophical basis for this view, and Brian Goodwin presents the scientific evidence
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- Date Published: April 2011
- format: Paperback
- isbn: 9780521207430
- length: 302 pages
- dimensions: 229 x 152 x 16 mm
- weight: 0.41kg
- availability: Available
Table of Contents
Part I. The Problem of Form:
1. Introduction: forms and kinds
2. The old dialectic: empirical classification and Darwinian theory
3. The ontological status of Taxa: material practice
4. The ontological status of Taxa: theoretical practice
5. Rational systematics and morphogenetic theory: a new dialectic?
6. Putting the organism together again
Part II. Fields and Forms:
7. Segments, symmetries, and epigenetic maps
8. The unitary morphogenetic field
9. A generative biology
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