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Biology S First Law

Author: Daniel W. McShea
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 0226562271
Size: 34.55 MB
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Life on earth is characterized by three striking phenomena that demand explanation: adaptation—the marvelous fit between organism and environment; diversity—the great variety of organisms; and complexity—the enormous intricacy of their internal structure. Natural selection explains adaptation. But what explains diversity and complexity? Daniel W. McShea and Robert N. Brandon argue that there exists in evolution a spontaneous tendency toward increased diversity and complexity, one that acts whether natural selection is present or not. They call this tendency a biological law—the Zero-Force Evolutionary Law, or ZFEL. This law unifies the principles and data of biology under a single framework and invites a reconceptualization of the field of the same sort that Newton’s First Law brought to physics. Biology’s First Law shows how the ZFEL can be applied to the study of diversity and complexity and examines its wider implications for biology. Intended for evolutionary biologists, paleontologists, and other scientists studying complex systems, and written in a concise and engaging format that speaks to students and interdisciplinary practitioners alike, this book will also find an appreciative audience in the philosophy of science.

Peirce And Biosemiotics

Author: Vinicius Romanini
Publisher: Springer Science & Business Media
ISBN: 9400777329
Size: 56.70 MB
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This volume discusses the importance of Peirce ́s philosophy and theory of signs to the development of Biosemiotics, the science that studies the deep interrelation between meaning and life. Peirce considered semeiotic as a general logic part of a complex architectonic philosophy that includes mathematics, phenomenology and a theory of reality. The authors are Peirce scholars, biologists, philosophers and semioticians united by an interdisciplinary endeavor to understand the mysteries of the origin of life and its related phenomena such as consciousness, perception, representation and communication.

Environmental Law And Contrasting Ideas Of Nature

Author: Keith H. Hirokawa
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 1107033470
Size: 70.69 MB
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Examines how nature is constructed through law, building on the constructivist concept that 'nature' is a self-perpetuating, self-reinforcing social creation.

On The Origin Of Autonomy

Author: Bernd Rosslenbroich
Publisher: Springer Science & Business Media
ISBN: 331904141X
Size: 36.79 MB
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This volume describes features of autonomy and integrates them into the recent discussion of factors in evolution. In recent years ideas about major transitions in evolution are undergoing a revolutionary change. They include questions about the origin of evolutionary innovation, their genetic and epigenetic background, the role of the phenotype and of changes in ontogenetic pathways. In the present book, it is argued that it is likewise necessary to question the properties of these innovations and what was qualitatively generated during the macroevolutionary transitions. The author states that a recurring central aspect of macroevolutionary innovations is an increase in individual organismal autonomy whereby it is emancipated from the environment with changes in its capacity for flexibility, self-regulation and self-control of behavior. The first chapters define the concept of autonomy and examine its history and its epistemological context. Later chapters demonstrate how changes in autonomy took place during the major evolutionary transitions and investigate the generation of organs and physiological systems. They synthesize material from various disciplines including zoology, comparative physiology, morphology, molecular biology, neurobiology and ethology. It is argued that the concept is also relevant for understanding the relation of the biological evolution of man to his cultural abilities. Finally the relation of autonomy to adaptation, niche construction, phenotypic plasticity and other factors and patterns in evolution is discussed. The text has a clear perspective from the context of systems biology, arguing that the generation of biological autonomy must be interpreted within an integrative systems approach.

The Engine Of Complexity

Author: John E. Mayfield
Publisher: Columbia University Press
ISBN: 0231535287
Size: 57.20 MB
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The concepts of evolution and complexity theory have become part of the intellectual ether permeating the life sciences, the social and behavioral sciences, and, more recently, management science and economics. In this book, John E. Mayfield elegantly synthesizes core concepts from multiple disciplines to offer a new approach to understanding how evolution works and how complex organisms, structures, organizations, and social orders can and do arise based on information theory and computational science. Intended for the intellectually adventuresome, this book challenges and rewards readers with a nuanced understanding of evolution and complexity that offers consistent, durable, and coherent explanations for major aspects of our life experiences. Numerous examples throughout the book illustrate evolution and complexity formation in action and highlight the core function of computation lying at the work's heart.

Macroevolution

Author: Emanuele Serrelli
Publisher: Springer
ISBN: 3319150456
Size: 54.11 MB
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This book is divided in two parts, the first of which shows how, beyond paleontology and systematics, macroevolutionary theories apply key insights from ecology and biogeography, developmental biology, biophysics, molecular phylogenetics and even the sociocultural sciences to explain evolution in deep time. In the second part, the phenomenon of macroevolution is examined with the help of real life-history case studies on the evolution of eukaryotic sex, the formation of anatomical form and body-plans, extinction and speciation events of marine invertebrates, hominin evolution and species conservation ethics. The book brings together leading experts, who explain pivotal concepts such as Punctuated Equilibria, Stasis, Developmental Constraints, Adaptive Radiations, Habitat Tracking, Turnovers, (Mass) Extinctions, Species Sorting, Major Transitions, Trends and Hierarchies – key premises that allow macroevolutionary epistemic frameworks to transcend microevolutionary theories that focus on genetic variation, selection, migration and fitness. Along the way, the contributing authors review ongoing debates and current scientific challenges; detail new and fascinating scientific tools and techniques that allow us to cross the classic borders between disciplines; demonstrate how their theories make it possible to extend the Modern Synthesis; present guidelines on how the macroevolutionary field could be further developed; and provide a rich view of just how it was that life evolved across time and space. In short, this book is a must-read for active scholars and because the technical aspects are fully explained, it is also accessible for non-specialists. Understanding evolution requires a solid grasp of above-population phenomena. Species are real biological individuals and abiotic factors impact the future course of evolution. Beyond observation, when the explanation of macroevolution is the goal, we need both evidence and theory that enable us to explain and interpret how life evolves at the grand scale.

The Problem Of War

Author: Michael Ruse
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0190867582
Size: 27.43 MB
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Darwinian evolutionary theory is one of the brightest jewels in the crown of science, yet it has been highly controversial since its first appearance in the On the Origin of Species in 1859. Well known is the opposition of so many Christians, an opposition that shows little sign of abating today. In The Problem of War, philosopher Michael Ruse argues that the roots of the unease lie not simply (as many think) in a straight clash between science and religion, but more deeply in the fact that, while professional biologists are producing first-class science, Darwinism has always had a somewhat darker side where it functions as a secular religion, a form of humanism, directly challenging Christianity. Testing and confirming this claim, The Problem of War is an in-depth study of Christians and of Darwinians on the theme of war. It covers a wide range of thinkers: on the Christian side from Augustine to modern theologians such as Reinhold Niebuhr and Karl Barth, to the present Regius Professor of Theology at Oxford Nigel Biggar; and on the Darwinian side from Darwin himself to more modern thinkers like Konrad Lorenz, Frans de Waal, and the present Johnstone Family Professor in the Department of Psychology at Harvard, Steven Pinker. Ruse shows that the dynamic between Darwinians and Christians has not been a straightforward opposition, and complicates as it moves through the 20th century, as some Christian thinkers start to favor the inevitability of war and Darwinians acknowledge the idea of moral progress. Ruse shows how in some cases, some were even able to integrate Darwinian and Christian perspectives on war. Best categorized as intellectual history, The Problem of War is a narrative, using a wide and deep breadth of knowledge and references to reveal nuances in how war as a core function of human nature has been understood. By appreciating the religious nature of the dispute, Ruse helps to foster a better understanding of the ongoing criticisms of Darwinism and creates a way for differing Christian and Darwinian perspectives to indeed find common meeting ground.

The Oxford Handbook Of Atheism

Author: Stephen Bullivant
Publisher: OUP Oxford
ISBN: 0191667404
Size: 38.82 MB
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Recent books by, among others, Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, and Christopher Hitchens have thrust atheism firmly into the popular, media, and academic spotlight. This so-called New Atheism is arguably the most striking development in western socio-religious culture of the past decade or more. As such, it has spurred fertile (and often heated) discussions both within, and between, a diverse range of disciplines. Yet atheism, and the New Atheism, are by no means co-extensive. Interesting though it indeed is, the New Atheism is a single, historically and culturally specific manifestation of positive atheism (the that there is/are no God/s), which is itself but one form of a far deeper, broader, and more significant global phenomenon. The Oxford Handbook of Atheism is a pioneering edited volume, exploring atheism—understood in the broad sense of 'an absence of belief in the existence of a God or gods'—in all the richness and diversity of its historical and contemporary expressions. Bringing together an international team of established and emerging scholars, it probes the varied manifestations and implications of unbelief from an array of disciplinary perspectives (philosophy, history, sociology, anthropology, demography, psychology, natural sciences, gender and sexuality studies, literary criticism, film studies, musicology) and in a range of global contexts (Western Europe, North America, post-communist Europe, the Islamic world, Japan, India). Both surveying and synthesizing previous work, and presenting the major fruits of innovative recent research, the handbook is set to be a landmark text for the study of atheism.

Complex Ecology

Author: Bernard C. Patten
Publisher:
ISBN:
Size: 50.50 MB
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For systems ecologists, modelers, environmental engineers, and theoretical ecologists who are interested in mathematics applied to ecology. An advanced and up-to-date treatment of ecological complexity, emphasizing the need for holistic systems approaches. The book provides a compendium of technically oriented systems approaches to complexity at all levels of ecological organization, presenting microscopic and macroscopic views, descriptions of modeling approaches, feedback and stability, and network approaches to trophic dynamics and optimality issues.

Eine Kurze Geschichte Der Menschheit

Author: Yuval Noah Harari
Publisher: DVA
ISBN: 364110498X
Size: 54.48 MB
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Krone der Schöpfung? Vor 100 000 Jahren war der Homo sapiens noch ein unbedeutendes Tier, das unauffällig in einem abgelegenen Winkel des afrikanischen Kontinents lebte. Unsere Vorfahren teilten sich den Planeten mit mindestens fünf weiteren menschlichen Spezies, und die Rolle, die sie im Ökosystem spielten, war nicht größer als die von Gorillas, Libellen oder Quallen. Vor 70 000 Jahren dann vollzog sich ein mysteriöser und rascher Wandel mit dem Homo sapiens, und es war vor allem die Beschaffenheit seines Gehirns, die ihn zum Herren des Planeten und zum Schrecken des Ökosystems werden ließ. Bis heute hat sich diese Vorherrschaft stetig zugespitzt: Der Mensch hat die Fähigkeit zu schöpferischem und zu zerstörerischem Handeln wie kein anderes Lebewesen. Anschaulich, unterhaltsam und stellenweise hochkomisch zeichnet Yuval Harari die Geschichte des Menschen nach und zeigt alle großen, aber auch alle ambivalenten Momente unserer Menschwerdung.