Article ID: CBB067118452

The Creativity of Natural Selection? Part II: The Synthesis and Since (2019)


This is the second of a two-part essay on the history of debates concerning the creativity of natural selection, from Darwin through the evolutionary synthesis and up to the present. In the first part, I focussed on the mid-late nineteenth century to the early twentieth, with special emphasis on early Darwinism and its critics, the self-styled “mutationists.” The second part focuses on the evolutionary synthesis and some of its critics, especially the “neutralists” and “neo-mutationists.” Like Stephen Gould, I consider the creativity of natural selection to be a key component of what has traditionally counted as “Darwinism.” I argue that the creativity of natural selection is best understood in terms of (1) selection initiating evolutionary change, and (2) selection directing evolutionary change, for example by creating the variation that it subsequently acts upon. I consider the respects in which both of these claims sound non-Darwinian, even though they have long been understood by supporters and critics alike to be virtually constitutive of Darwinism.

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Article Philippe Huneman (2019) Special Issue Editor’s Introduction: “Revisiting the Modern Synthesis”. Journal of the History of Biology (pp. 509-518). unapi

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Authors & Contributors
Hall, Brian K.
Ruse, Michael
Stott, Rebecca
Leeuwenburgh, Bart
Jones, Jeannette Eileen
Sharp, Patrick B.
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences
Journal for General Philosophy of Science
Journal of Experimental Zoology. Part B, Molecular and Developmental Evolution
Endeavour: Review of the Progress of Science
History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences
Metascience: An International Review Journal for the History, Philosophy and Social Studies of Science
W. W. Norton & Co.
Linnean Society of London
Central European University Press
University of Chicago
Natural selection
Controversies and disputes
Darwin, Charles Robert
Gulick, John Thomas
Galton, Francis
Wallace, Alfred Russel
Mendel, Gregor Johann
Meldola, Raphael
Time Periods
19th century
20th century, early
20th century
Great Britain
United States
South America
Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore, Md.)

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