The Structure of Evolutionary Theory

The Structure of Evolutionary Theory

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The worlda€™s most revered and eloquent interpreter of evolutionary ideas offers here a work of explanatory force unprecedented in our timea€”a landmark publication, both for its historical sweep and for its scientific vision. With characteristic attention to detail, Stephen Jay Gould first describes the content and discusses the history and origins of the three core commitments of classical Darwinism: that natural selection works on organisms, not genes or species; that it is almost exclusively the mechanism of adaptive evolutionary change; and that these changes are incremental, not drastic. Next, he examines the three critiques that currently challenge this classic Darwinian edifice: that selection operates on multiple levels, from the gene to the group; that evolution proceeds by a variety of mechanisms, not just natural selection; and that causes operating at broader scales, including catastrophes, have figured prominently in the course of evolution. Then, in a stunning tour de force that will likely stimulate discussion and debate for decades, Gould proposes his own system for integrating these classical commitments and contemporary critiques into a new structure of evolutionary thought. In 2001 the Library of Congress named Stephen Jay Gould one of Americaa€™s eighty-three Living Legendsa€”people who embody the a€œquintessentially American ideal of individual creativity, conviction, dedication, and exuberance.a€ Each of these qualities finds full expression in this peerless work, the likes of which the scientific world has not seena€”and may not see againa€”for well over a century.At the same time, and fortuitously, my 10th and last volume of monthly es- says in Natural History Magazine, written without a single break from ... and Phylogeny, appeared exactly 25 years before, in 1977, also at the same time as my first book of Natural History essays, Ever Since Darwin. This odd and twofold simultaneous appearance, 25 years apart, of my best youthful efforts in the contrasting (but not anbsp;...

Title:The Structure of Evolutionary Theory
Author:Stephen Jay Gould
Publisher:Harvard University Press - 2002-03-21


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