Evolutionary Developmental Biology Offers a Significant Challenge to the Neo-Darwinian Paradigm

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

49 Scopus citations


In this paper, I note that in evaluating present-day evo-devo the question for us is not only whether evo-devo is revolutionary in some sense, but also whether sometimes a "revolutionary" position in science can actually resemble more a "counter-revolution." I argue that the relationship between evo-devo and the neo-Darwinian paradigm can be interpreted exactly like that, and that the revolutionary nature of evo-devo lies precisely in its return to a more inclusive conception of phenotypic evolution, one that more closely resembles the conceptual framework of Darwin and the first few generations of evolutionists than the more narrowly focused interpretation of the Modern Synthesis. However, I also argue that evo-devo is by no means "reactionary" as it approaches these more traditional conceptual problems with all the methodological, technological, and empirical advances of the last six decades of biological research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationContemporary Debates in Philosophy of Biology
Number of pages14
ISBN (Print)9781405159982
StatePublished - Nov 11 2009


  • "revolutionary" position in science - resembling "counter-revolution"
  • Conceptual basis of evo-devo - diverse
  • Evo-devo - challenging Neo-Darwinian Paradigm
  • Evo-devo and different temporal scales
  • Evo-devo investigating range of specific questions
  • Evo-devo representing a paradigm shift
  • Evolutionary developmental biology - challenge to Neo-Darwinian paradigm
  • Rare episodes of paradigm shifts in science - conceptual in nature
  • Theory of phenotypic evolution

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities


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