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Form and Transformation
Generative and Relational Principles in Biology

$58.99 (C)

  • Date Published: April 2011
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521207430

$ 58.99 (C)

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About the Authors
  • Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection focuses on inheritance and survival without attempting to explain the forms organisms take. The first part of Form and Transformation looks critically at the conceptual structure of Darwinism and describes the limitations of the theory of evolution. The authors argue that a theory of biological form is needed to understand the structure of organisms and their transformations. The second part of the book explores such a theory by portraying organisms as developing and dynamic systems, within which gene action is understandable. The authors present a number of specific examples, including tetrapod limb formation and Drosophila development, to illustrate how these dynamic organisms produce generic forms.

    • 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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    Reviews & endorsements

    "Anyone who has been puzzled by the sorts of views championed by the structuralists, ideal morphologists and rational empiricists should read Webster and Goodwin's Form and Transformation. You may not agree, but at least you will understand--and this is no small accomplishment." David L. Hull, Northwestern University

    "This book makes an important contribution to the paradigm shift." Molecular Reproduction and Development

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    Product details

    • 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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    Form and Transformation

    Gerry Webster, Brian Goodwin

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  • Authors

    Gerry Webster, University of Sussex

    Brian Goodwin, Schumacher College, Devon

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