Are we going toward an Extended Evolutionary Synthesis?

Friday seminar by Massimo Pigliucci



Modern evolutionary biology began with the publication of Charles Darwin’s Origin of Species in 1859. Since then, two major reassessments of the theory have taken place: the neo-Darwinian turn at the end of the 19th century (which definitely excluded Lamarckism), and the Modern Synthesis of the 1930s and ‘40s (which reconciled Mendelism, statistical genetics and Darwinism). For years now scholars have been hinting at the necessity of a new Extended Synthesis, building on the conceptual framework laid out during the middle of the 20th century while incorporating new empirical findings and theoretical advances that have occurred since. In this talk I sketch how an Extended Synthesis is beginning to shape, with contributions from fields such as evo-devo, genomics, ecology and complexity theory, and with the incorporation of new concepts like phenotypic plasticity, modularity and evolvability. This makes for much intellectual excitement, not to mention some elementary observation on the sociology and psychology of science.

Prof. Massimo Pigliucci is a philosopher at the City University of New York.


PS: Massimo Pigliucci will be giving an open lecture at Litteraturhuset later the same day.

Published Feb. 3, 2012 3:48 PM - Last modified Feb. 3, 2012 3:48 PM