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Homology, Genes, and Evolutionary Innovation$
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Günter P. Wagner

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780691156460

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691156460.001.0001

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The Long Shadow of Metaphysics on Research Programs

The Long Shadow of Metaphysics on Research Programs

(p.229) 7 The Long Shadow of Metaphysics on Research Programs
Homology, Genes, and Evolutionary Innovation

Günter P. Wagner

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines the implications of homology as a scientifically credible concept for the metaphysics of evolutionary biology, that is, the question of whether such words as “characters” can refer to real things. It first considers the relationship between philosophy and science before discussing how the notions of class, individuals, and natural kinds relate to the conceptual proposal in this book. To introduce the idea of a class, the chapter looks at the history of the concepts of acids and bases. It then describes the notion of natural kinds and emphasizes the usefulness of definitions and models in the study of character evolution and development. It concludes by arguing that characters can be understood as natural kinds, if the latter notion is appropriately modified.

Keywords:   homology, metaphysics, evolutionary biology, characters, philosophy, science, class, individuals, natural kinds, evolution

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