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West Eberhard and the notion of plasticity: Implications and consequences for an extended synthesis of evolution

Abstract : The biologist Mary Jane West-Eberhard publishes, in 2003, a book, entitled Developmental Plasticity and Evolution, in which a new synthetic approach, integrating development with evolution, is offered. For this reason, the book is seen as a piece of work in the field of Evolutionary developmental biology, commonly known as Evo Devo, whose aim is to synthesize data from both development and evolution. However, West-Eberhard's ambition is much higher in this book because she does not only focus on gathering the data from both fields, but she also wants to formalize a new synthetic theory of evolution, which includes development in its definition. She also explains that, in order to provide such a synthetic theory of evolution, she needs to offer an "inclusive definition of plasticity" in order to avoid "unnecessary distinctions at every turn" even if she assumes that such distinctions may be important for certain points. Our aim, in this article, is to explore the implications and consequences of West-Eberhard's "inclusive definition of plasticity" in such an attempt of a new synthesis of evolutionary theory, including development.
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Contributor : Antonine Nicoglou <>
Submitted on : Sunday, March 3, 2013 - 11:00:25 AM
Last modification on : Tuesday, September 22, 2020 - 3:58:33 AM
Long-term archiving on: : Tuesday, June 4, 2013 - 2:30:10 AM

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  • HAL Id : halshs-00795156, version 1

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Antonine Nicoglou. West Eberhard and the notion of plasticity: Implications and consequences for an extended synthesis of evolution. IHPST, Paris - CAPE, Kyoto philosophy of biology workshop, Nov 2012, Kyoto, Japan. pp.26-38. ⟨halshs-00795156⟩

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