A metafísica da evolução

sábado, agosto 26, 2017

The metaphysics of evolution

John Dupré

Published 18 August 2017.DOI: 10.1098/rsfs.2016.0148

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This paper briefly describes process metaphysics, and argues that it is better suited for describing life than the more standard thing, or substance, metaphysics. It then explores the implications of process metaphysics for conceptualizing evolution. After explaining what it is for an organism to be a process, the paper takes up the Hull/Ghiselin thesis of species as individuals and explores the conditions under which a species or lineage could constitute an individual process. It is argued that only sexual species satisfy these conditions, and that within sexual species the degree of organization varies. This, in turn, has important implications for species' evolvability. One important moral is that evolution will work differently in different biological domains.

Competing interests

I declare I have no competing interests.


The research leading to this article has received funding from the European Research Council under the European Union's Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013)/ERC Grant Agreement 324186.


I am very grateful to Stephan Guttinger, Anne Sophie Meincke, and Dan Nicholson, and also members of the Egenis Biological Interest Group, for extensive discussion and comments on an earlier draft. I am also grateful for written comments to Carl Craver and two anonymous referees.

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