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Darwinism Evolving: Systems Dynamics and the Genealogy of Natural Selection Paperback – June 3, 1996

ISBN-13: 978-0262540834 ISBN-10: 0262540835

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Product Details

  • Series: Bradford Books
  • Paperback: 608 pages
  • Publisher: A Bradford Book (June 3, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0262540835
  • ISBN-13: 978-0262540834
  • Product Dimensions: 9.8 x 7.1 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,473,062 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

This volume by Depew and Weber constitutes an academic contribution of the first rank. What the authors uncover about the past and propose for the future is revolutionary, indeed! They do not pretend to have made a watertight case for extending the Darwinian paradigm, but they certainly lay before the reader a delightful narrative of the possibilities.

(Robert Ulanowicz, Chesapeake Biological Laboratory of the University of Maryland)

About the Author

David J. Depew is Professor of Communication Studies and Rhetoric of Inquiry at the University of Iowa.

Bruce H. Weber is the Robert Woodworth Professor of Science and Natural Philosophy at Bennington College and Professor of Biochemistry at California State University at Fullerton.

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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By R. M. Williams on September 23, 2003
Format: Paperback
If i could i would rate this 6 stars. It is simply extraordinary, i am at a loss for superlatives to describe it. Thanks to both of the authors for a very pleasant and challenging week spent reading this book.
That is the bad news, it is a very hard read. More than once i wanted to get out a large sheet of paper and begin to diagram the book's information rich structure. Who studied where and with whom? what set of principles did he have? what principles did he invent or significantly modify? what ideas was he principly interested in saving, which was he fighting with? on with words like: transmutation, preformationism, aristotelian embryology etc and names like: democritus, empedocles, von Faer, kant, newton etc etc and that is just 2 paragraphs of a random page. Information dense, detailed, insightful, principled ... again i am at a loss for words.
First, this is obviously not a book for beginners into the field of evolutionary biology, or for that matter, philosophy, history or even math. It presupposes a graduate level vocabulary, and an undergrad smattering of the sciences. Even then it is a joy to discover new words and new worlds, new friends and old acquaintances in new clothing. Simply one of the best books i've read. Or more precisely, the best 3 books i've read. For it is divided into 3 parts, with the common theme the treatment of the history of Darwinian thought and the separation is roughly something like but not quite as broad as a Kuhnian paradigm revolution.
So to reflect that division, i thought of writing 3 reviews. But figured that only those with the desire to read the book would finish even one. So to them i address the rest of this review, an unabased desire to encourage you to get and read this book.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By spborden@aol.com on November 1, 1997
Format: Paperback
This overlooked book is by far the best book in science I have read in a very long time and is as important as Kuhn. I urge readers interested in the major ideas of science - from Plato to nonlinear dynamics - to buy this book. It is beautifully written, elegant in its thought, embracing of the reader, and enormously suggestive.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Bradley P. Rich on December 6, 2000
Format: Paperback
This book will certainly challenge the non-scientist. It is not an ideal introduction to evolutionary thought. However, this book is filled with interesting insights that make it worth the effort. While their core metaphor, the contention that evolutionary science has appropriated developments in the physical sciences, does not always work, their analysis of historical developments in science and the philosophy of science is inevitably thought provoking and worth the effort to grasp. If you are looking for a straight-forward explanation of developments in Darwinian evolutionary theory, I am sure that there are better places to start than this book. If you are looking for a thoughtful examination of how and why those developments happened the way that they did, this book will serve you quite well.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By johnnylogic@hotmail.com on November 24, 1998
Format: Paperback
An excellent and articulate summary/commentary of the history of natural selection. Complexity theory is covered with taste and intelligence, and not with the silliness that dominates many popular science books. Highly recommended.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Michael McBroom on January 1, 2012
Format: Paperback
I had the distinct pleasure, and honor, of taking the Philosophy of Biology class at California State University, Fullerton in which this book was the principle text. The class was taught by *both* authors, Drs. Depew and Weber. It was rigorous and mind-expanding, but extremely enlightening. This book fit well into its context and had just been released when the class was offered. When the semester was finished, I had both professors autograph my copy.

Be forewarned: Darwinism Evolving is not an easy read. It requires diligence and sheer work at understanding the concepts presented. The reader who has a good grounding in biology, evolutionary theory, mathematics, and philosophy will be most comfortable with this book. If you're a bit light in one or more of those areas, be prepared to supplement your reading with outside material so you will be able to follow the topics discussed. Darwinism Evolving's scope is epic and wide-ranging, yet still very thorough. It can be looked at as a survey on the subject, but a very in-depth one, and one conducted at the graduate level. That is, this is not the sort of book you can expect to sit down with and start with the basics. It assumes you know a good deal more than the basics already.

After finishing the class, I went on to study evolutionary theory in considerable depth, and I deeply appreciated the solid foundation Darwinism Evolving provided as I delved deeper into this complex subject. My Master's thesis was on Human Evolution and the Biological Origins of Language, which, at the time it was written, was a subject on which not much research was being conducted. It's a much hotter topic now, but back then there were just a few of us at work on the topic of language evolution.
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