PSA2016: The 25th Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association

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Symposium: Evidence for the significance of developmental plasticity in evolution

Friday, 4 November 2016
13:30 - 15:30

Chastain J (6th Floor)

Chair: Ingo Brigandt, University of Alberta

Developmental plasticity is an ascendant concept in biological theory, yet hypotheses about its role in evolution remain highly controversial. The controversy is usually framed as a theoretical one about the relationship between evolution and development, or about the adequacy of the modern synthesis. But there is also an evidential puzzle at the heart of this controversy, one that is crucial to understanding and advancing the discussion about the evolutionary significance of developmental plasticity. 

Our symposium shifts the philosophical focus from theoretical questions to evidential ones. We argue that the debate about plasticity suffers from an underdetermination problem and participants need to draw on new sources of evidence in order to move the debate forward. We also propose novel ways of generating discriminatory evidence.

Developmental Plasticity and Common Cause Explanation
Carol Cleland, University of Colorado (Boulder),
What Is the Signature of Plasticity?
Karen Kovaka
Mechanisms of phenotypic robustness and plasticity: two sides of the same coin
H. Frederik Nijhout, Duke University,
Michael C. Reed , Duke University,
Cryptic genetic variation in natural populations: A predictive framework
Cris Ledon-Rettig


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