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

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Increasing Complexity in Explanations of Macroevolutionary Stasis

Adrian Currie (2014) has argued that in historical science, progress often occurs as scientists move from relatively simple explanatory models to more complex ones. This paper surveys some of the recent history of efforts to explain macroevolutionary stasis and finds that Currieā€™s thesis holds up in this context. But increasing complexity is only part of the story. Progress has been achieved in part by moving beyond the polarizing debate about punctuated equilibria (PE) that inspired the research on stasis in the first place. Paleobiology's flagship theory has become a victim of its own fruitfulness.

Author Information:

Derek Turner    
Philosophy
Connecticut College

 

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