DO WE NEED AN EXTENDED EVOLUTIONARY SYNTHESIS?
Article first published online: 15 SEP 2007
2007 The Author(s). Journal compilation © 2007 The Society for the Study of Evolution
Volume 61, Issue 12, pages 2743–2749, December 2007
How to Cite
Pigliucci, M. (2007), DO WE NEED AN EXTENDED EVOLUTIONARY SYNTHESIS?. Evolution, 61: 2743–2749. doi: 10.1111/j.1558-5646.2007.00246.x
- Issue published online: 10 OCT 2007
- Article first published online: 15 SEP 2007
- Received August 15, 2007Accepted August 16, 2007
- Epigenetic inheritance;
- evolutionary novelties;
- extended evolutionary synthesis;
- Modern Synthesis;
- paradigm shift;
- phenotypic plasticity
The Modern Synthesis (MS) is the current paradigm in evolutionary biology. It was actually built by expanding on the conceptual foundations laid out by its predecessors, Darwinism and neo-Darwinism. For sometime now there has been talk of a new Extended Evolutionary Synthesis (EES), and this article begins to outline why we may need such an extension, and how it may come about. As philosopher Karl Popper has noticed, the current evolutionary theory is a theory of genes, and we still lack a theory of forms. The field began, in fact, as a theory of forms in Darwin's days, and the major goal that an EES will aim for is a unification of our theories of genes and of forms. This may be achieved through an organic grafting of novel concepts onto the foundational structure of the MS, particularly evolvability, phenotypic plasticity, epigenetic inheritance, complexity theory, and the theory of evolution in highly dimensional adaptive landscapes.