Document Type

Article

Publication Date

1-1-2006

Publication Title

The American naturalist

Abstract

In this article, we consider the tension between unification and pluralism in biological theory. We begin with a consideration of historical efforts to establish a unified understanding of evolution in the neo-Darwinian synthesis. The fragmentation of the evolutionary synthesis by molecular evolution suggests the limitations of the general unificationist ideal for biology but not necessarily for integrating explanations. In the second half of this article, we defend a specific variety of pluralism that allows for the integration required for explanations of complex phenomena without unification on a large scale.

DOI

10.1086/509050

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