Toward a new philosophy of biology observations of an evolutionist. By Ernst Mayr. Cambridge MA Belknap Press of Harvard University Press. 1988. vii + 564 pp. notes references index. $35код для вставкиСкачать
BOOK REVIEWS Darwin CR (1872)The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals. London: Murray. Macculloch J (1837) Proofs and Illustrations of the Attributes of God, From the Facts and Laws of the Physical Universe: Being the Foundation of Natural and Revealed Religion. 3 vols., London. 625 Malthus TR (1826) An Essay on the Principle of Population; or, a View of its Past and Present Effects on Human Happiness; With an Inquiry Into our Present Prospects Respecting the Future Removal or Mitigation of the Evils Which it Occasions, 6th ed., ~ v o ~ sLondon: ., Murray. TOWARD A NEW PHILOSOPHY OF BIOLOGY, thoughts on these issues and tries to reclaim OBSERVATIONS OF AN EVOLUTIONIST. By Ernst Mayr. Cambridge, M A Belknap Press of Harvard University Press. 1988. vii 564 pp., notes, references, index. $35.00 (cloth). turf unwillingly surrendered to others. Because of this, some historians of science may charge Mayr with attempting to rewrite history. One theme that prevails throughout the book, and especially in the later chapters, is that the “modern synthesis” means different Toward a New Philosophy of Biology: things to different people. Mayr points out Observations of an Evolutionist is a collec- that the geneticists involved with the modern tion of 28 essays by Ernst Mayr. Most of synthesis (i.e., Fisher and Haldane) defined these are reprinted, lightly edited, or abridged evolution as “genetic change through time,” versions of papers that Mayr published rela- while the naturalists (i.e., himself, Simpson, tively recently elsewhere. Only five of the Rensch, and Huxley) saw evolution as “a essays were written for this volume. problem of adaptive change and the origin of Mayr, one of the major architects of the diversity.” According to Mayr, it was the modern evolutionary synthesis, continues the failure of these opposing groups to bridge theme he began in his earlier collection of their differences that resulted in the syntheessays, Evolution and the Diversity of Life sis being “incomplete,” rather than unsuc(Mayr, 1976). The essays in Toward a New cessful. Mayr argues that those who lament Philosophy of Biology are organized around the impending collapse of the “modern synnine motifs that range from philosophy and thesis” base their concerns on the shortcomhistory to macroevolution. They cover topics ings of the narrow Fisher-Haldane reductionthat only loosely relate to the book’s title. As ist view of evolution, which was never widely is typical for anthologies of essays written at accepted and which Mayr readily admits is different times and for different purposes, the limiting. Worse still, he alleges that most critpapers do not “hang” together very well. ics of the synthesis “. . . quite conspicuously Mayr introduces each major section and misrepresent the views of its leading spokesattempts to put the papers in context, but men” (p. 535, my emphasis), ascribing to the book would have profited from short them a n interpretation of the modern synintroductions to each article that placed each thesis that they themselves argued against. in its proper historical context and in relation Mayr notes that after the synthesis emerged to others in the book. during the 1940s,evolutionary biologists had The book offers few surprises for those the fundamental task of converting the familiar with Mayr’s work. Nevertheless, for coarse-grained theory of evolution into a physical anthropologists interested in prob- finer, more realistic one. To this end, workers lems of macroevolution, the evolutionary paid more attention to stochastic processes, synthesis, and punctuated equilibrium, five began to recognize different modes of speciaof the last six essays justify the book’s tion, and began to understand that the indimodest cost. Two of these papers are original vidual as a whole is the target of natural for this volume (23,28) and one (26) appeared selection. These discoveries led to revisions in just before the book itself. These essays the synthesis itself, not to its rejection. undoubtedly will provoke some lively discusMany readers will be surprised by some of sion among evolutionists and historians of Mayr’s statements about modifications to the science, as Mayr uses them to detail his own synthesis that followed after the 1940s.Mayr + 626 BOOK REVIEWS rejects claims that the synthesis “hardened” during the 1950s. He argues that both he and Simpson discussed mechanisms other than selection; that Rensch, he, Dobzhansky, and Simpson all adopted the concept of drift, and notes that Wright’s own views on drift narrowed considerably. This recognition of evolutionary pluralism is, in his view, ample evidence that the synthesis didn’t treat selection as the exclusive mechanism responsible for organismal evolution. In further considering post-synthesis modifications, Mayr claims t h a t his 1954 theory of “peripatric speciation” is the central idea of “punctuated equilibrium” (essays 23, 26, 28), a conclusion with which Eldredge and Gould would hardly disagree. The reader may be astounded, however, when Mayr sets 1954 as the origin for punctuated equilibrium (essay 28), while he uses 1972 (the date of the original paper in which it is proposed) as its terminal date. Furthermore, he attributes to Eldredge and Gould nothing more original t h a n the name “punctuated equilibrium” (although he does credit them with giving stasis a more significant role), while giving himself credit for most of the important aspects of the theory. Thus Mayr claims to be the first to recognize t h a t evolution must be approached taxically and, therefore, hierarchically (essay 23); the first to recognize that peripatric speciation must be the dominant way in which a new species originates (essays 23, 26, 28); the first to propose that the species is the fundamental unit of action in macroevolution (essays 23 and 28); and the first to develop a detailed model connecting speciation, evolutionary rates, and macroevolution (essay 26). Given Mayr’s claim on punctuated equilibrium, the reader won’t be surprised to learn that “. . . almost every careful analysis of fossil sequences h a s revealed that a multiplication of species does not take place through gradual splitting of single lineages into two and their subsequent divergence but rather through the sudden appearance of a new species’’ (essay 23, p. 415), or that “. . .a modest theory of punctuationism is s o strongly supported by facts . . . that one is rather surprised at the hostility with which it was attacked” (essay 26, p. 462). Advocates of punctuated equilibrium will be pleased to have Ernst Mayr in camp but may be surprised t h a t he wants to be their camp director. I n the end, Mayr minces few words. He sees himself, quite justifiably, a s a key player in the development of modern evolutionary theory, and he uses the book to stake out his claim. I n so doing, Mayr provokes, challenges, and irritates. Many will disagree with Mayr’s attempts to claim certain ideas as his own, some will be put off by the book’s conceit, and surely some will accuse Mayr of rewriting history. I n the end, historians will have to sort out fact from wishful thinking. I n the meantime, few of the original developers of the modern synthesis are still alive. There is a great deal to learn from those, like Mayr, who still are. Thanks are due to Harvard University Press for making Toward a New Philosophy of Biology available at such a reasonable price (and with such a beautiful dust jacket). At $35 we can afford to sit back in our easy chairs, a glass of wine in one hand, a pen with which to scribble marginal notes in the other, and enjoy the read. There will be plenty of time to argue later. PRIMATE ECOLOGY AND CONSERVATION. Edited by J.G. Else and P.C. Lee. New York: Cambridge University Press. 1986. x 393 pp., figures, tables, index. $19.50 (paper), $59.50 (cloth). Papers in this volume were presented at the Tenth Congress of the International Primatological Society. The dominant theme is ecology: how primates exploit it and how it affects their social systems (Parts 11-IV) and + MARCR. FELDESMAN Department of Anthropology Portland State University Portland, Oregon LITERATURE CITED Mayr E (1976) Evolution and the Diversity of Life. Cambridge, M A Harvard University Press.