This root-and-branch re-examination of Darwin’s proposal of sexual choice tackles the topic from historic, epistemological and theoretical views. Contributions from a wealth of disciplines were marshaled for this quantity, with key figures in behavioural ecology, philosophy, and the heritage of technology including to its wide-ranging relevance. Updating the reader at the debate at the moment dwell in behavioural ecology itself at the centrality of sexual choice, and with insurance of advancements within the box of animal aesthetics, the e-book info the present country of play, whereas different chapters hint the historical past of sexual choice from Darwin to at the present time and inquire into the neurobiological bases for associate offerings and the comparisons among the hedonic mind in human and non-human animals.
Welcome area is given to the social elements of sexual choice, relatively the place Darwin drew differences among keen men and coy adult females and rationalized this as evolutionary process. additionally explored are the present definition of sexual choice (as against common choice) and its significance in today’s organic study, and the upcoming critique of the speculation from the nascent box of animal aesthetics. As a accomplished evaluate of the present future health, or differently, of Darwin’s thought, one hundred forty years after the booklet of his Descent of guy, the booklet deals a uniquely rounded view that asks no matter if ‘sexual selection’ is in itself a innovative or reactionary concept, while it explores its theoretical relevance within the technical organic research of the twenty-first century.
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Extra info for Current Perspectives on Sexual Selection: What's left after Darwin? (History, Philosophy and Theory of the Life Sciences, Volume 9)
Second, I argue (what hardly needs arguing) that sexual selection is the epitome of an individual selectionist approach. Third, I conclude that while it is true that Darwin’s thinking evolved about the need for and importance of sexual selection—going from almost an afterthought to an essential explanatory component in his thinking—the mechanism itself snuggled soundly within his overall picture of evolution and thus its increased importance confirmed rather than refuted his world vision. The Descent of Man is an oddly shaped book, but conceptually it is at one with the Origin of Species.
But beyond his submission to Darwin’s priority, there were strong disagreements between the two men—and Darwin was trying his best to bridge the gap between them and have them come to an agreement. On 23 September 1868, Darwin restated the problem of their divergence between protection and sexual selection: “We differ, I think, chiefly from fixing our minds perhaps too closely on different points, on which we agree” (Marchant 1916, t. 225). Darwin tried to bring by all possible means closer agreement between him and Wallace.
Today, thanks to our knowledge of genetics, we can dig beneath the surface and ask questions simply not open to Darwin. The popular explanation, in the hymenoptera (ants, bees, and wasps) at least, involves what is known as “kin selection”—because of a peculiar breeding system (males have only mothers and so sisters are more closely related than mothers and daughters) the sterile worker is in fact doing herself more biological good by raising siblings than by raising offspring! So the altruism of the worker is selfish-gene theory in full flight (Hamilton 1964; Hughes et al.
Current Perspectives on Sexual Selection: What's left after Darwin? (History, Philosophy and Theory of the Life Sciences, Volume 9)