The Structure of Evolutionary Theory

The Structure of Evolutionary Theory

The world's most revered and eloquent interpreter of evolutionary ideas offers here a work of explanatory force unprecedented in our time--a landmark publication, both for its historical sweep and for its scientific vision.

With characteristic attention to detail, Stephen Jay Gould first describes the content and discusses the history and origins of the three core commitments of classical Darwinism: that natural selection works on organisms, not genes or species; that it is almost exclusively the mechanism of adaptive evolutionary change; and that these changes are incremental, not drastic. Next, he examines the three critiques that currently challenge this classic Darwinian edifice: that selection operates on multiple levels, from the gene to the group; that evolution proceeds by a variety of mechanisms, not just natural selection; and that causes operating at broader scales, including catastrophes, have figured prominently in the course of evolution.

Then, in a stunning tour de force that will likely stimulate discussion and debate for decades, Gould proposes his own system for integrating these classical commitments and contemporary critiques into a new structure of evolutionary thought.

In 2001 the Library of Congress named Stephen Jay Gould one of America's eighty-three Living Legends--people who embody the "quintessentially American ideal of individual creativity, conviction, dedication, and exuberance." Each of these qualities finds full expression in this peerless work, the likes of which the scientific world has not seen--and may not see again--for well over a century.

Title:The Structure of Evolutionary Theory
Edition Language:English
ISBN:9780674006133
Format Type:

    The Structure of Evolutionary Theory Reviews

  • Erik

    I would love to clock Richard Dawkins on the side of the head with this book....

  • Elliott Bignell

    I was a great fan of Gould's monthly essays, having the whole set of collected volumes and long marvelling at his general erudition and graceful writing. For this reason, I find it greatly frustrating...

  • Tony duncan

    page 815 He has made his case explaining the development of Punctuated Equilibrium, and why it is a valid theory and how the arguments agaisnt it either have not properly understood the theory or have...

  • Dinesh Viruvanti

    After a contemplation of reading this book 6 yrs back, I could finally complete reading it now over a span of 2 months. With an agenda of restructuring the Darwinian logic of evolution, (while diploma...

  • Brian

    I finally finished this book, which certainly gives a feeling of accomplishment. It is very carefully argued, and one of the best things about it, at least to this layman, is that Gould gives a reason...

  • Mark Longo

    Dear god. I spent literally a year reading this tome - 1350 pages of tiny font, big ideas, and beautiful prose. At times torturous, at times rapturous, but always eloquent and deeply insightful, this ...

  • Fred Kohn

    Let me say up front that despite my five star rating, I found this book a colossal pain in the a$$ to read. That is not the fault of the book but rather my expectations of what I would find in the boo...

  • Dan

    This is a triumph.Gould lays out some of the history of evolutionary theory and the theory's own evolution, clearly sorting out the elements. Then he supplements and complements more recent advances i...

  • William Schram

    Don't get me wrong, this book is pretty good, but I couldn't finish it in time and I don't feel like taking it out again. I have tried to read it, but now I just can't get into the whole story that is...

  • Theodore Wilson

    Just starting this one makes you smarter. My reference for anyone who claims that evolution isn't supported. Stephen Jay Gould first summarizes all previous thought on evolution takes it apart and put...