Natural Selection: Domains, Levels, and Challenges

By George C. Williams | Go to book overview

Preface

I started gathering ideas and references for this book during my 1981-2 sabbatical leave as a Fellow at the Center for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford, California. I began the writing in earnest on my next sabbatical ( 1988-9) at Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario. That year I was assisted by a generous grant from the J. S. Guggenheim Foundation. I am immensely grateful to all of these institutions, and especially to the State University of New York at Stony Brook for the sabbatical leaves and other assistance without which the work would have been impossible.

I owe a great debt to many individuals. Eric L. Charnov, Mary Jane West Eberhard, and David Sloan Wilson read a preliminary draft of the manuscript and gave generously of their time and many valuable criticisms. Their efforts far exceeded normal expectations for the critical review of a colleague's writings, and the work is much improved as a result. Other valuable suggestions were offered by Series Editors Paul H. Harvey and Robert M. May. Richard A. Watson offered valuable comments on Chapters 1 and 2. David N. Reznick generously provided Fig. 7.2, and Radford Arrindell made it possible for me to photograph a specimen in his charge for Fig. 9.1. Junhyong Kim contrived the graphics routine needed for Fig. 9.2. My wife, Doris Calhoun Williams, contributed her bibliographic wizardry and helped in innumerable other ways. I am grateful to Cornell University Press and translator Margaret Talmadge May for permission to reprint part of Galen's "On the Usefulness of the Parts of the Body".

G. C.W.

New York October 1991

-vii-

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Natural Selection: Domains, Levels, and Challenges
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface vii
  • Contents ix
  • 1 - A philosophical position 3
  • 2 - The gene as a unit of selection 10
  • 3 - Clade selection and macroevolution 23
  • 4 - Levels of selection among interactors 38
  • 5 - Optimization and related concepts 56
  • 6 - Historicity and constraint 72
  • 7 - Diversity within and among populations 89
  • 8 - Some recent issues 106
  • 9 - Stasis 127
  • 10 - Other challenges and anomalies 143
  • References 154
  • Appendix: Excerpts from some classic works on adaptation 190
  • Index 203
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