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The Force of the VirtualDeleuze, Science, and Philosophy$
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Peter Gaffney

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780816665976

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816665976.001.0001

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Interstitial Life: Remarks on Causality and Purpose in Biology

Interstitial Life: Remarks on Causality and Purpose in Biology

(p.133) Chapter 4 Interstitial Life: Remarks on Causality and Purpose in Biology
The Force of the Virtual

Steven Shaviro

University of Minnesota Press

This chapter analyzes an issue which has long haunted biology, that of purpose. It draws on the philosophical accounts of Darwin, Kant, Ruse, Deleuze, and Whitehead. It considers the neo-Darwinist synthesis which states that genetic inheritance, when combined with occasional random mutation and the force of natural selection, is sufficient to account for biological variation. In contrast to the neo-Darwinist synthesis, the chapter also examines alternative approaches which suggest that, “the nature of selective pressures is creative and active,” rather than merely negative and eliminative. Inheritance, modified by random mutation and selection, is a necessary condition for evolutionary change—but not an altogether sufficient one. A supplemental, emergent factor is also required.

Keywords:   Deleuze, Kant, Ruse, Darwin, genetic inheritance, biological variation, neo-Darwinist synthesis

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