Teaching Evolutionary Developmental Biology: Concepts, Problems, and Controversy

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4 Scopus citations


Although sciences are often conceptualized in terms of theory confirmation and hypothesis testing, an equally important dimension of scientific reasoning is the structure of problems that guide inquiry. This problem structure is evident in several concepts central to evolutionary developmental biology (Evo-devo)—constraints, modularity, evolvability, and novelty. Because problems play an important role in biological practice, they should be included in biological pedagogy, especially when treating the issue of scientific controversy. A key feature of resolving controversy is synthesizing methodologies from different biological disciplines to generate empirically adequate explanations. Concentrating on problem structure illuminates this interdisciplinarity in a way that is often ignored when science is taught only from the perspective of theory or hypothesis. These philosophical considerations can assist life science educators in their continuing quest to teach biology to the next generation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationHistory, Philosophy and Theory of the Life Sciences
EditorsK Kampourakis
Place of PublicationBerlin
PublisherSpringer Science and Business Media B.V.
Number of pages19
StatePublished - 2013

Publication series

NameHistory, Philosophy and Theory of the Life Sciences
ISSN (Print)2211-1948
ISSN (Electronic)2211-1956


  • Developmental Constraint
  • Evolutionary Novelty
  • National Science Education Standard
  • Problem Agenda
  • Problem Structure


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