Eörs Szathmáry

  • Biological Foundations and Origin of Syntax

    Biological Foundations and Origin of Syntax

    Derek Bickerton and Eörs Szathmáry

    Interdisciplinary perspectives on the evolutionary and biological roots of syntax, describing current research on syntax in fields ranging from linguistics to neurology.

    Syntax is arguably the most human-specific aspect of language. Despite the proto-linguistic capacities of some animals, syntax appears to be the last major evolutionary transition in humans that has some genetic basis. Yet what are the elements to a scenario that can explain such a transition? In this book, experts from linguistics, neurology and neurobiology, cognitive psychology, ecology and evolutionary biology, and computer modeling address this question. Unlike most previous work on the evolution of language, Biological Foundations and Origin of Syntax follows through on a growing consensus among researchers that language can be profitably separated into a number of related and interacting but largely autonomous functions, each of which may have a distinguishable evolutionary history and neurological base. The contributors argue that syntax is such a function.The book describes the current state of research on syntax in different fields, with special emphasis on areas in which the findings of particular disciplines might shed light on problems faced by other disciplines. It defines areas where consensus has been established with regard to the nature, infrastructure, and evolution of the syntax of natural languages; summarizes and evaluates contrasting approaches in areas that remain controversial; and suggests lines for future research to resolve at least some of these disputed issues.

    Contributors Andrea Baronchelli, Derek Bickerton, Dorothy V. M. Bishop, Denis Bouchard, Robert Boyd, Jens Brauer, Ted Briscoe, David Caplan, Nick Chater, Morten H. Christiansen, Terrence W.Deacon, Francesco d'Errico, Anna Fedor, Julia Fischer, Angela D. Friederici, Tom Givón, Thomas Griffiths, Balázs Gulyás, Peter Hagoort, Austin Hilliard, James R. Hurford, Péter Ittzés, Gerhard Jäger, Herbert Jäger, Edith Kaan, Simon Kirby, Natalia L. Komarova, Tatjana Nazir, Frederick Newmeyer, Kazuo Okanoya, Csaba Plèh, Peter J. Richerson, Luigi Rizzi, Wolf Singer, Mark Steedman, Luc Steels, Szabolcs Számadó, Eörs Szathmáry, Maggie Tallerman, Jochen Triesch, Stephanie Ann White

    • Hardcover $50.00 £40.00


  • The Major Transitions in Evolution Revisited

    The Major Transitions in Evolution Revisited

    Brett Calcott and Kim Sterelny

    Drawing on recent advances in evolutionary biology, prominent scholars return to the question posed in a pathbreaking book: how evolution itself evolved.

    In 1995, John Maynard Smith and Eörs Szathmáry published their influential book The Major Transitions in Evolution. The "transitions" that Maynard Smith and Szathmáry chose to describe all constituted major changes in the kinds of organisms that existed but, most important, these events also transformed the evolutionary process itself. The evolution of new levels of biological organization, such as chromosomes, cells, multicelled organisms, and complex social groups radically changed the kinds of individuals natural selection could act upon. Many of these events also produced revolutionary changes in the process of inheritance, by expanding the range and fidelity of transmission, establishing new inheritance channels, and developing more open-ended sources of variation. Maynard Smith and Szathmáry had planned a major revision of their work, but the death of Maynard Smith in 2004 prevented this. In this volume, prominent scholars (including Szathmáry himself) reconsider and extend the earlier book's themes in light of recent developments in evolutionary biology. The contributors discuss different frameworks for understanding macroevolution, prokaryote evolution (the study of which has been aided by developments in molecular biology), and the complex evolution of multicellularity.

    • Hardcover $60.00 £47.00
  • Evolution, the Extended Synthesis

    Evolution, the Extended Synthesis

    Massimo Pigliucci and Gerd B. Müller

    Prominent evolutionary biologists and philosophers of science survey recent work that expands the core theoretical framework underlying the biological sciences.

    In the six decades since the publication of Julian Huxley's Evolution: The Modern Synthesis, the spectacular empirical advances in the biological sciences have been accompanied by equally significant developments within the core theoretical framework of the discipline. As a result, evolutionary theory today includes concepts and even entire new fields that were not part of the foundational structure of the Modern Synthesis. In this volume, sixteen leading evolutionary biologists and philosophers of science survey the conceptual changes that have emerged since Huxley's landmark publication, not only in such traditional domains of evolutionary biology as quantitative genetics and paleontology but also in such new fields of research as genomics and EvoDevo.

    Most of the contributors to Evolution, the Extended Synthesis accept many of the tenets of the classical framework but want to relax some of its assumptions and introduce significant conceptual augmentations of the basic Modern Synthesis structure—just as the architects of the Modern Synthesis themselves expanded and modulated previous versions of Darwinism. This continuing revision of a theoretical edifice the foundations of which were laid in the middle of the nineteenth century—the reexamination of old ideas, proposals of new ones, and the synthesis of the most suitable—shows us how science works, and how scientists have painstakingly built a solid set of explanations for what Darwin called the “grandeur” of life.

    Contributors John Beatty, Werner Callebaut, Jeremy Draghi, Chrisantha Fernando, Sergey Gavrilets, John C. Gerhart, Eva Jablonka, David Jablonski, Marc W. Kirschner, Marion J. Lamb, Alan C. Love, Gerd B. Müller, Stuart A. Newman, John Odling-Smee, Massimo Pigliucci, Michael Purugganan, Eörs Szathmáry, Günter P. Wagner, David Sloan Wilson, Gregory A. Wray

    • Paperback $45.00 £35.00
  • Protocells


    Bridging Nonliving and Living Matter

    Steen Rasmussen, Mark A. Bedau, Liaohai Chen, David Deamer, David C. Krakauer, Norman H. Packard, and Peter F. Stadler

    The first comprehensive general resource on state-of-the-art protocell research, describing current approaches to making new forms of life from scratch in the laboratory.

    Protocells offers a comprehensive resource on current attempts to create simple forms of life from scratch in the laboratory. These minimal versions of cells, known as protocells, are entities with lifelike properties created from nonliving materials, and the book provides in-depth investigations of processes at the interface between nonliving and living matter. Chapters by experts in the field put this state-of-the-art research in the context of theory, laboratory work, and computer simulations on the components and properties of protocells. The book also provides perspectives on research in related areas and such broader societal issues as commercial applications and ethical considerations. The book covers all major scientific approaches to creating minimal life, both in the laboratory and in simulation. It emphasizes the bottom-up view of physicists, chemists, and material scientists but also includes the molecular biologists' top-down approach and the origin-of-life perspective. The capacity to engineer living technology could have an enormous socioeconomic impact and could bring both good and ill. Protocells promises to be the essential reference for research on bottom-up assembly of life and living technology for years to come. It is written to be both resource and inspiration for scientists working in this exciting and important field and a definitive text for the interested layman.

    • Hardcover $16.75 £13.99