On the necessity of an archetypal concept in morphology: With special reference to the concepts of “structure” and “homology” [Book Review]

Biology and Philosophy 8 (2):225-248 (1993)
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Morphological elements, or structures, are sorted into four categories depending on their level of anatomical isolation and the presence or absence of intrinsically identifying characteristics. These four categories are used to highlight the difficulties with the concept of structure and our ability to identify or define structures. The analysis is extended to the concept of homology through a discussion of the methodological and philosophical problems of the current concept of homology. It is argued that homology is fundamentally a similarity based concept rather than a phylogenetic concept, and a proposal is put forth to return to a comparative context for homology. It is shown that for both the concepts of structure and homology ana priori assumption of stable underlying patterns (i.e. archetypes) is essential.



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