Richard Levins

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Richard "Dick" Levins is a mathematical ecologist, and political activist. He is best known for his work on evolution in changing environments.

Levins' writing and speaking is extremely condensed. This, combined with his Marxism has made his analyses less well known than those of some other ecologists and evolutionists adept at popularization. One story of his Chicago years is that graduate students had to attend Levins' courses three times: the first time to acclimate to the speed of his delivery and the difficulty of his mathematics; the second to get the basic ideas down; and the third to pick up the subtleties and profundities.

Levins also has written on philosophical issues in biology and modelling. An influential article of his is "The Strategy of Model Building in Population Biology". He has influenced a number of contemporary philosophers of biology. Levins is a Marxist, and has said that the methodology in his Evolution in Changing Environments is based on the introduction to Marx's Grundrisse, the rough draft of Das Kapital. With the evolutionary geneticist Richard Lewontin, Levins has written a number of articles on methodology, philosophy, and social implications of biology. Many of these are collected in The Dialectical Biologist. In 2007, the duo published a second thematic collection of essays titled Biology Under the Influence: Dialectical Essays on Ecology, Argriculture, and Health.

Also with Lewontin, Levins has co-authored a number of...
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