A brief work; an introduction to ideas and to 47 different authors of 52 papers, each 1-6 pp in length. The book has an extensive index and lots of references.(1) Probably of most interest to those who fish in theoretical waters.
K&L open on p. 5 with a bit of forgiveness that I could have used for the past 25 yrs. "...Evolutionary biology is a field in which theoretical and conceptual development is ongoing - as, indeed, the relative instability of the meaning of so many of its key terms attests.... a relative looseness in terminology may be correspondingly essential to the maintenance and fostering of speculative multiplicity." LOVE that phrase, "speculative multiplicity"!
The essays are specific and short (52 of them in 340 pages, excluding Refs & Index), the entire book could have been a series of postings on the Net. There are threads of history (such as that of the word, "gene") woven through the essays. Indeed, history is one reason that little agreement exists on definitions of terms such as gene, character, evolution, fitness, altruism, and many other bits of intellectual coin. "Genetic Load," for example, is a liability rather than an asset and comes in 11 different forms of "load." There are total, hidden, expressed, balanced, segregation, incompatibility, recombination, meiotic drive, dysmetric, drift, and substitution loads!
Most of the terms don't have quite so much diversity; still, the point is made well that most of them were adopted from common language and have been used differently by different writers. Some of the variety may be due to more information being available at ever higher levels of resolution or of more obsessive minds discovering it. It's tempting to see this as a Darwinian expression of "competition driving diversity" in a manner similar to that Dawkins has described for cultural ideas, a.k.a. "memes."
Some of the diversity is also a conflict between the events (at whatever level of analysis) and language. There is no "one event = one utterance"; events appear to blend from one to another in log functions. There is no corresponding blending of adjectives, adverbs, or nouns.
In addition, the further we are from a particular level of analysis, the sharper it appears. As we close in or drop levels of explanation, the more probabilistic things become and the more we have to specify related conditions. I shouldn't be surprised; still my academic roots encouraged precision of terms (thanks to Bridgeman and others who gave us operational definitions) and physics, biology, and chemistry seemed exemplars to us fuzzy thinkers in psychology.(2) Heisenberg seemed to apply most to the subatomic worlds. Not so.
1) Keller E & Lloyd E (Eds) 1992, Keywords in Evolutionary Biology, Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ Press.
2) Herbert Barry III was a psychologist at Pitt who did his research in the School of Pharmacy. Herb optimized his strategy for giving talks. To pharmacists he opened, "I am using a few, well understood principles of behavior to study subtle, complex drug interactions." To psychologists it was, "I am using some well understood drugs to dissect complex, subtle psychological events."