Toward a New Philosophy of Biology

Observations of an Evolutionist

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Author: Ernst Mayr

Publisher: Harvard University Press

ISBN: 9780674896666

Category: Science

Page: 564

View: 5096

Provides a philosophical analysis of such biological concepts as natural selection, adaptation, speciation, and evolution

Everything Flows

Towards a Processual Philosophy of Biology

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Author: Daniel J. Nicholson,John Dupré

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0198779631

Category: Philosophy

Page: 416

View: 4698

This is an open access title available under the terms of a CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 International licence. It is free to read at Oxford Scholarship Online and offered as a free PDF download from OUP and selected open access locations. There are two very general ways in which we can think about the world. The more traditional one is that it is fundamentally composed of enduring things, and that any changes we observe are really secondary. The moreradical alternative is that the world essentially consists of processes, and that the things we discern are only static snapshots of an ever-changing reality. This book defends this latter view in thespecific context of the living world. It argues that biology is the study of the processes that constitute living beings, and that all the things biologists study ultimately derive their existence from more basic processes. The eighteen essays in this volume consider the philosophical and scientific consequences of thinking about life in processual terms.

What Makes Biology Unique?

Considerations on the Autonomy of a Scientific Discipline

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Author: Ernst Mayr,Alexander Agassiz Professor of Zoology (Emeritus) Museum of Comparative Zoology Ernst Mayr

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

ISBN: 9780521700344

Category: Science

Page: 232

View: 2381

This book, a collection of essays written by the most eminent evolutionary biologist of the twentieth century, explores biology as an autonomous science, offers insights on the history of evolutionary thought, critiques the contributions of philosophy to the science of biology, and comments on several of the major ongoing issues in evolutionary theory. Notably, Mayr explains that Darwin's theory of evolution is actually five separate theories, each with its own history, trajectory and impact. Natural selection is a separate idea from common descent, and from geographic speciation, and so on. A number of the perennial Darwinian controversies may well have been caused by the confounding of the five separate theories into a single composite. Those interested in evolutionary theory, or the philosophy and history of science will find useful ideas in this book, which should appeal to virtually anyone with a broad curiosity about biology.

Evolution, Explanation, Ethics and Aesthetics

Towards a Philosophy of Biology

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Author: Francisco J. Ayala

Publisher: Academic Press

ISBN: 0128037318

Category: Science

Page: 420

View: 9051

Evolution, Explanation, Ethics and Aesthetics: Towards a Philosophy of Biology focuses on the dominant biological topic of evolution. It deals with the prevailing philosophical themes of how to explain the adaptation of organisms, the interplay of chance and necessity, and the recurrent topics of emergence, reductionism, and progress. In addition, the extensively treated topic of how to explain human nature as a result of natural processes and the encompassed issues of the foundations of morality and the brain-to-mind transformation is discussed. The philosophy of biology is a rapidly expanding field, not more than half a century old at most, and to a large extent is replacing the interest in the philosophy of physics that prevailed in the first two-thirds of the twentieth century. Few texts available have the benefit of being written by an eminent biologist who happens to be also a philosopher, as in this work. This book is a useful resource for seminar courses and college courses on the philosophy of biology. Researchers, academics, and students in evolutionary biology, behavior, genetics, and biodiversity will also be interested in this work, as will those in human biology and issues such as ethics, religion, and the human mind, along with professional philosophers of science and those concerned with such issues as whether evolution is compatible with religion and/or where morality comes from. Presents the unique perspective of a distinguished biologist with extensive experience in the field who has published much about the subject in a wide variety of journals and edited volumes Covers the philosophical issues related to evolution and biology in an approachable and readable style Includes the most up-to-date treatment of this burgeoning, exciting field within biology Provides the ideal guide for researchers, academics, and students in evolutionary biology, behavior, genetics, and biodiversity

The Triumph of the Darwinian Method

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Author: Michael T. Ghiselin

Publisher: Courier Corporation

ISBN: 9780486432748

Category: Science

Page: 287

View: 8041

A coherent treatment of the flow of ideas throughout Darwin's works, this volume presents a unified theoretical system that explains Darwin's investigations, evaluating the literature from a historical, scientific, and philosophical perspective.

This is Biology

The Science of the Living World

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Author: Ernst Mayr

Publisher: Harvard University Press

ISBN: 9780674884694

Category: Science

Page: 323

View: 4736

"(A) lively book . . . on how biologists study living things. . . . Its range is enormous. . . . This is an old-fashioned book, to be read slowly, more than once, and to be thought about afterward".--Ann Finkbeiner, "The New York Times Book Review". Chart.

Philosophy of Science: Very Short Introduction

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Author: Samir Okasha

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0191062790

Category: Science

Page: 160

View: 6104

How much faith should we place in what scientists tell us? Is it possible for scientific knowledge to be fully 'objective'? What, really, can be defined as science? In the second edition of this Very Short Introduction, Samir Okasha explores the main themes and theories of contemporary philosophy of science, and investigates fascinating, challenging questions such as these. Starting at the very beginning, with a concise overview of the history of science, Okasha examines the nature of fundamental practices such as reasoning, causation, and explanation. Looking at scientific revolutions and the issue of scientific change, he asks whether there is a discernible pattern to the way scientific ideas change over time, and discusses realist versus anti-realist attitudes towards science. He finishes by considering science today, and the social and ethical philosophical questions surrounding modern science. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Above the Gene, Beyond Biology

Toward a Philosophy of Epigenetics

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Author: Jan Baedke

Publisher: University of Pittsburgh Press

ISBN: 0822983400

Category: Science

Page: 296

View: 6618

Epigenetics is currently one of the fastest-growing fields in the sciences. Epigenetic information not only controls DNA expression but links genetic factors with the environmental experiences that influence the traits and characteristics of an individual. What we eat, where we work, and how we live affects not only the activity of our genes but that of our offspring as well. This discovery has imposed a revolutionary theoretical shift on modern biology, especially on evolutionary theory. It has helped to uncover the developmental processes leading to cancer, obesity, schizophrenia, alcoholism, and aging, and to facilitate associated medial applications such as stem cell therapy and cloning. Above the Gene, Beyond Biology explores how biologists in this booming field investigate and explain living systems. Jan Baedke offers the first comprehensive philosophical discussion of epigenetic concepts, explanations, and methodologies so that we can better understand this “epigenetic turn” in the life sciences from a philosophical perspective.

Contemporary Debates in Philosophy of Biology

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Author: Francisco J. Ayala,Robert Arp

Publisher: John Wiley & Sons

ISBN: 9781444314939

Category: Science

Page: 440

View: 6636

This collection of specially commissioned essays puts top scholars head to head to debate the central issues in the lively and fast growing field of philosophy of biology Brings together original essays on ten of the most hotly debated questions in philosophy of biology Lively head-to-head debate format sharply defines the issues and paves the way for further discussion Includes coverage of the new and vital area of evolutionary developmental biology, as well as the concept of a unified species, the role of genes in selection, the differences between micro- and macro-evolution, and much more Each section features an introduction to the topic as well as suggestions for further reading Offers an accessible overview of this fast-growing and dynamic field, whilst also capturing the imagination of professional philosophers and biologists

Processes of Life

Essays in the Philosophy of Biology

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Author: John Dupré

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0199691983

Category: Philosophy

Page: 350

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John Dupré explores recent revolutionary developments in biology and considers their relevance for our understanding of human nature and society. He reveals how the advance of genetic science is changing our view of the constituents of life, and shows how an understanding of microbiology will overturn standard assumptions about the living world.

Genetics and Philosophy

An Introduction

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Author: Paul Griffiths,Karola Stotz

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

ISBN: 1107354765

Category: Science

Page: N.A

View: 9995

In the past century, nearly all of the biological sciences have been directly affected by discoveries and developments in genetics, a fast-evolving subject with important theoretical dimensions. In this rich and accessible book, Paul Griffiths and Karola Stotz show how the concept of the gene has evolved and diversified across the many fields that make up modern biology. By examining the molecular biology of the 'environment', they situate genetics in the developmental biology of whole organisms, and reveal how the molecular biosciences have undermined the nature/nurture distinction. Their discussion gives full weight to the revolutionary impacts of molecular biology, while rejecting 'genocentrism' and 'reductionism', and brings the topic right up to date with the philosophical implications of the most recent developments in genetics. Their book will be invaluable for those studying the philosophy of biology, genetics and other life sciences.

Mind in Life

Biology, Phenomenology, and the Sciences of Mind

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Author: Evan Thompson

Publisher: Harvard University Press

ISBN: 0674736885

Category: Philosophy

Page: 568

View: 6401

How is life related to the mind? Thompson explores this so-called explanatory gap between biological life and consciousness, drawing on sources as diverse as molecular biology, evolutionary theory, artificial life, complex systems theory, neuroscience, psychology, Continental Phenomenology, and analytic philosophy. Ultimately he shows that mind and life are more continuous than previously accepted, and that current explanations do not adequately address the myriad facets of the biology and phenomenology of mind.

The Theory of Evolution

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Author: John Maynard Smith

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

ISBN: 9780521451284

Category: Science

Page: 354

View: 2148

All living plants and animals, including man, are the modified descendants of one or a few simple living things. A hundred years ago Darwin and Wallace in their theory of natural selection, or the survival of the fittest, explained how evolution could have happened, in terms of processes known to take place today. In this book John Maynard Smith describes how their theory has been confirmed, but at the same time transformed, by recent research, and in particular by the discovery of the laws of inheritance.

The Evolution of Morality

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Author: Richard Joyce

Publisher: MIT Press

ISBN: 9780262263252

Category: Philosophy

Page: 288

View: 2315

Moral thinking pervades our practical lives, but where did this way of thinking come from, and what purpose does it serve? Is it to be explained by environmental pressures on our ancestors a million years ago, or is it a cultural invention of more recent origin? In The Evolution of Morality, Richard Joyce takes up these controversial questions, finding that the evidence supports an innate basis to human morality. As a moral philosopher, Joyce is interested in whether any implications follow from this hypothesis. Might the fact that the human brain has been biologically prepared by natural selection to engage in moral judgment serve in some sense to vindicate this way of thinking -- staving off the threat of moral skepticism, or even undergirding some version of moral realism? Or if morality has an adaptive explanation in genetic terms -- if it is, as Joyce writes, "just something that helped our ancestors make more babies" -- might such an explanation actually undermine morality's central role in our lives? He carefully examines both the evolutionary "vindication of morality" and the evolutionary "debunking of morality," considering the skeptical view more seriously than have others who have treated the subject.Interdisciplinary and combining the latest results from the empirical sciences with philosophical discussion, The Evolution of Morality is one of the few books in this area written from the perspective of moral philosophy. Concise and without technical jargon, the arguments are rigorous but accessible to readers from different academic backgrounds. Joyce discusses complex issues in plain language while advocating subtle and sometimes radical views. The Evolution of Morality lays the philosophical foundations for further research into the biological understanding of human morality.

Wittgenstein, Mind and Meaning

Towards a Social Conception of Mind

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Author: Meredith Williams

Publisher: Routledge

ISBN: 1134658737

Category: Philosophy

Page: 336

View: 7700

Wittgenstein, Mind and Meaning offers a provocative re-reading of Wittgenstein's later writings on language and mind, and explores the tensions between Wittgenstein's ideas and contemporary cognitivist conceptions of the mental. This book addresses both Wittgenstein's later works as well as contemporary issues in philosophy of mind. It provides fresh insight into the later Wittgenstein and raises vital questions about the foundations of cognitivism and its wider implications for psychology and cognitive science.

Out Of Control

The New Biology Of Machines, Social Systems, And The Economic World

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Author: Kevin Kelly

Publisher: Basic Books

ISBN: 078674703X

Category: Science

Page: 528

View: 1114

Out of Control chronicles the dawn of a new era in which the machines and systems that drive our economy are so complex and autonomous as to be indistinguishable from living things.

Cognitive Foundations of Natural History

Towards an Anthropology of Science

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Author: Scott Atran

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

ISBN: 9780521438711

Category: Science

Page: 360

View: 9614

Inspired by a debate between Noam Chomsky and Jean Piaget, this work traces the development of natural history from Aristotle to Darwin, and demonstrates how the science of plants and animals has emerged from the common conceptions of folkbiology.

The Lagoon

How Aristotle Invented Science

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Author: Armand Marie Leroi

Publisher: Penguin

ISBN: 0698170393

Category: Science

Page: 512

View: 5016

A brilliant study of Aristotle as biologist The philosophical classics of Aristotle loom large over the history of Western thought, but the subject he most loved was biology. He wrote vast volumes about animals. He described them, classified them, told us where and how they live and how they develop in the womb or in the egg. He founded a science. It can even be said that he founded science itself. In The Lagoon, acclaimed biologist Armand Marie Leroi recovers Aristotle’s science. He revisits Aristotle’s writings and the places where he worked. He goes to the eastern Aegean island of Lesbos to see the creatures that Aristotle saw, where he saw them. He explores Aristotle’s observations, his deep ideas, his inspired guesses—and the things he got wildly wrong. He shows how Aristotle’s science is deeply intertwined with his philosophical system and reveals that he was not only the first biologist, but also one of the greatest. The Lagoon is both a travelogue and a study of the origins of science. And it shows how a philosopher who lived almost two millennia ago still has so much to teach us today. From the Hardcover edition.

Data-Centric Biology

A Philosophical Study

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Author: Sabina Leonelli

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

ISBN: 022641650X

Category: Science

Page: 288

View: 3942

In recent decades, there has been a major shift in the way researchers process and understand scientific data. Digital access to data has revolutionized ways of doing science in the biological and biomedical fields, leading to a data-intensive approach to research that uses innovative methods to produce, store, distribute, and interpret huge amounts of data. In Data-Centric Biology, Sabina Leonelli probes the implications of these advancements and confronts the questions they pose. Are we witnessing the rise of an entirely new scientific epistemology? If so, how does that alter the way we study and understand life—including ourselves? Leonelli is the first scholar to use a study of contemporary data-intensive science to provide a philosophical analysis of the epistemology of data. In analyzing the rise, internal dynamics, and potential impact of data-centric biology, she draws on scholarship across diverse fields of science and the humanities—as well as her own original empirical material—to pinpoint the conditions under which digitally available data can further our understanding of life. Bridging the divide between historians, sociologists, and philosophers of science, Data-Centric Biology offers a nuanced account of an issue that is of fundamental importance to our understanding of contemporary scientific practices.