The use of the term "biology" to refer to a unified science of life emerged around 1800 (most prominently by scientists such as Lamarck and Treviranus, although scholarship has indicated its usage at least 30-40 years earlier). The interplay between philosophy and natural science has also accompanied the constitution of biology as a science.
Philosophy of Biology Before Biology examines biological and protobiological writings from the mid-eighteenth century to the early nineteenth century (from Buffon to Cuvier; Kant to Oken; and Kielmeyer) with two major sets of questions in mind:
This insightful volume produces a fresh but also systematic perspective both on the history of biology as a science and on the early versions of, in the 1960s in a post-positivist context, the philosophy of biology. It will appeal to students and researchers interested in fields such as history of science, philosophy of science and biology.
List of Contributors
Part I. FORM AND DEVELOPMENT
Part II. ORGANISM & ORGANIZATION
Part III. SYSTEMS
Cécilia Bognon-Küss and Charles T. Wolfe. Conclusion
This series explores significant developments in the life sciences from historical and philosophical perspectives. Historical episodes include Aristotelian biology, Greek and Islamic biology and medicine, Renaissance biology, natural history, Darwinian evolution, Nineteenth-century physiology and cell theory, Twentieth-century genetics, ecology, and systematics, and the biological theories and practices of non-Western perspectives. Philosophical topics include individuality, reductionism and holism, fitness, levels of selection, mechanism and teleology, and the nature-nurture debates, as well as explanation, confirmation, inference, experiment, scientific practice, and models and theories vis-à-vis the biological sciences.
Authors are also invited to inquire into the "and" of this series. How has, does, and will the history of biology impact philosophical understandings of life? How can philosophy help us analyze the historical contingency of, and structural constraints on, scientific knowledge about biological processes and systems? In probing the interweaving of history and philosophy of biology, scholarly investigation could usefully turn to values, power, and potential future uses and abuses of biological knowledge.
The scientific scope of the series includes evolutionary theory, environmental sciences, genomics, molecular biology, systems biology, biotechnology, biomedicine, race and ethnicity, and sex and gender. These areas of the biological sciences are not silos, and tracking their impact on other sciences such as psychology, economics, and sociology, and the behavioral and human sciences more generally, is also within the purview of this series.
Rasmus Grønfeldt Winther is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC), and Visiting Scholar of Philosophy at Stanford University (2015-2016). He works in the philosophy of science and philosophy of biology and has strong interests in metaphysics, epistemology, and political philosophy, in addition to cartography and GIS, cosmology and particle physics, psychological and cognitive science, and science in general. Recent publications include "The Structure of Scientific Theories," The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy and "Race and Biology," The Routledge Companion to the Philosophy of Race. His book with University of Chicago Press, When Maps Become the World, is forthcoming.