1st Edition

Philosophy of Biology

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ISBN 9781844650712
Published November 1, 2006 by Routledge
320 Pages


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Book Description

This major new series in the philosophy of science aims to provide a new generation of textbooks for the subject. The series will not only offer fresh treatments of core topics in the theory and methodology of scientific knowledge, but also introductions to newer areas of the discipline. Furthermore, the series will cover topics in current science that raise significant foundational issues both for scientific theory and for philosophy more generally. Biology raises distinct questions of its own not only for philosophy of science, but for metaphysics, epistemology and ethics. This comprehensive new textbook for a rapidly growing field of study provides students new to the subject with an up-to-date presentation of the key philosophical issues. Care is taken throughout to keep the technicalities accessible to the non-biologist but without sacrificing the philosophical subtleties. The first part of the book covers the philosophical challenges posed by evolution and evolutionary biology, beginning with Darwin's central argument in the Origin of the Species. Individual chapters cover natural selection, the selfish gene, alternative units of selection, developmental systems theory, adaptionism and issues in macroevolution. The second part of the book examines philosophical questions arising in connection with biological traits, function, nature and nurture, and biological kinds. The third part of the book examines metaphysical questions, biology's relation with the traditional concerns of philosophy of science, and how evolution has been introduced into epistemological debates. The final part considers the relevance of biology to questions about ethics, religion and human nature.

Table of Contents

Introduction Part I Darwinism and neo-Darwinism 1. The argument in Darwin's Origin 2. What evolution explains 3. The selfish gene view of evolution Part II Challenges to the consensus 4. Alternative units of selection 5. Panglossianism and its discontents 6. Developmental systems theory Part III Conceptual issues 7. Nature and nurture 8. Function: 'what it's for' versus 'what it does' 9. Biological categories 10. Species and their special problems 11. Biology and philosophy of science Part IV Applications 12. Evolution and epistemology 13. Evolution and religion 14. Evolution and human nature 15. Biology and ethics Bibliography Index

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