Biology and Man

Biology and Man

  • Hardback
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Product details

  • Hardback | 176 pages
  • 142.24 x 205.74 x 5.08mm | 249.47g
  • Houghton Mifflin Harcourt P
  • United Kingdom
  • 0151123624
  • 9780151123629

Review Text

Ten essays, the majority previously published university addresses or symposium papers, explore the problems and philosophical implications of current work in biology. As Agassiz Professor of Vertebrate Palaeontology Emeritus at Harvard, Simpson is one of the elder statesmen of "organismic" biology and the author of a number of lucid books. Here he is preoccupied with the in-fighting between molecular biologists and the organismic fellows, directing especially sharp remarks at those who think that biology is nothing but chemistry and physics. These thoughts dominate at least three of the essays, with the arguments often expressed in the same words or analogies. More interesting are Simpson's ideas about culture, future evolution, the origin of language (rather, the capacity for language), and race. A final essay on ethics tackles the very tough problem of how to fit man's ethicizing nature into his evolutionary development. An ardent non-mystic, Simpson believes that it is both possible and necessary to seek a rational criterion for ethics. No solutions are given; theories are expounded and criticized; opinions are cautious. In this regard the book may prove useful as a springboard for discussion in the classroom, or for that matter, in the living room. (Kirkus Reviews)
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