Empiricism and Darwin's Science

Empiricism and Darwin's Science

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I would like to record my thanks to Paul Thompson for useful conver- sations over the years, and also to several generations of students who have helped me develop my ideas on biological theory and on Darwin. My wife has, as usual, been more than helpful; in particular she typed a good portion of the manuscript while I was on leave a few years ago, more now than I like to remember. My parents were both looking forward to holding a final copy of this book. I only regret that my mother did not live long enough to see its completion. I must also thank the publishers and their staff. They have been re- markably patient about meeting deadlines - promises were repeatedly made and then, owing to family situations, had to be broken - and for this I am considerably in their debt. I would further like to thank the following authors and publishers for permission to use their work: R. C. Lewontin, The Genetic Basis of Evolutionary Change, Figure 1, p. 14; (c) 1964 Columbia University Press; reprinted here by kind permission of the author and publisher. F. Wilson, 'Goudge's Contribution to the Philosophy of Science', in L. W. Sumner, J. G. Slater, and F. Wilson (eds.), Pragmatism and Purpose: Essays in Honour of T. A. Goudge; (c) 1964 University of Toronto Press; reproduced here in part by kind permission of all the editors and the publisher.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 361 pages
  • 162.6 x 236.2 x 27.9mm | 657.72g
  • Dordrecht, Netherlands
  • English
  • 1991 ed.
  • XIV, 361 p.
  • 0792310195
  • 9780792310198

Table of contents

I/Explanation and Unification.- One / Positivist Models of Explanation.- Two / The Abstractive Nature of Theories.- 2.1. Introduction: The Kuhnian Context.- 2.2. The Abstractive Nature of Theories.- 2.3. Abstractive Theories and Research: Revolutionary Science.- Three / Composition Laws.- Four / Reduction.- 4.1. Reduction of Sociology to Psychology.- 4.2. Reduction of Psychology to Physiology.- 4.3. Reduction of Mendelian Genetics to Molecular Genetics.- 4.4. Summary and Conclusions.- II / Explanation in Biology.- Five / Explanation and Imperfect Laws in Biology.- 5.1. Integrating Explanations.- 5.2. Narrative Explanations.- 5.3. The Structure of Biological Theories.- 5.4. Representing the Logical Form of Theories.- Six / Purpose and Function in Biology.- 6.1. The Place of Purpose in Thinking about Nature.- 6.2. Purpose, Function, and Imperfect Knowledge.- 6.3. Functions and Functional Explanation.- 6.4. Adaptation and Evolution.- III / Darwin's Science.- Seven / Biogeographical Explanations.- Eight / The Structure of Darwin's Theory.- Nine / Some Methodological Criticisms of Darwin's Theory.- Ten / The Evidential Support for Darwin's Theory.- Eleven/ The Logical Structure of Darwin's Argument.- Conclusion.- Notes.- Index of Names.- Index of Subjects.
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Review quote

`In conclusion, then, Empiricism and Darwin's Science should be on the shelves of all those who take an interest in the philosophy of biology and, in particular, of all those who wonder whether the foundations of biological science at the end of the twentieth century are as shaky as those of physics at the close of the nineteenth.' Annals of Human Biology, 20:1 (1993)
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