Evolution, Explanation, Ethics and Aesthetics

Evolution, Explanation, Ethics and Aesthetics : Towards a Philosophy of Biology

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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.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 420 pages
  • 152 x 229 x 23.88mm | 680g
  • Academic Press Inc
  • San Diego, United States
  • English
  • black & white illustrations
  • 0128036931
  • 9780128036938
  • 887,803

Table of contents

Part I. Evolution

Chapter 1. The Darwinian Revolution

Chapter 2. Evolution Is a "Fact"

Chapter 3. Life's Origin

Chapter 4. LUCA and the Tree of Life

Chapter 5. Three Grand Challenges of Human Biology

Part II. Explanation

Chapter 6. Design Without Designer

Chapter 7. Adaptation and Novelty: Teleological Explanations in Evolutionary Biology

Chapter 8. Evolution and Progress

Chapter 9. The Scientific Method

Chapter 10. Reduction and Emergence

Chapter 11. Microevolution and Macroevolution: A New Evolutionary Synthesis?

Part III. Ethics, Aesthetics, and Religion

Chapter 12. Ethics

Chapter 13. Aesthetics

Chapter 14. Religion

Chapter 15. Law and the Courts

Chapter 16. Intelligent Design

Chapter 17. Human Evolution, Genetic Engineering, and Cloning
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Review quote

"This splendid book,...is a distillation of a lifetime's experience as a practicing scientist and metaphysical reflection on his own work and that of others...Above all, the book is wonderfully comprehensive." --The Quarterly Review of Biology
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About Francisco J. Ayala

Francisco J. Ayala is University Professor and Donald Bren Professor of Biological Sciences and Professor of Philosophy at the University of California, Irvine. Dr. Ayala is a member of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), a recipient of the 2001 National Medal of Science, and served as Chair of the Authoring Committee of Science, Evolution, and Creationism, jointly published in 2008 by the NAS and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Ayala has received numerous awards, including the 2010 Templeton Prize for "exceptional contribution to affirming life's spiritual dimension," and 23 honorary degrees from universities in ten countries. He has been President and Chairman of the Board of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and President of Sigma Xi, the Scientific Research Society of the United States. Dr. Ayala has written numerous books and articles about the intersection of science and religion, including Darwin's Gift to Science and Religion (Joseph Henry Press, 2007), Am I a Monkey? (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2010), and The Big Questions. Evolution (Quercus, 2012). He is also the author, with Camilo J. Cela-Conde, of Human Evolution. Trails from the Past (Oxford University Press, 2007). He teaches classes in evolution, genetics, and the philosophy of biology, which are also the subjects of his research.
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