Evolutionary Biology

Evolutionary Biology : Conceptual, Ethical, and Religious Issues

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Evolution - both the fact that it occurred and the theory describing the mechanisms by which it occurred - is an intrinsic and central component in modern biology. Theodosius Dobzhansky captures this well in the much-quoted title of his 1973 paper 'Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution'. The correctness of this assertion is even more obvious today: philosophers of biology and biologists agree that the fact of evolution is undeniable and that the theory of evolution explains that fact. Such a theory has far-reaching implications. In this volume, eleven distinguished scholars address the conceptual, metaphysical and epistemological richness of the theory and its ethical and religious impact, exploring topics including DNA barcoding, three grand challenges of human evolution, functionalism, historicity, design, evolution and development, and religion and secular humanism. The volume will be of great interest to those studying philosophy of biology and evolutionary biology.
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Product details

  • Electronic book text
  • Cambridge University Press (Virtual Publishing)
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • 9 b/w illus. 2 tables
  • 1139698907
  • 9781139698900

Table of contents

Introduction; 1. Human evolution: the three grand challenges of human biology Francisco Ayala; Part I. Evolution and Theology: 2. Evolutionary theory, causal completeness, and theism - the case of 'guided' mutation Elliott Sober; 3. Religion, truth and progress Philip Kitcher; Part II. Taxonomy and Systematics: 4. Consilience, historicity, and the species problem Marc Ereshefsky; 5. DNA barcoding and taxonomic practice David Castle; Part III. The Structure of Evolutionary Theory: 6. Darwin's theory and the value of mathematical formalisation R. Paul Thompson; 7. Population genetics, economic theory, and eugenics in R. A. Fisher Jean Gayon; 8. Exploring development and evolution on the tangled bank Jane Maienschein and Manfred Laubichler; Part IV. Function, Adaptation and Design: 9. Darwin's cyclopean architect John Beatty; 10. Function and teleology Denis Walsh; 11. How physics fakes design Alex Rosenberg.
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Review quote

'This volume is not just an homage to Ruse, it contains provocative and creative essays by an impressive list of all-stars in the philosophy of biology.' Richard A. Richards, The Quarterly Review of Biology
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About Denis Walsh

R. Paul Thompson is Professor in the Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology and the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Toronto. His most recent books include The Structure of Biological Theories (1989) and Agro-Technology (Cambridge, 2011) and he is editor of Issues in Evolutionary Ethics (1995). Denis Walsh holds the Canada Research Chair in the Philosophy of Biology and is a member of the Department of Philosophy at the Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology, and the Department for Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Toronto. He is editor of Naturalism, Evolution and Mind (Cambridge, 2001).
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