From a Biological Point of View

From a Biological Point of View : Essays in Evolutionary Philosophy

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Elliott Sober is one of the leading philosophers of science and is a former winner of the Lakatos Prize, the major award in the field. This new collection of essays will appeal to a readership that extends well beyond the frontiers of the philosophy of science. Sober shows how ideas in evolutionary biology bear in significant ways on traditional problems in philosophy of mind and language, epistemology, and metaphysics. Amongst the topics addressed are psychological egoism, solipsism, and the interpretation of belief and utterance, empiricism, Ockham's razor, causality, essentialism, and scientific laws. The collection will prove invaluable to a wide range of philosophers, primarily those working in the philosophy of science, the philosophy of mind, and epistemology.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 268 pages
  • 160 x 239 x 20mm | 560g
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 1 Tables, unspecified; 11 Line drawings, unspecified
  • 0521477530
  • 9780521477536

Table of contents

Introduction; 1. Did evolution make us psychological egoists?; 2. Why not solipsism?; 3. The adaptive advantage of learning and a priori prejudice; 4. The primacy of truth-telling and the evolution of lying; 5. Prospects for an evolutionary ethics; 6. Contrastive empiricism; 7. Let's razor Ockham's razor; 8. The principle of the common cause; 9. Explanatory presupposition; 10. Apportioning casual responsibility; 11. Evolution, population thinking, and essentialism; 12. Temporally oriented laws; Index.
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Review quote

"The arguments in each essay are cogent and presented in a clear style....For those biologists interested in these basic issues (and that should be most of us!) and with an adequate background this book offers rich material." Patrick W. Colgan, The Canadian Field-Naturalist
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About Elliott Sober

Elliott Sober is Hans Reichenbach Professor of Philosophy and William F. Vilas Research Professor at University of Wisconsin-Madison where he has taught since 1974. His research is in philosophy of science, especially in the philosophy of evolutionary biology. Sober's books include The Nature of Selection - Evolutionary Theory in Philosophical Focus (1984), Reconstructing the Past - Parsimony, Evolution, and Inference (1988), Philosophy of Biology (1993), From a Biological Point of View - Essays in Evolutionary Philosophy (1994), and Unto Others - The Evolution and Psychology of Unselfish Behavior (1998), coauthored with David Sloan Wilson.
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