The Structure of Biological Science

The Structure of Biological Science

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This book provides a comprehensive guide to the conceptual methodological, and epistemological problems of biology, and treats in depth the major developments in molecular biology and evolutionary theory that have transformed both biology and its philosophy in recent decades. At the same time the work is a sustained argument for a particular philosophy of biology that unifies disparate issues and offers a framework for expectations about the future directions of the life sciences. The argument explores differences between autonomist and anti-autonomist views of biology. The result is a vindication of reductionism, but one that is unexpectedly hollow. For it leaves the exponents of the autonomy of biology from physical science with as much as their view of biology really requires - and rather more than the reductionist might comfortably concede. Professor Rosenberg shows how the problems of the philosophy of biology are interconnected and how their solutions are interdependent, However, this book focuses more on the direct concerns of biologists, rather than the traditional agenda of philosophers' problems about biology. This departure from earlier books on the subject results both in greater understanding and relevance of the philosophy of science to biology as a whole.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 296 pages
  • 156 x 234 x 23mm | 529g
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Worked examples or Exercises
  • 052127561X
  • 9780521275613
  • 2,840,364

Table of contents

Preface; 1. Biology and its philosophy; 2. Autonomy and provincialism; 3. Teleology and the roots of autonomy; 4. Reductionism and the temptation of provincialism; 5. The structure of evolutionary theory; 6. Fitness; 7. Species; 8. New problems of functionalism; Bibliography; Index.
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Review quote

'Alex Rosenberg has written an extremely informative introduction to the issues in philosophy of biology. Offering a unified perspective on traditional problems of teleology, reductionism, the structure of evolutionary theory, and the nature of species, he provides lucid summaries of the competing approaches to these problems and develops interesting ideas and arguments of his own. The treatment throughout reflects current discussions among biologists and philosophers. This book ought to become the leading single-author text on the subject and it should be read by anybody who has an interest in the philosophy of biology.' Philip Kitcher, University of Minnesota, and Minnesota Center for the Philosophy of Science 'The Golden Age of Biology has been with us for over three decades, and yet Rosenberg is the first philosopher to write a book on the philosophy of biology which makes significant use of all the recent advances in biochemistry and molecular biology. He is the first philosopher to know enough about these advances to make use of them. If Rosenberg's book is any indication, philosophy of biology is entering into its own Golden Age. David L. Hull, Northwestern University
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