Topics in the Philosophy of Biology

Topics in the Philosophy of Biology

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The philosophy of biology should move to the center of the philosophy of science - a place it has not been accorded since the time of Mach. Physics was the paradigm of science, and its shadow falls across con- temporary philosophy of biology as well, in a variety of contexts: reduction, organization and system, biochemical mechanism, and the models of law and explanation which derive from the Duhem-Popper- Hempel tradition. This volume, we think, offers ample evidence of how good contempo- rary work in the philosophical understanding of biology has become. Marjorie Grene and Everett Mendelsohn aptly combine a deep philo- sophical appreciation of conceptual issues in biology with an historical understanding of the radical changes in the science of biology since the 19th century. In this book, they present essays which probe such historical and methodological questions as reducibility, levels of organization, function and teleology, and the range of issues emerging from evolution- ary theory and the species problem. In conjunction with Professor Grene's collection of essays on the philosophy of biology, The Under- standing of Nature (Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science, Vol. XXIII) and the occasional essays on these topics which we have published in other volumes (listed below), this volume contributes to bringing biology to the center of philosophical attention. Everett Mendelsohn, 'Explanation in Nineteenth Century Biology' (Boston Studies, Vol. II, 1965). David Hawkins, 'Taxonomy and Information', (Boston Studies, Vol. III, 1967).
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Product details

  • Paperback | 454 pages
  • 152 x 229 x 24.38mm | 760g
  • Kluwer Academic Publishers
  • Dordrecht, Netherlands
  • English
  • 1976 ed.
  • 2 Illustrations, black and white; XIII, 454 p. 2 illus.
  • 9027705968
  • 9789027705969

Table of contents

I/History.- Aristotle and Modern Biology.- Philosophical Biology versus Experimental Biology.- D'Arcy Thompson and the Science of Form.- II/ Reducibility.- The Watson-Crick Model and Reductionism.- Life's Irreducible Structure.- III/Problems of Explanation in Biology.- A. Levels of Organization.- Organizational Levels and Explanation.- Physical Theories of Biological Co-ordination.- Complexity and Organization.- B. Function and Teleology.- Function and Teleology.- Functions.- C. Pluralistic Explanation.- Articulation of Parts Explanation in Biology and the Rational Search for Them.- IV/Evolution.- The Strategy of Evolution.- Evolution and the Theory of Games.- Biology as an Autonomous Science.- Biological Adaptation.- V/Species Problem.- Species Concepts and Definitions.- Biological Classification.- Contemporary Systematic Philosophies.- Further Reading.
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