What Makes Biology Unique?: Considerations on the Autonomy of a Scientific Discipline

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Cambridge University Press, Apr 16, 2007 - Psychology - 232 pages
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This collection of revised and new essays argues that biology is an autonomous science rather than a branch of the physical sciences. Ernst Mayr, widely considered the most eminent evolutionary biologist of the 20th century, offers insights on the history of evolutionary thought, critiques the conditions of philosophy to the science of biology, and comments on several of the major developments in evolutionary theory. Notably, Mayr explains that Darwin's theory of evolution is actually five separate theories, each with its own history, trajectory and impact. Ernst Mayr, commonly referred to as the "Darwin of the 20th century" and listed as one of the top 100 scientists of all-time, is Professor Emeritus at Harvard University. What Makes Biology Unique is the 25th book he has written during his long and prolific career. His recent books include This is Biology: The Science of the Living World (Belknap Press, 1997) and What Evolution Is (Basic Books, 2002).
 

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User Review  - elviomedeiros - LibraryThing

This book is actually an assemble of ideas from the author published in journals, books, etc. It describes how biology must be seen as an autonomous science (in light of evolution) like physics and ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - thcson - LibraryThing

This book is a pretty good defense of the autonomy of biology. However, although the author is a great biologist and a good historian of biological science, he is clearly not a philosopher. So the ... Read full review

Contents

Introduction
1
Science and sciences
11
The autonomy of biology
21
Teleology
39
Analysis or reductionism?
67
Darwins influence on modern thought
83
Darwins five theories of evolution
97
Maturation of Darwinism
117
Selection
133
Do Thomas Kuhns scientific revolutions take place?
159
Another look at the species problem
171
The origin of humans
195
Are we alone in this vast universe?
209
7
227
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About the author (2007)

Ernst Mayr (1904-2005) was Professor Emeritus and former Director of the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard University. For his contributions as an evolutionary biologist, taxonomist, ornithologist, as well as historian and philosopher of biology, Mayr was hailed as 'the Darwin of the 20th century'.

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