Philosophy Of Biology

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Westview Press, Sep 16, 2009 - Philosophy - 240 pages
3 Reviews
Perhaps because of it implications for our understanding of human nature, recent philosophy of biology has seen what might be the most dramatic work in the philosophies of the ”special” sciences. This drama has centered on evolutionary theory, and in the second edition of this textbook, Elliott Sober introduces the reader to the most important issues of these developments. With a rare combination of technical sophistication and clarity of expression, Sober engages both the higher level of theory and the direct implications for such controversial issues as creationism, teleology, nature versus nurture, and sociobiology. Above all, the reader will gain from this book a firm grasp of the structure of evolutionary theory, the evidence for it, and the scope of its explanatory significance.
 

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User Review  - vegetarian - LibraryThing

Elliott Sober has a fascinating chapter (#2) on creationism, ID (intelligent design), but historical rather than in terms of today's developing positions. "To understand the history of an idea, we ... Read full review

Review: Philosophy Of Biology

User Review  - Lukas - Goodreads

A bit out-dated, but a seminal piece on the philosophy of biology. Read full review

Contents

1 What is Evolutionary Theory?
1
2 Creationism
27
3 Fitness
58
4 The Units of Selection Problem
89
5 Adaptationism
121
6 Systematics
146
7 Sociobiology and the Extension of Evolutionary Theory
188
References
221
Index
231
Copyright

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Popular passages

Page 93 - It must not be forgotten that although a high standard of morality gives but a slight or no advantage to each individual man and his children over the other men of the same tribe, yet that an advancement in the standard of morality and an increase in the number of well-endowed men will certainly give an immense advantage to one tribe over another.
Page 146 - ... community of descent is the hidden bond which naturalists have been unconsciously seeking, and not some unknown plan of creation, or the enunciation of general propositions, and the mere putting together and separating objects more or less alike.
Page 208 - Take any action allow'd to be vicious: Wilful murder, for instance. Examine it in all lights, and see if you can find that matter of fact, or real existence, which you call vice. In which-ever way you take it, you find only certain passions, motives, volitions, and thoughts. There is no other matter of fact in the case. The vice entirely escapes you, as long as you consider the object.
Page 92 - ... the same tribe. He who was ready to sacrifice his life, as many a savage has been, rather than betray his comrades, would often leave no offspring to inherit his noble nature. The bravest men, who were always willing to come to the front in war, and who freely risked their lives for others, would on an average perish in larger numbers than other men.
Page 14 - Every particle of matter, in the universe, attracts every other particle with a force, which is directly proportional to the product of their masses and inversely proportional to the square of the distance between them.
Page 208 - The vice entirely escapes you, as long as you consider the object. You never can find it, till you turn your reflexion into your own breast, and find a sentiment of disapprobation, which arises in you, towards this action.
Page 146 - I look at the term species, as one arbitrarily given for the sake of convenience to a set of individuals closely resembling each other, and that it does not essentially differ from the term variety, which is given to less distinct and more fluctuating forms.
Page 92 - ... than the children of selfish and treacherous parents of the same tribe. He who was ready to sacrifice his life, as many a savage has been, rather that betray his comrades, would often leave no offspring to inherit his noble nature.
Page 64 - I HAVE hitherto sometimes spoken as if the variations — so common and multiform in organic beings under domestication, and in a lesser degree in those in a state of nature — had been due to chance. This, of course, is a wholly incorrect expression, but it serves to acknowledge plainly our ignorance of the cause of each particular variation.
Page 160 - A species is a lineage (or a closely related set of lineages) which occupies an adaptive zone minimally different from that of any other lineage in its range and which evolves separately from all lineages outside its range.

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About the author (2009)

Elliott Sober is Hans Reichenbach Professor of Philosophy at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. He is editor of Conceptual Issues in Evolutionary Biology: An Anthology and author of The Nature of Selection: Evolutionary Theory in Philosophical Focus, as well as many papers on the philosophy of science and of biology. In 1991 he was awarded the Lakatos Award for an outstanding contribution to the philosophy of science for his book Reconstructing the Past: Parsimony, Evolution, and Interference.

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