A Companion to the Philosophy of Biology / Edition 1

Paperback (Print)
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $39.43
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 26%)
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (8) from $39.43   
  • New (6) from $39.43   
  • Used (2) from $41.94   


A Companion to the Philosophy of Biology offers concise overviews of philosophical issues raised by all areas of biology. Addressing both traditional and emerging areas of philosophical interest, the volume focuses on the philosophical implications of evolutionary theory as well as key topics such as molecular biology, immunology, and ecology.

Comprising essays by top scholars in the field, this volume is an authoritative guide for professional philosophers, historians, sociologists and biologists, as well as an accessible reference work for students seeking to learn about this rapidly-changing field.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This book is a companion to the philosophy of biology, and it not only should be of interest to scholars in philosophy of biology, but it also may be utilized by classroom educators teaching courses in philosophy of biology, theoretical biology, and evolutionary theory." (Science & Education, April 2010)

"Many of the discussions here start with a definition of terms and a historical context of the subject before delving into the deeper philosophical issues, making it a useful reference for students of biology as well as philosophy." (Northeastern Naturalist, April 2008)

"The topics that are addressed are done so well. This book will appeal to the advanced student and knowledgeable amateur and may prove useful catalyst for discussion among research teams or those engaged in cross-disciplinary studies." (Reference Reviews, February 2009)

"Sarkar and Plutynski have compiled a series of essays about the philosophical implications of traditional and emergent biological studies. Among the areas discussed are genetics, immunology and evolutionary psychology." (Columbia College Today Alumni Magazine, February 2009)

"A Companion to the Philosophy of Biology will be a very useful guide not only for philosophers but also for historians, sociologists and biologists. Its greatest asset is that it expands beyond the scope of recently published textbooks in philosophy of biology by including a detailed treatment of philosophical aspects of medicine, ecology, mind and behavior and that it places the themes in their historic context. The diversity of areas covered will appeal to students of general interest as well as specialists. Especially helpful is that most chapters end with an extended 'Reference' and often an additional 'Further reading' section that will allow readers to research the individual topics in greater depth." (Metapsychology Reviews Online)

"The book is similar to, though different enough to distinguish itself from, its closest kin, The Oxford Handbook of the Philosophy of Biology, edited by Michael Ruse (2008), and The Cambridge Companion to the Philosophy of Biology, edited by David Hull and Michael Ruse. They do not offer essays on language, biodiversity, or models, which are included in the present volume. Recommended." (Choice, November 2008)

Read More Show Less

Product Details

Meet the Author

Sahotra Sarkar is Professor of Integrative Biology, Geography and the Environment, and Philosophy at the University of Texas at Austin. He is the author of Genetics and Reductionism: A Primer (1998), Biodiversity and Environmental Philosophy (2005), Molecular Models of Life (2005), Doubting Darwin? Creationist Designs on Evolution (2007); co-author of Systematic Conservation Planning (2007); editor of several books, including The Philosophy and History of Molecular Biology (1996), the six-volume Science and the Philosophy in the Twentieth Century: Basic Works of Logical Empiricism (1996), and the two-volume The Philosophy of Science: An Encyclopedia (2006).

Anya Plutynski is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Utah. She specializes in the history and philosophy of science.

Read More Show Less

Read an Excerpt

Click to read or download

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

List of Figures viii

List of Tables x

Notes on Contributors xi

Acknowledgments xvii

Introduction Sahotra Sarkar Anya Plutynski xviii

Part I Molecular Biology and Genetics 1

1 Gene Concepts Hans-Jörg Rheinberger Staffan Müller-Wille 3

2 Biological Information Stefan Artmann 22

3 Heredity and Heritability Richard C. Lewontin 40

4 Genomics, Proteomics, and Beyond Sahotra Sarkar 58

Part II Evolution 75

5 Darwinism and Neo-Darwinism James G. Lennox 77

6 Systematics and Taxonomy Marc Ereshefsky 99

7 Population Genetics Christopher Stephens 119

8 The Units and Levels of Selection Samir Okasha 138

9 Molecular Evolution Michael R. Dietrich 157

10 Speciation and Macroevolution Anya Plutynski 169

11 Adaptationism Peter Godfrey-Smith Jon F. Wilkins 186

Part III Developmental Biology 203

12 Phenotypic Plasticity and Reaction Norms Jonathan M. Kaplan 205

13 Explaining the Ontogeny of Form: Philosophical Issues Alan C. Love 223

14 Development and Evolution Ron Amundson 248

Part IV Medicine 269

15 Self and Nonself Moira Howes 271

16 Health and Disease Dominic Murphy 287

Part V Ecology 299

17 Population Ecology Mark Colyvan 301

18 Complexity, Diversity, and Stability James Justus 321

19 Ecosystems Kent A. Peacock 351

20 Biodiversity: Its Meaning and Value Bryan G. Norton 368

Part VI Mind and Behavior 391

21 Ethology, Sociobiology, and Evolutionary Psychology Paul E. Griffiths 393

22 Cooperation J. McKenzie Alexander 415

23 Language and Evolution Derek Bickerton 431

Part VII Experimentation, Theory, and Themes 453

24 What is Life? Mark A. Bedau 455

25 Experimentation Marcel Weber 472

26 Laws and Theories Marc Lange 489

27 Models Jay Odenbaugh 506

28 Function and Teleology Justin Garson 525

29 Reductionism in Biology Alexander Rosenberg 550

Index 568

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)