Contemporary Debates in Philosophy of Biology / Edition 1

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Overview

Contemporary Debates in Philosophy of Biology brings together original essays on some of the most hotly debated questions in this lively and fast-moving field. Are species real? Does selection operate primarily on genes? Can the biological sciences act as a ground for ethics?

Each of the ten sections introduces a specific issue within philosophy of biology and offers suggestions for further reading. Pairs of newly commissioned essays by leading scholars discuss the central questions in an engaging head-to-head debate. Together, the essays provide an accessible introduction to philosophy of biology, and a springboard to further discussion. Showcasing original arguments for well-defined positions, as well as clear and concise statements of sophisticated philosophical views, this volume is an excellent resource for professional philosophers, biologists, and students alike.

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What People Are Saying

From the Publisher
"A greatly needed and welcome contribution by excellent scholars, this book invites newcomers and experts alike to think critically about core issues in the philosophy of biology."
Roberta L. Millstein, University of California, Davis
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781405159982
  • Publisher: Wiley, John & Sons, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 12/14/2009
  • Series: Contemporary Debates in Philosophy Series
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 440
  • Product dimensions: 6.90 (w) x 9.80 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Francisco J. Ayala is Donald Bren Professor of Biological Sciences at the University of California, Irvine, USA. He is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society. In 2001, he received the National Medal of Science. Ayala has published more than 950 articles and is the author or editor of 31 books. He has been named the Renaissance Man of Evolutionary Biology by The New York Times.

Robert Arp is an analyst at The Analysis Group, LLC who has interests in philosophy of biology and ontology in the informatics sense. He is the author of Scenario Visualization: An Evolutionary Account of Creative Problem Solving (2008), and co-editor of Philosophy of Biology: An Anthology (Blackwell, 2009).

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Table of Contents

Notes on Contributors ix

General Introduction 1

References and Further Reading 7

Part I Is It Possible to Reduce Biological Explanations to Explanations in Chemistry and/or Physics? 13

Introduction 13

References and Further Reading 15

1 It Is Possible to Reduce Biological Explanations to Explanations in Chemistry and/or Physics Evelyn Fox Keller 19

2 It Is Not Possible to Reduce Biological Explanations to Explanations in Chemistry and/or Physics John Dupré 32

Part II Have Traits Evolved to Function the Way They Do Because of a Past Advantage? 49

Introduction 49

References and Further Reading 51

3 Traits Have Evolved to Function the Way They Do Because of a Past Advantage Mark Perlman 53

4 Traits Have Not Evolved to Function the Way They Do Because of a past Advantage Robert Cummins Martin Roth 72

Part III Are Species Real? 87

Introduction 87

References and Further Reading 88

5 Species Are Real Biological Entities Michael F. Claridge 91

6 Species Are Not Uniquely Real Biological Entities Brent D. Mishler 110

Part IV Does Selection Operate Primarily On Genes? 123

Introduction 123

References and Further Reading 125

7 Selection Does Operate Primarily on Genes: In Defense of the Gene as the Unit of Selection Carmen Sapienza 127

8 Selection Does Not Operate Primarily on Genes Richard M. Burian 141

Part V Are Microevolution and Macroevolution Governed by the Same Processes? 165

Introduction 165

References and Further Reading 166

9 Microevolution and Macroevolution Are Governed by the Same Processes Michael R. Dietrich 169

10 Microevolution and Macroevolution Are Not Governed by the Same Processes Douglas H. Erwin 180

Part VI Does Evolutionary Developmental Biology Offer A Significant Challenge to the Neo-Darwinian Paradigm? 195

Introduction 195

References and Further Reading 197

11 Evolutionary Developmental Biology Offers a Significant Challenge to the Neo-Darwinian Paradigm Manfred D. Laubichler 199

12 Evolutionary Developmental Biology Does Not Offer a Significant Challenge to the Neo-Darwinian Paradigm Alessandro Minelli 213

Part VII Were the Basic Components of the Human Mind Solidified During the Pleistocene Epoch? 227

Introduction 227

References and Further Reading 228

13 The Basic Components of the Human Mind Were Solidified During the Pleistocene Epoch Valerie G. Starratt Todd K. Shackelford 231

14 The Basic Components of the Human Mind Were Not Solidified During the Pleistocene Epoch Stephen M. Downes 243

Part VIII Does Memetics Provide a Useful Way of Understanding Cultural Evolution? 253

Introduction 253

References and Further Reading 254

15 Memetics Does Provide a Useful Way of Understanding Cultural Evolution Susan Blackmore 255

16 Memetics Does Not Provide a Useful Way of Understanding Cultural Evolution: A Developmental Perspective William C. Wimsatt 273

Part IX Can the Biological Sciences Act as a Ground for Ethics? 293

Introduction 293

References and Further Reading 295

17 The Biological Sciences Can Act as a Ground for Ethics Michael Ruse 297

18 What the Biological Sciences Can and Cannot Contribute to Ethics Francisco J. Ayala 316

Part X Is There a Place for Intelligent Design in the Philosophy of Biology? 337

Introduction 337

References and Further Reading 340

19 There Is a Place for Intelligent Design in the Philosophy of Biology: Intelligent Design in (Philosophy of) Biology: Some Legitimate Roles Del Ratzsch 343

20 There Is No Place for Intelligent Design in the Philosophy of Biology: Intelligent Design Is Not Science Francisco J. Ayala 364

Index 391

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