Philosophy Of Biology / Edition 2

Philosophy Of Biology / Edition 2

by Elliott Sober
     
 

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ISBN-10: 0813391261

ISBN-13: 9780813391267

Pub. Date: 01/01/2000

Publisher: Westview Press


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

Overview


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.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780813391267
Publisher:
Westview Press
Publication date:
01/01/2000
Series:
Dimensions of Philosophy Series
Edition description:
REV
Pages:
256
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.70(d)

Table of Contents

List of Boxes and Figuresxi
Acknowledgmentsxiii
Introductionxv
1What Is Evolutionary Theory?1
1.1What Is Evolution?1
1.2The Place of Evolutionary Theory in Biology5
1.3Pattern and Process7
1.4Historical Particulars and General Laws14
1.5The Causes of Evolution18
1.6The Domains of Biology and Physics22
1.7Biological Explanations and Physical Explanations25
Suggestions for Further Reading26
2Creationism27
2.1The Danger of Anachronism27
2.2Paley's Watch and the Likelihood Principle30
2.3Hume's Critique33
2.4Why Natural Selection Isn't a Random Process36
2.5Two Kinds of Similarity39
2.6The Problem of Predictive Equivalence42
2.7Is the Design Hypothesis Unscientific?46
2.8The Incompleteness of Science55
Suggestions for Further Reading57
3Fitness58
3.1An Idealized Life Cycle58
3.2The Interpretation of Probability61
3.3Two Ways to Find Out About Fitness68
3.4The Tautology Problem70
3.5Supervenience74
3.6Advantageousness and Fitness78
3.7Teleology Naturalized83
Suggestions for Further Reading88
4The Units of Selection Problem89
4.1Hierarchy89
4.2Adaptation and Fortuitous Benefit96
4.3Decoupling Parts and Wholes100
4.4Red Herrings102
4.5Examples108
4.6Correlation, Cost, and Benefit111
Suggestions for Further Reading119
5Adaptationism121
5.1What Is Adaptationism?121
5.2How Genetics Can Get in the Way125
5.3Is Adaptationism Untestable?130
5.4The Argument from Complex Traits132
5.5If Optimality Models Are Too Easy to Produce, Let's Make Them Harder133
5.6Game Theory138
Suggestions for Further Reading145
6Systematics146
6.1The Death of Essentialism148
6.2Individuality and the Species Problem152
6.3Three Systematic Philosophies162
6.4Internal Coherence169
6.5Phylogenetic Inference Based on Overall Similarity172
6.6Parsimony and Phylogenetic Inference176
Suggestions for Further Reading187
7Sociobiology and the Extension of Evolutionary Theory188
7.1Biological Determinism189
7.2Does Sociobiology Have an Ideological Function?198
7.3Anthropomorphism Versus Linguistic Puritanism201
7.4Ethics206
7.5Models of Cultural Evolution213
Suggestions for Further Reading220
References221
Index231

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