Philosophy Of Biology / Edition 2

Philosophy Of Biology / Edition 2

by Elliott Sober
     
 


The philosophy of biology has recently seen some of the most dramatic activity among the philosophies of the ”special” sciences. In the second edition of this textbook, Elliot Sober introduces the reader to the most important of these developments. Sober engages both the higher level of theory and the direct implications for such controversial issues… See more details below

Overview


The philosophy of biology has recently seen some of the most dramatic activity among the philosophies of the ”special” sciences. In the second edition of this textbook, Elliot Sober introduces the reader to the most important of these developments. 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
Acknowledgments
Introduction
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 Explanations24
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 Similarity38
2.6The Problem of Predictive Equivalence42
2.7Is the Design Hypothesis Unscientific?46
2.8The Incompleteness of Science54
3Fitness57
3.1An Idealized Life Cycle57
3.2The Interpretation of Probability60
3.3Two Ways to Find Out About Fitness67
3.4The Tautology Problem69
3.5Supervenience73
3.6Advantageousness and Fitness77
3.7Teleology Naturalized82
4The Units of Selection Problem88
4.1Hierarchy88
4.2Adaptation and Fortuitous Benefit95
4.3Decoupling Parts and Wholes98
4.4Red Herrings102
4.5Examples106
4.6Correlation, Cost, and Benefit110
5Adaptationism119
5.1What Is Adaptationism?119
5.2How Genetics Can Get in the Way123
5.3Is Adaptationism Untestable?128
5.4The Argument from Complex Traits129
5.5If Optimality Models Are Too Easy to Produce, Let's Make Them Harder131
5.6Game Theory136
6Systematics143
6.1The Death of Essentialism145
6.2Individuality and the Species Problem149
6.3Three Systematic Philosophies159
6.4Internal Coherence166
6.5Phylogenetic Inference Based on Overall Similarity169
6.6Parsimony and Phylogenetic Inference173
7Sociobiology and the Extension of Evolutionary Theory184
7.1Biological Determinism185
7.2Does Sociobiology Have an Ideological Function?194
7.3Anthropomorphism Versus Linguistic Puritanism197
7.4Ethics202
7.5Models of Cultural Evolution208
References217
About the Book and Author225
Index227

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