The Philosophy of Biology

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Biologists study life in its various physical forms, while philosophy of biology seeks answers to questions about the nature, purpose, and impact of this research. What permits us to distinguish between living and nonliving things even though both are made of the same minerals? Is the complex structure of organisms proof that a creative force is working its will in the physical universe, or are existing life forms the random result of an evolutionary process working itself out over eons of time? What moral questions arise regarding genetic engineering or cloning? What is more relevant to human nature: genetics or sociocultural influences? Are we unique in the universe or might other forms of life exist out there somewhere? Is Darwinism the death-knell of God?
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195182057
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 7/14/2008
  • Series: Oxford Handbooks Series
  • Pages: 656
  • Product dimensions: 6.80 (w) x 9.80 (h) x 2.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael Ruse (Tallahassee, FL) is the Lucyle T. Werkmeister Professor of Philosophy at Florida State University and the author or editor of The Stem Cell Controversy; Cloning: Responsible Science or Technomadness?; Taking Darwin Seriously; Philosophy of Biology; and But Is It Science?, among many other works.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 1
1 The Generation of Animals 28
2 What Is Life? 32
3 Natural Theology 36
4 Origin of Species 41
5 Beyond the Reach of Chance 47
6 Accumulating Small Change 62
7 The Structure of Darwinism 70
8 Darwin's Mistake 85
9 Darwin's Untimely Burial 93
10 Darwinism and the Expansion of Evolutionary Theory 100
11 Beyond Darwinism? The Challenge of Macroevolution to the Synthetic Theory of Evolution 118
12 Species Concepts and Their Application 136
13 The Ontological Status of Species as Evolutionary Units 146
14 Have Species Become Declasse? 156
15 Principles of Classification 167
16 Adaptation and Natural Selection 182
17 Misuse of the Term Strategy 185
18 Teleological Explanations 187
19 Chemical Systems and Chemical Evolution: The Philosophy of Molecular Biology 198
20 The Insights and Oversights of Molecular Genetics: The Place of the Evolutionary Perspective 209
21 Creating the Efficient Gene 222
22 The Recombinant DNA Debate 229
23 Heredity 246
24 Sociobiology and the Theory of Natural Selection 253
25 Say It Just Ain't So: Adaptational Stories and Sociobiological Explanations of Social Behavior 264
26 Huminoids on Other Planets 272
27 The Probability of Extraterrestrial Intelligent Life 279
28 The Challenge of Facts 288
29 Evolution and Ethics 297
30 The Law of the Jungle: Moral Alternatives and Principles of Evolution 303
31 The Evolution of Ethics 313
32 Genesis, Chapters 1 and 2 320
33 The State of Arkansas, Act 590 of 1981 324
34 Creation Science: The Ultimate Fraud 329
35 Welcoming the 'Disguised Friend' - Darwinism and Divinity 337
36 Cloning as Quintessential Human Act 352
37 Taboos without a Clue: Sizing Up Religious Objections to Cloning 357
Bibliographic Essay 363
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