This Is Biology: The Science of the Living World / Edition 1

This Is Biology: The Science of the Living World / Edition 1

by Ernst Mayr
     
 

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ISBN-10: 0674884698

ISBN-13: 9780674884694

Pub. Date: 09/15/1998

Publisher: Harvard

Biology until recently has been the neglected stepchild of science, and many educated people have little grasp of how biology explains the natural world. Yet to address the major political and moral questions that face us today, we must acquire an understanding of their biological roots. This magisterial new book by Ernst Mayr will go far to remedy this situation.

Overview

Biology until recently has been the neglected stepchild of science, and many educated people have little grasp of how biology explains the natural world. Yet to address the major political and moral questions that face us today, we must acquire an understanding of their biological roots. This magisterial new book by Ernst Mayr will go far to remedy this situation. An eyewitness to this century's relentless biological advance and the creator of some of its most important concepts, Mayr is uniquely qualified to offer a vision of science that places biology firmly at the center, and a vision of biology that restores the primacy of holistic, evolutionary thinking.

As he argues persuasively, the physical sciences cannot address many aspects of nature that are unique to life. Living organisms must be understood at every level of organization; they cannot be reduced to the laws of physics and chemistry. Mayr's approach is refreshingly at odds with the reductionist thinking that dominated scientific research earlier in this century, and will help to redirect how people think about the natural world.

This Is Biology can also be read as a "life history" of the discipline--from its roots in the work of Aristotle, through its dormancy during the Scientific Revolution and its flowering in the hands of Darwin, to its spectacular growth with the advent of molecular techniques. Mayr maps out the territorial overlap between biology and the humanities, especially history and ethics, and carefully describes important distinctions between science and other systems of thought, including theology. Both as an overview of the sciences of life and as the culmination of a remarkable life in science, This Is Biology will richly reward professionals and general readers alike.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780674884694
Publisher:
Harvard
Publication date:
09/15/1998
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
352
Sales rank:
908,930
Product dimensions:
6.12(w) x 9.25(h) x (d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Table of Contents

Guide to Topics Covered

Preface

What Is the Meaning of Life?

What Is Science?

How Does Science Explain the Natural World?

How Does Biology Explain the Living World?

Does Science Advance?

How Are the Life Sciences Structured?

"What?" Questions: The Study of Biodiversity

"How?" Questions: The Making of a New Individual

"Why?" Questions: The Evolution of Organisms

What Questions Does Ecology Ask?

Where Do Humans Fit into Evolution?

Can Evolution Account for Ethics?

Notes

Bibliography

Glossary

Guide to Topics Covered

Acknowledgments

Index

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