Books  Animal & General Biology  Genetics 

Genetics and Philosophy: An Introduction

  • Presents the most recent developments in genetics and discusses the latest philosophical scholarship in the field
  • Situates genetics in the context of the developmental biology of whole organisms, rather than isolating it at the 'molecular level'
  • Discusses developments in genetics within a broad and philosophical focus, suitable for readers without a scientific background

Series: Cambridge Introductions to Philosophy and Biology

By: Paul E Griffiths(Author), Karola Stotz(Author)

280 pages, 18 b/w illustrations, 3 tables

Cambridge University Press

Paperback | Apr 2013 | #228899 | ISBN-13: 9780521173902
Availability: Usually dispatched within 6 days Details
NHBS Price: £20.99 $27/€23 approx
Hardback | Apr 2013 | #228900 | ISBN-13: 9781107002128
Availability: Usually dispatched within 6 days Details
NHBS Price: £48.99 $63/€54 approx

About this book

In the past century, nearly all of the biological sciences have been directly affected by discoveries and developments in genetics, a fast-evolving subject with important theoretical dimensions. In this rich and accessible book, Paul Griffiths and Karola Stotz show how the concept of the gene has evolved and diversified across the many fields that make up modern biology. By examining the molecular biology of the 'environment', they situate genetics in the developmental biology of whole organisms, and reveal how the molecular biosciences have undermined the nature/nurture distinction. Their discussion gives full weight to the revolutionary impacts of molecular biology, while rejecting 'genocentrism' and 'reductionism', and brings the topic right up to date with the philosophical implications of the most recent developments in genetics. Their book will be invaluable for those studying the philosophy of biology, genetics and other life sciences.

"A valuable resource for students and other readers interested in science and philosophy and the history of these fields, along with modern applications of genetic information, including the bioethics of genomic analysis [...] Highly recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through professionals; informed general audiences."
– D. L. Beach, Choice

"Griffiths and Stotz have written an important book. It is a bridge between the way scientists traditionally approach their work and the way philosophers do theirs."
– Elof Axel Carlson, The Quarterly Review of Biology

"[...] offers an in depth study of the current lines of thought in the field of philosophy of science and a thorough and thoughtful critical reflection [...] a relevant book for a diverse audience, including molecular biologists who want to read an in depth philosophical discussion of their field, as well as philosophers of science and philosophers in general."
– Kristien Hens, Ethical Perspectives


1. Mendel's gene
2. The physical gene
3. The behavioural gene
4. The reactive genome
5. Outside the gene
6. The informational gene
7. The evolving gene

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Paul Griffiths is University Professorial Research Fellow at the University of Sydney. He is the author of What Emotions Really Are: The Problem of Psychological Categories (1997) and Sex and Death: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Biology (with K. Sterelny, 1999). He is the editor of Trees of Life: Essays in Philosophy of Biology (1992), Biology and Philosophy (2000) and Cycles of Contingency: Developmental Systems and Evolution (with S. Oyama and R. D. Gray, 2001).

Karola Stotz is an Australian Research Fellow at the University of Sydney in the project 'Postgenomic Perspectives on Human Nature'. She is the editor of Genes, Genomes and Genetic Elements (2004), Reconciling Nature and Nurture in the Study of Behavior and Cognition Research (with C. Allen, 2008) and Philosophy in the Trenches: From Naturalized Philosophy to Experimental Philosophy (of Science) (2009).

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