This is a 'popular science' book, designed as a sequel to our "About Life", though readers need not be familiar with the earlier volume. Indeed, no specialist knowledge is required. The text briefly surveys the nature of science and its emergence in post-Renaissance Europe, and investigates the similarities and differences between biology and other sciences. In this book, major topics in the philosophy of biology (e.g. evolutionary theory, vitalism/mechanism, reductionism/holism, and spontaneous generation) are considered in a little more detail.
1. What is science?; 2. Culture, knowledge and technology; 3. Classical roots; 4. Mediaeval views of the world; 5. The Scientific Revolution; 6. The 'Scientific Revolution' in biology; 7. Aristotle's biology; 8. How different are organisms from inanimate objects?; 9. Cell theory and experimental physiology: new ideas in a changing society; 10. Embryos and entelechy; 11. Spontaneous generation; 12. The evolution of Darwinism; 13. The great heredity debate; 14. Evolutionary theory attains maturity; 15. The problem of purpose; 16. The scientific status of biology; Appendix: science and philosophy, Philosophies of science and scientific practice, The nature of scientific theories, Theory structure and theory change, Experiments, Models; Bibliography; Index of names; Index of subjects
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