The use of the term "biology" to refer to a unified science of life emerged around 1800 (most prominently by scientists such as Lamarck and Treviranus, although scholarship has indicated its usage at least 30-40 years earlier). The interplay between philosophy and natural science has also accompanied the constitution of biology as a science.
Philosophy of Biology Before Biology examines biological and protobiological writings from the mid-eighteenth century to the early nineteenth century (from Buffon to Cuvier; Kant to Oken; and Kielmeyer) with two major sets of questions in mind:
- What were the distinctive conceptual features of the move toward biology as a science?
- What were the relations and differences between the "philosophical" focus on the nature of living entities, and the "scientific" focus?
This insightful volume produces a fresh but also systematic perspective both on the history of biology as a science and on the early versions of, in the 1960s in a post-positivist context, the philosophy of biology. It will appeal to students and researchers interested in fields such as history of science, philosophy of science and biology.
List of Contributors
Cécilia Bognon-Küss & Charles T. Wolfe. The idea of "philosophy of biology before biology": a methodological provocation
Part I. FORM AND DEVELOPMENT
Stéphane Schmitt. Buffon’s theories of generation and the changing dialectics of molds and molecules
Phillip Sloan. Metaphysics and "Vital" Materialism: The Gabrielle Du Châtelet Circle and French Vitalism
John Zammito. The Philosophical Reception of C. F. Wolff’s Epigenesis in Germany, 1770-1790: Herder, Tetens and Kant
Part II. ORGANISM & ORGANIZATION
François Duchesneau. Senebier and the Advent of General Physiology
Tobias Cheung. Organization and Process. Living Systems Between Inner and Outer Worlds: Cuvier, Hufeland, Cabanis.
Part III. SYSTEMS
Georg Toepfer. Philosophy of Ecology Long Before Ecology: Kant’s Idea of an Organized System of Organized Beings
Ina Goy. "All is leaf". Goethe's plant philosophy and poetry
Snait Gissis. 'Biologie': Lamarck's endeavor of a science of living entities
Lynn Nyhart. A Historical Proposal Around Prepositions
Philippe Huneman. Philosophy after Philosophy of Biology before Biology
Cécilia Bognon-Küss and Charles T. Wolfe. Conclusion
Cécilia Bognon-Küss is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Paris 7 ('Who am I?' Labex). Charles T. Wolfe is a researcher in the Department of Philosophy and Moral Sciences, Ghent University, Belgium.