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Academic & Professional Books  History & Other Humanities  Philosophy, Ethics & Religion

Philosophy of Biology

By: Brian Garvey
274 pages, Figs
Philosophy of Biology
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  • Philosophy of Biology ISBN: 9781844650712 Paperback Sep 2007 Not in stock: Usually dispatched within 1 week
  • Philosophy of Biology ISBN: 9781844650705 Hardback Nov 2006 Not in stock: Usually dispatched within 1 week
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About this book

Biology raises distinct questions of its own not only for philosophy of science, but for metaphysics, epistemology and ethics. This book provides a presentation of the key philosophical issues. It covers the philosophical challenges posed by evolution and evolutionary biology, beginning with Darwin's central argument in the Origin of the Species.

Individual chapters cover natural selection, the selfish gene, alternative units of selection, developmental systems theory, adaptionism and issues in macroevolution. The second part of the book examines philosophical questions arising in connection with biological traits, function, nature and nurture, and biological kinds. The third part of the book examines metaphysical questions, biology's relation with the traditional concerns of philosophy of science, and how evolution has been introduced into epistemological debates. The final part considers the relevance of biology to questions about ethics, religion and human nature.


Introduction Part I Darwinism and neo-Darwinism 1. The argument in Darwin's Origin 2. What evolution explains 3. The selfish gene view of evolution Part II Challenges to the consensus 4. Alternative units of selection 5. Panglossianism and its discontents 6. Developmental systems theory Part III Conceptual issues 7. Nature and nurture 8. Function: 'what it's for' versus 'what it does' 9. Biological categories 10. Species and their special problems 11. Biology and philosophy of science Part IV Applications 12. Evolution and epistemology 13. Evolution and religion 14. Evolution and human nature 15. Biology and ethics Bibliography Index

Customer Reviews


Brian Garvey is Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Lancaster.
By: Brian Garvey
274 pages, Figs
Media reviews
An accessibly written introductory textbook that covers considerable ground... views and arguments are explained clearly. Garvey's book illustrates how biology has become relevant for a wide range of disciplines, including epistemology, religion, and ethics. Some of these topics are not always seen as parts of philosophy of biology proper. In taking a broad and inclusive view of philosophy of biology, the book may appeal to a readership with diverse interests and backgrounds. - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science "Brian Garvey's book on the philosophy of biology is an excellent introduction to the topic and deserves to be widely read. Students will come away informed and excited about the subject." - Michael Ruse, Florida State University "An intelligent and engaging book that gives clear and stimulating coverage of a good range of topics in the philosophy of biology." - James Maclaurin, University of Otago
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