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This is Biology: The Science of the Living World

By: Ernst Mayr

323 pages, no illustrations

Harvard University Press

Paperback | Dec 1998 | #96179 | ISBN: 0674884698
Availability: Usually dispatched within 4 days Details
NHBS Price: £19.95 $26/€23 approx
Hardback | Dec 1997 | #65494 | ISBN: 067488468X
Out of Print Details

About this book

A book which has many levels, Mayr's magnificent tour-de-force can be read as a `life-history' of the discipline - from its roots in the work of Aristotle, through its dormancy through the Scientific Revolution and its flowering in the hands of Darwin, to the spectacular growth with the advent of molecular techniques. It also has a evangelical element: 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. Mayr's persuasiveness will go far to remedy this situation and will help to redirect how people think about the natural world. As he argues, 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.


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?.

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Ernst Mayr is Alexander Agassiz Professor of Zoology, Emeritus, at Harvard University. He is also the recipient of numerous honorary degrees and awards, including the Crafoord Prize for Biology, the National Medal of Science, the Balzan Prize, and the Japan Prize.

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