Philosophy of Biology

Author: Peter Godfrey-Smith
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 1400850444
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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This is a concise, comprehensive, and accessible introduction to the philosophy of biology written by a leading authority on the subject. Geared to philosophers, biologists, and students of both, the book provides sophisticated and innovative coverage of the central topics and many of the latest developments in the field. Emphasizing connections between biological theories and other areas of philosophy, and carefully explaining both philosophical and biological terms, Peter Godfrey-Smith discusses the relation between philosophy and science; examines the role of laws, mechanistic explanation, and idealized models in biological theories; describes evolution by natural selection; and assesses attempts to extend Darwin's mechanism to explain changes in ideas, culture, and other phenomena. Further topics include functions and teleology, individuality and organisms, species, the tree of life, and human nature. The book closes with detailed, cutting-edge treatments of the evolution of cooperation, of information in biology, and of the role of communication in living systems at all scales. Authoritative and up-to-date, this is an essential guide for anyone interested in the important philosophical issues raised by the biological sciences.

Philosophical Logic

Author: John P. Burgess
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 9780691137896
Format: PDF, Kindle
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Philosophical Logic is a clear and concise critical survey of nonclassical logics of philosophical interest written by one of the world's leading authorities on the subject. After giving an overview of classical logic, John Burgess introduces five central branches of nonclassical logic (temporal, modal, conditional, relevantistic, and intuitionistic), focusing on the sometimes problematic relationship between formal apparatus and intuitive motivation. Requiring minimal background and arranged to make the more technical material optional, the book offers a choice between an overview and in-depth study, and it balances the philosophical and technical aspects of the subject. The book emphasizes the relationship between models and the traditional goal of logic, the evaluation of arguments, and critically examines apparatus and assumptions that often are taken for granted. Philosophical Logic provides an unusually thorough treatment of conditional logic, unifying probabilistic and model-theoretic approaches. It underscores the variety of approaches that have been taken to relevantistic and related logics, and it stresses the problem of connecting formal systems to the motivating ideas behind intuitionistic mathematics. Each chapter ends with a brief guide to further reading. Philosophical Logic addresses students new to logic, philosophers working in other areas, and specialists in logic, providing both a sophisticated introduction and a new synthesis.

Genetics and Philosophy

Author: Paul Griffiths
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 1107354765
Format: PDF, Mobi
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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.

Truth

Author: Alexis G. Burgess
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 9781400838691
Format: PDF, ePub
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This is a concise introduction to current philosophical debates about truth. Combining philosophical and technical material, the book is organized around, but not limited to, the view known as deflationism. In clear language, Burgess and Burgess cover a wide range of issues, including the nature of truth, the status of truth-value gaps, the relationship between truth and meaning, relativism and pluralism about truth, and semantic paradoxes from Alfred Tarski to Saul Kripke and beyond. The book provides a rich picture of contemporary philosophical theorizing about truth, one that will be essential reading for philosophy students as well as philosophers specializing in other areas.

Sex and Death

Author: Kim Sterelny
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 022617865X
Format: PDF
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Is the history of life a series of accidents or a drama scripted by selfish genes? Is there an "essential" human nature, determined at birth or in a distant evolutionary past? What should we conserve—species, ecosystems, or something else? Informed answers to questions like these, critical to our understanding of ourselves and the world around us, require both a knowledge of biology and a philosophical framework within which to make sense of its findings. In this accessible introduction to philosophy of biology, Kim Sterelny and Paul E. Griffiths present both the science and the philosophical context necessary for a critical understanding of the most exciting debates shaping biology today. The authors, both of whom have published extensively in this field, describe the range of competing views—including their own—on these fascinating topics. With its clear explanations of both biological and philosophical concepts, Sex and Death will appeal not only to undergraduates, but also to the many general readers eager to think critically about the science of life.

Darwinian Populations and Natural Selection

Author: Peter Godfrey-Smith
Publisher: OUP Oxford
ISBN: 0191609552
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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In 1859 Darwin described a deceptively simple mechanism that he called "natural selection," a combination of variation, inheritance, and reproductive success. He argued that this mechanism was the key to explaining the most puzzling features of the natural world, and science and philosophy were changed forever as a result. The exact nature of the Darwinian process has been controversial ever since, however. Godfrey-Smith draws on new developments in biology, philosophy of science, and other fields to give a new analysis and extension of Darwin's idea. The central concept used is that of a "Darwinian population," a collection of things with the capacity to undergo change by natural selection. From this starting point, new analyses of the role of genes in evolution, the application of Darwinian ideas to cultural change, and "evolutionary transitions" that produce complex organisms and societies are developed. Darwinian Populations and Natural Selection will be essential reading for anyone interested in evolutionary theory

Philosophy of Physics

Author: Tim Maudlin
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 0691143099
Format: PDF, Docs
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Introduces non-physicists to core philosophical issues surrounding the nature & structure of space & time, & is also an ideal resource for physicists interested in the conceptual foundations of space-time theory. Provides a broad historical overview, from Aristotle to Einstein, & covers the Twins Paradox, Galilean relativity, time travel, & more.

Reconstructing the Past

Author: Elliott Sober
Publisher: MIT Press
ISBN: 9780262691444
Format: PDF, Mobi
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Reconstructing the Past seeks to clarify and help resolve the vexing methodological issues that arise when biologists try to answer such questions as whether human beings are more closely related to chimps than they are to gorillas. It explores the case for considering the philosophical idea of simplicity/parsimony as a useful principle for evaluating taxonomic theories of evolutionary relationships.For the past two decades, evolutionists have been vigorously debating the appropriate methods that should be used in systematics, the field that aims at reconstructing phylogenetic relationships among species. This debate over phylogenetic inference, Elliott Sober observes, raises broader questions of hypothesis testing and theory evaluation that run head on into long standing issues concerning simplicity/parsimony in the philosophy of science.Sober treats the problem of phylogenetic inference as a detailed case study in which the philosophical idea of simplicity/parsimony can be tested as a principle of theory evaluation. Bringing together philosophy and biology, as well as statistics, Sober builds a general framework for understanding the circumstances in which parsimony makes sense as a tool of phylogenetic inference. Along the way he provides a detailed critique of parsimony in the biological literature, exploring the strengths and limitations of both statistical and nonstatistical cladistic arguments.

The Philosophy of Biology

Author: David L. Hull
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
ISBN:
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The aim of this series is to bring together important recent writings in major areas of philosophical inquiry, selected from a variety of sources, mostly periodicals, which may not be conveniently available to the university student or the general reader. The editors of each volume contribute an introductory essay on the items chosen and on the questions with which they deal. A selective bibliography is appended as a guide to further reading. The philosophy of biology today is one of the most exciting areas in philosophical inquiry. Drawing on work of the past decade, this volume brings together articles from the philosophy, history, and sociology of science, as well as many branches of the biological sciences, to consider issues including the nature of evolutionary theory, biology and ethics, the challenge from religion, and the social implications of biology today (in particular the Human Genome Project). The 36 articles in this collection are divided into 10 parts, each with an introduction by the editors. Spanning issues from epistemology across to ethics, the volume delves into the latest theoretical controversies as well as burning questions of contemporary social importance. Throughout the volume an attempt is made to offer positions from different perspectives, so that the reader will be challenged as well as informed. The Philosophy of Biology will be essential and fascinating reading for students of philosophy and biology as well as the general reader with an interest in the natural sciences and evolution.

Philosophy of Biology

Author: Alex Rosenberg
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
ISBN: 1405183179
Format: PDF, Docs
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By combining excerpts from key historical writings with editors’ introductions and further reading material, Philosophy of Biology: An Anthology offers a comprehensive, accessible, and up-to-date collection of the field’s most significant works. Addresses central questions such as ‘What is life?’ and ‘How did it begin?’, and the most current research and arguments on evolution and developmental biology Editorial notes throughout the text define, clarify, and qualify ideas, concepts and arguments Includes material on evolutionary psychology and evolutionary developmental biology not found in other standard philosophy of biology anthologies Further reading material assists novices in delving deeper into research in philosophy of biology