Gould on laws in biological science

Biology and Philosophy 12 (3):357-367 (1997)
Are there laws in evolutionary biology? Stephen J. Gould has argued that there are factors unique to biological theorizing which prevent the formulation of laws in biology, in contradistinction to the case in physics and chemistry. Gould offers the problem of complexity as just such a fundamental barrier to biological laws in general, and to Dollos Law in particular. But I argue that Gould fails to demonstrate: (1) that Dollos Law is not law-like, (2) that the alleged failure of Dollos Law demonstrates why there cannot be laws in biological science, and (3) that complexity is a fundamental barrier to nomologicality.
Keywords Stephen J. Gould  biological laws  complexity  Dollo
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DOI 10.1023/A:1006596323198
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