Is biology a provincial science?

Philosophy of Science 42 (4):428-447 (1975)
My thesis is that biology is most plausibly regarded as a universal, as distinct from a provincial, science. First, I develop the general notion of a provincial science, formulate three criteria for applying the concept, and present brief examples illustrating their use. Second, I argue that a consideration of population genetics as a characteristic example of a basic biological theory strengthens the prior presumption that biology is not a provincial science. Finally, I examine two arguments to the effect that biology is a provincial science. The first concerns biology's exclusively terrestrial evidence base, the second the logical character of its laws. I introduce considerations that weaken the persuasiveness of the first argument and then show that the second one rests upon a false premise and so should be rejected
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DOI 10.1086/288662
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