David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Biological Theory 7 (4): 287-297 (2013)
‘‘Theoretical biology’’ is a surprisingly heter- ogeneous field, partly because it encompasses ‘‘doing the- ory’’ across disciplines as diverse as molecular biology, systematics, ecology, and evolutionary biology. Moreover, it is done in a stunning variety of different ways, using anything from formal analytical models to computer sim- ulations, from graphic representations to verbal arguments. In this essay I survey a number of aspects of what it means to do theoretical biology, and how they compare with the allegedly much more restricted sense of theory in the physical sciences. I also tackle a recent trend toward the presentation of all-encompassing theories in the biological sciences, from general theories of ecology to a recent attempt to provide a conceptual framework for the entire set of biological disciplines. Finally, I discuss the roles played by philosophers of science in criticizing and shap- ing biological theorizing.
|Keywords||philosophy of biology biological theory evolutionary theory|
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Nancy Cartwright (1983). How the Laws of Physics Lie. Oxford University Press.
Elliott Sober (1984/1993). The Nature of Selection: Evolutionary Theory in Philosophical Focus. University of Chicago Press.
Ronald N. Giere (1999). Science Without Laws. University of Chicago Press.
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John W. Carroll, Laws of Nature. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
Citations of this work BETA
Helen E. Longino (2013). The Social Life of Scientific Theories: A Case Study From Behavioral Sciences. [REVIEW] Biological Theory 7 (4):390-400.
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