The last century saw two great revolutions in genetics the development of classic Mendelian theory and the discovery and investigation of DNA. Each fundamental scientific discovery in turn generated its own distinctive technology. These two case studies, examined in this text, enable the author to conduct a philosophical exploration of the relationship between fundamental scientific discoveries on the one hand, and the technologies that spring from them on the other. As such it is also an exercise in the philosophy of (...) technology. (shrink)
Philosophers have not taken the evolution of human beings seriously enough. If they did, argues Peter Munz, many long-standing philosophical problems would be resolved. One of the philosophical consequences of biology is that all the knowledge produced in evolution is a priori established hypothetically by chance mutation and selective retention rather than by observation and intelligent induction. For organisms as embodied theories, selection is natural. For theories as disembodied organisms, it is artificial. Following Karl Popper, the growth of knowledge is (...) seen to be continuous from "the amoeba to Einstein." Philosophical Darwinism brings perspective to contemporary debates. It has far-reaching implications for cognitive science and artificial intelligence, and questions attempts from the field of biology to reduce mental events to neural processes. Most importantly, it provides a rational postmodern alternative to what the author views as the unreasonable postmodern theories of Kuhn, Lyotard, and Rorty. (shrink)
Reasoning in Biological Discoveries brings together a series of essays which focus on one of the most heavily debated topics of scientific discovery today. Collected together and richly illustrated for the first time in this edition, Darden's essays represent a ground-breaking foray into one of the major problems facing scientists and philosophers of science. Divided into three sections, the essays focus on broad themes, notably historical and philosophical issues at play in discussions of biological mechanism; and the problem of developing (...) and refining reasoning strategies, including interfield relations and anomaly resolution. Published here for the first time, Darden summarizes the philosophy of discovery and elaborates on the role that mechanisms play in biological discovery. Throughout the book, she uses historical case studies to extract advisory reasoning strategies for discovery. Examples in genetics, molecular biology, biochemistry, immunology, neuroscience, and evolutionary biology reveal the process of discovery in action. (shrink)
This is a study of the central questions of explanation in the social sciences, and a defence of 'holism' against 'individualism'. In the first half of the book Susan James sets out very clearly the philosophical background to this controversy. She locates its source not at the analytical level at which most of the debate is usually conducted but at a more fundamental, moral level, in different conceptions of the human individual. In the second half of the book she examines (...) critically three case studies of holistic approaches - Althusser, Poulantzas and the Annales historians - and progressively refines our sense of the strengths and deficiencies of their programmes. She ends by arguing for a form of concessive holism, which offers some accommodation to liberal conceptions of individual autonomy but continues to emphasise the explanatory importance of social regularities and environments. (shrink)
Ecopolitics is a study of environmental awareness--or non-awareness--in contemporary French theory. Arguing that it is now impossible not to think in an ecological way, Verena Andermatt Conley traces the roots of today's concern for the environment back to the intellectual climate of the late '50s and '60s. Major thinkers of 1968, the author argues, changed the way we think the world; this owes much to an ecological awareness that remains at the heart of issues concerning cultural theory in general. The (...) book points to critiques of ecology in the work of Luc Ferry and Jean Baudrillard before turning to more complicated ecological awareness primarily in French thought. The author considers key texts by influential figures such as Michael Serres, Paul Virilio, Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, Michel de Certeau, Helene Cixous and Luce Irigaray. (shrink)
The aim of this book is to show how supramolecular complexity of cell organization can dramatically alter the functions of individual macromolecules within a cell. The emergence of new functions which appear as a consequence of supramolecular complexity, is explained in terms of physical chemistry. The book is interdisciplinary, at the border between cell biochemistry, physics and physical chemistry. This interdisciplinarity does not result in the use of physical techniques but from the use of physical concepts to study biological problems. (...) In the domain of complexity studies, most works are purely theoretical or based on computer simulation. The present book is partly theoretical, partly experimental and theory is always based on experimental results. Moreover, the book encompasses in a unified manner the dynamic aspects of many different biological fields ranging from dynamics to pattern emergence in a young embryo. The volume puts emphasis on dynamic physical studies of biological events. It also develops, in a unified perspective, this new interdisciplinary approach of various important problems of cell biology and chemistry, ranging from enzyme dynamics to pattern formation during embryo development, thus paving the way to what may become a central issue of future biology. (shrink)
This stimulating and wide-ranging book mounts a profound enquiry into some of the most pressing questions of our age, by examining the relationship between biological science and Christianity. The history of biological discovery is explored from the point of view of a leading philosopher and ethicist. What effect should modern biological theory and practice have on Christian understanding of ethics? How much of that theory and practice should Christians endorse? Can Christians, for example, agree that biological changes are not (...) governed by transcendent values, or that there are no clear or essential boundaries between species? To what extent can 'Nature' set our standards? Professor Clark takes a reasoned look at biological theory since Darwin and argues that an orthodox Christian philosophy is better able to accommodate the truth of such theory than is the sort of progressive, meliorist interpretation of Christian doctrine which is usually offered as the properly 'modern' option. (shrink)
The Struggle for Nature outlines and examines the main aspects of current environmental philosophy including deep ecology, social and political ecology, eco-feminism and eco-anarchism. It criticizes the dependency on science of these philosophies and the social problems engendered by them. Jozef Keulartz argues for a post-naturalistic turn in environmental philosophy. The Struggle for Nature presents the most up-to-date arguments in environmental philosophy, which will be valuable reading for anyone interested in applied philosophy, environmental studies or geography.
The genetic code appeared on Earth with the first cells. The codes of cultural evolution arrived almost four billion years later. These are the only codes that are recognized by modern biology. In this book, however, Marcello Barbieri explains that there are many more organic codes in nature, and their appearance not only took place throughout the history of life but marked the major steps of that history. A code establishes a correspondence between two independent 'worlds', and the codemaker is (...) a third party between those 'worlds'. Therefore the cell can be thought of as a trinity of genotype, phenotype and ribotype. The ancestral ribotypes were the agents which gave rise to the first cells. The book goes on to explain how organic codes and organic memories can be used to shed new light on the problems encountered in cell signalling, epigenesis, embryonic development, and the evolution of language. (shrink)
"By combining recent advances in the physical sciences with some of the novel ideas, techniques, and data of modern biology, this book attempts to achieve a new and different kind of evolutionary synthesis. I found it to be challenging, fascinating, infuriating, and provocative, but certainly not dull."--James H, Brown, University of New Mexico "This book is unquestionably mandatory reading not only for every living biologist but for generations of biologists to come."--Jack P. Hailman, Animal Behaviour , review of the first (...) edition "An important contribution to modern evolutionary thinking. It fortifies the place of Evolutionary Theory among the other well-established natural laws."--R.Gessink, TAXON. (shrink)
The Nature of Concepts examines a central issue for all the main disciplines in cognitive science: how the human mind creates and passes on to other human minds a concept. An excellent cross-disciplinary collection with contributors including Steven Pinker, Andy Clarke and Henry Plotkin.
This is the first book-length treatment of the relationship between citizenship and the environment. Andrew Dobson argues that ecological citizenship cannot be fully articulated in terms of the two great traditions of citizenship - liberal and civic republican - with which we have been bequeathed. He develops an original theory of citizenship, which he calls 'post-cosmopolitan', and argues that ecological citizenship is an example and an inflection of it. Ecological citizenship focuses on duties as well as rights, and these duties (...) are owed non-reciprocally, by those individuals and communities who occupy unsustainable amounts of ecological space, to those who occupy too little. (shrink)
What are the agents of life? Central to our conception of the biological world is the idea that it contains various kinds of individuals, including genes, organisms, and species. How we conceive of these agents of life is central to our understanding of the relationship between life and mind, the place of hierarchical thinking in the biological sciences, and pluralistic views of biological agency. Genes and the Agents of Life rethinks the place of the individual in the biological sciences, drawing (...) parallels with the cognitive and social sciences. Genes, organisms, and species are all agents of life, but how are each of these conceptualized within genetics, developmental biology, evolutionary biology, and systematics? The book includes highly accessible discussions of genetic encoding, species and natural kinds, and pluralism above the levels of selection, drawing on work from across the biological sciences. A companion to Boundaries of the Mind, (Cambridge, 2004) where the focus is on the cognitive sciences, this volume will appeal to professionals and students in philosophy, biology, and the history of science. Robert A. Wilson is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Alberta. He is the author of Cartesian Psychology and Physical Minds (Cambridge, 1995). (shrink)
Drawing on the disciplines of Islamic and Christian Ethics, International Affairs, Environmental Science, History and Anthropology, Sustainable Diplomacy: Ecology, Religion and Ethics in Muslim-Christian Relations is a highly constructive work. Set in the context of modern Moroccan-Spanish relations, this text is a direct critique of realism as it is practiced in modern diplomacy. Proposing a new eco-centric approach to relations between nation-states and bioregions, Wellman presents the case for Ecological Realism, an undergirding philosophy for conducting a diplomacy that values the (...) role of popular religions, ecological histories, and the consumption and waste patterns of national populations. Sustainable Diplomacy is thus a means of building relations not only between elites but also between people on the ground, as they together face the real possibility of global ecological destruction. (shrink)
This volume analyzes authoritarian, reformist, Marxist and anarchist approaches to the environmental problem, exposing the relationships between environmental crises, economic structures and the role of the state.
Presents a provocatively anthropocentric analysis of the way forward for green politics and environmental movements, exposing the deficiencies and contradictions of green approaches to post-modern politics and deep ecology. This title available in eBook format. Click here for more information . Visit our eBookstore at: www.ebookstore.tandf.co.uk.
The formal systems of logic have ordinarily been regarded as independent of biology, but recent developments in evolutionary theory suggest that biology and logic may be intimately interrelated. In this book, Cooper outlines a theory of rationality in which logical law emerges as an intrinsic aspect of evolutionary biology. This biological perspective on logic, though at present unorthodox, could change traditional ideas about the reasoning process. Cooper examines the connections between logic and evolutionary biology and illustrates how logical rules are (...) derived directly from evolutionary principles, and therefore have no independent status of their own. Laws of decision theory, utility theory, induction, and deduction are reinterpreted as natural consequences of evolutionary processes. Cooper's connection of logical law to evolutionary theory results in a unified foundation for an evolutionary science of reason. (shrink)
Elliott Sober is one of the leading philosophers of science and is a former winner of the Lakatos Prize, the major award in the field. This new collection of essays will appeal to a readership that extends well beyond the frontiers of the philosophy of science. Sober shows how ideas in evolutionary biology bear in significant ways on traditional problems in philosophy of mind and language, epistemology, and metaphysics. Amongst the topics addressed are psychological egoism, solipsism, and the interpretation of (...) belief and utterance, empiricism, Ockham's razor, causality, essentialism, and scientific laws. The collection will prove invaluable to a wide range of philosophers, primarily those working in the philosophy of science, the philosophy of mind, and epistemology. (shrink)
Since antiquity, philosophers and engineers have tried to take life’s measure by reproducing it. Aiming to reenact Creation, at least in part, these experimenters have hoped to understand the links between body and spirit, matter and mind, mechanism and consciousness. Genesis Redux examines moments from this centuries-long experimental tradition: efforts to simulate life in machinery, to synthesize life out of material parts, and to understand living beings by comparison with inanimate mechanisms. Jessica Riskin collects seventeen essays from distinguished scholars in (...) several fields. These studies offer an unexpected and far-reaching result: attempts to create artificial life have rarely been driven by an impulse to reduce life and mind to machinery. On the contrary, designers of synthetic creatures have generally assumed a role for something nonmechanical. The history of artificial life is thus also a history of theories of soul and intellect. Taking a historical approach to a modern quandary, Genesis Redux is essential reading for historians and philosophers of science and technology, scientists and engineers working in artificial life and intelligence, and anyone engaged in evaluating these world-changing projects. (shrink)
At least since Darwin's Origin of Species was published in 1859, it has increasingly become accepted that the existence of God is, intellectually, a lost cause, and that religious faith is an entirely non-rational matter--the province of those who willingly refuse to accept the dramatic advances of modern cosmology. Are belief in God and belief in science really mutually exclusive? Or, as noted philosopher of science and religion Richard Swinburne puts forth, can the very same criteria which scientists use to (...) reach theories about everything from DNA to the Big Bang be used to argue for the existence of God? In Is There a God? Swinburne presents a powerful and approachable case for the existence of God. Using the methods of scientific reasoning, Swinburne rigorously argues that science, far from replacing God, provides good grounds for belief in God. With each new discovery and advance, from black holes to quarks, superstrings to continuing evolution, science brings us closer to a complete understanding of how things work--but science can only go so far. Though it can explain much of how the universe works, science doesn't tell us why there is a universe at all. We can understand much of how life evolved, but why is there any life on earth? We can name and explicate scientific laws, but how is it that they operate in the universe? The Darwinian theory holds that the complex animal and human bodies that are here today exist because, ages ago, there were certain chemicals on earth, and given the laws of evolution, it was probable that complex organisms would emerge. But why those laws rather than any other? Why those chemicals? In Swinburne's view, the ultimate grand unifying theory is possible only by a belief in what he calls theism, acknowledging the existence of God: it was God who brought about the natural laws so that humans and animals would evolve. The watch may have been made, Swinburne asserts in reference to Richard Dawkins, with the aid of some blind screwdrivers (or even a blind watchmaking machine), but they were guided by a watchmaker with some very clear sight. At the heart of his argument is Swinburne's belief that the very success of science in showing us how deeply ordered the natural world is provides strong grounds for believing there is an even deeper cause of that order. By embracing a belief in God that acknowledges the truth in science, Swinburne's elegant argument supplies an essential spiritual element to our understanding of order and beauty, the structure beneath the chaos of the natural world. This informed and provocative volume will be essential reading for all readers of popular science, philosophy, and religion. (shrink)
This book looks anew at the question of nature preservation as public policy. The philosophy of nature preservation has to date focused on whether arguments for nature preservation should be centred on the value of nature itself or derived human benefits . This book argues that this way of thinking about the problem of preservation has been counter-productive for environmental ethics. Instead we need to unite both views around a concern for the irreplaceability of natural objects.
Holmes Rolston challenges the sociobiological orthodoxy that would naturalize science, ethics, and religion. The book argues that genetic processes are not blind, selfish, and contingent, and that nature is therefore not value-free. The author examines the emergence of complex biodiversity through evolutionary history. Especially remarkable in this narrative is the genesis of human beings with their capacities for science, ethics, and religion. A major conceptual task of the book is to relate cultural genesis to natural genesis. There is also a (...) general account of how values are created and transmitted in both natural and human cultural history. The book is thoroughly up-to-date on current biological thought and is written by one of the most well-respected figures in the philosophy of biology and religion. (shrink)
In this systematic introduction to the philosophy of Charles S. Peirce, the author focuses on four of Peirce's fundamental conceptions: pragmatism and Peirce's development of it into what he called 'pragmaticism'; his theory of signs; his phenomenology; and his theory that continuity is of prime importance for philosophy. He argues that at the centre of Peirce's philosophical project is a unique form of metaphysical realism, whereby continuity and evolutionary change are both necessary for our understanding of experience. In his (...) final chapter Professor Hausman applies this version of realism to contemporary controversies between anti-realists and anti-idealists. Peirce's views are compared to those of such contemporary figures as Davidson, Putnam, and Rorty. The book will be of particular interest to philosophers concerned with American philosophy and current debates on realism as well as linguists working in semiotics. (shrink)
This new volume in the acclaimed Oxford Readings in Philosophy sereis offers a selection of the most important philosophical work being done in the new and fast-growing interdisciplinary area of artificial life. Artificial life research seeks to synthesize the characteristics of life by artificial means, particularly employing computer technology. The essays here explore such fascinating themes as the nature of life, the relation between life and mind, and the limits of technology.
The hatchet and the seed -- A tree with deep roots -- The critical tools -- A field crystallizes -- Destruction of nature -- Construction of nature -- Degradation and marginalization -- Conservation and control -- Environmental conflict -- Environmental identity and social movement -- Where to now?
We hope—even as we doubt—that the environmental crisis can be controlled. Public awareness of our species’ self-destructiveness as material beings in a material world is growing—but so is the destructiveness. The practical interventions needed for saving and restoring the earth will require a collective shift of such magnitude as to take on a spiritual and religious intensity.This transformation has in part already begun. Traditions of ecological theology and ecologically aware religious practice have been preparing the way for decades. Yet these (...) traditions still remain marginal to society, academy, and church. With a fresh, transdisciplinary approach, Ecospirit probes the possibility of a green shift radical enough to permeate the ancient roots of our sensibility and the social sources of our practice. From new language for imagining the earth as a living ground to current constructions of nature in theology, science, and philosophy; from environmentalism’s questioning of postmodern thought to a garden of green doctrines, rituals, and liturgies for contemporary religion, these original essays explore and expand our sense of how to proceed in the face of an ecological crisis that demands new thinking and acting. In the midst of planetary crisis, they activateimagination, humor, ritual, and hope. (shrink)
In this concisely argued, short new book, well-known philosopher Naomi Zack explores the scientific and philosophical problems in applying a biological conception of race to human beings. Through the systematic analysis of up-to-date data and conclusions in population genetics, transmission genetics, and biological anthropology, Zack provides a comprehensive conceptual account of how "race" in the ordinary sense has no basis in science. Her book combats our everyday understanding of race as a scientifically supported taxonomy of human beings, and in (...) conclusion challenges us to be clear about what we mean by "race" and what it would require to remedy racism. (shrink)
"It's all in the genes." Is this true, and if so, what is all in the genes? Genes: A Philosophical Inquiry is a crystal clear and highly informative guide to a debate none of us can afford to ignore. Beginning with a much-needed overview of the relationship between science and technology, Gordon Graham lucidly explains and assesses the most important and controversial aspects of the genes debate: Darwinian theory and its critics, the idea of the "selfish" gene, evolutionary psychology, memes, (...) genetic screening and modification, including the risks of cloning and "designer" babies. The author considers areas often left out of the genes debate, such as the environmental risks of genetic engineering and how we should think about genes in the wider context of debates on science, knowledge and religion. Gordon Graham asks whether genetic engineering might be introducing God back into the debate and whether the risks of a brave new genetic world outweigh the potential benefits. Essential reading for anyone interested in science, technology, and philosophy, Genes: A Philosophical Inquiry is ideal for those wanting to find out more about the ethical implications of genetics and the future of biotechnology. (shrink)