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)
This book is the first examination in almost a decade of issues in the philosophy of ecology that have been a source of controversy since the existence of ecology as an explicit scientific discipline. The controversies revolve around the idea of a balance of nature, the possibility of general ecological knowledge and the role of model-building in ecology. The Science of the Struggle for Existence is also the first sustained treatment of these issues that incorporates both a comprehensive investigation of (...) the relevant ecological literature and the development of an explicit theoretical framework in the philosophy of science. It addresses issues in the philosophy of ecology that are of particular importance for the deployment of ecology in the solution of environmental problems. It will have a cross-disciplinary appeal and will interest students and professionals in science, the philosophy of science, environmental studies as well as policy-makers. (shrink)
This book provides a comprehensive guide to the conceptual methodological, and epistemological problems of biology, and treats in depth the major developments in molecular biology and evolutionary theory that have transformed both biology and its philosophy in recent decades. At the same time the work is a sustained argument for a particular philosophy of biology that unifies disparate issues and offers a framework for expectations about the future directions of the life sciences. The argument explores differences between autonomist and anti-autonomist (...) views of biology. The result is a vindication of reductionism, but one that is unexpectedly hollow. For it leaves the exponents of the autonomy of biology from physical science with as much as their view of biology really requires - and rather more than the reductionist might comfortably concede. Professor Rosenberg shows how the problems of the philosophy of biology are interconnected and how their solutions are interdependent, However, this book focuses more on the direct concerns of biologists, rather than the traditional agenda of philosophers' problems about biology. This departure from earlier books on the subject results both in greater understanding and relevance of the philosophy of science to biology as a whole. (shrink)
This book is about the liberation of the concept of life from the bondage fashioned by the interpreters of life ever since biology began, and about the liberation of the life of humans and non-humans alike from the bondage of social structures and behaviour, which now threatens the fullness of life's possibilities if not survival itself. It falls into a tradition of writings about human problems from a perspective informed by biology. It rejects the mechanistic model of life dominant in (...) the Western world and develops an alternative 'ecological model' which is applicable to the life of the cell and the life of the human community. For the first time it brings together in one work the insights of modern biology with those of a modern holistic philosophy and a liberal theology in a way which challenges conventional approaches to science, agriculture, sociology, politics, economics, development and liberation movements. (shrink)
Recent debates about Intelligent Design have brought into high relief the huge schism between those who believe in Darwin and the power of science to understand the world, and those who look through the prism of religious faith. Why, asks eminent philosopher Philip Kitcher, does this debate continue to rage given that the scientific consensus in favor of Darwin is overwhelming? This accessible and elegant essay attempts to answer this question. Kitcher first presents the compelling evidence on behalf of Darwin's (...) evolutionary theory, bringing out with unprecedented clarity the structure of the reasoning that has convinced almost all educated people of its merits during the past century and a half. He then sets the current debate about Intelligent Design in historical context, showing that ID theory is really dead science. Explaining the scientific issues in an elegant and accessible way, Kitcher shows how crucial discoveries successively undermined the Creationist views about life on earth that were once considered scientific orthodoxy. Finally, Kitcher goes on to analyze the recurrent opposition to Darwinian ideas, arguing that they do present a genuine threat to those forms of religion that invoke divine providence. A Darwinian understanding of the history of life makes popular forms of religious faith, including most versions of Christianity and Judaism, hard to sustain. The dispute about Intelligent Design emerges as a symptom of a much deeper problem - the clash between the deep impulses to religion and the discoveries of the natural and human sciences. Kitcher contends that we cannot resolve that clash either by denying these discoveries or by brusquely overriding the underlying impulses. Somehow, we must develop a version of secular humanism that will prove genuinely satisfying. (shrink)
This book explores the epistemological and ethical issues at the foundations of environmental philosophy, emphasizing the conservation of biodiversity. Sahota Sarkar criticizes previous attempts to attribute intrinsic value to nature and defends an anthropocentric position on biodiversity conservation based on an untraditional concept of transformative value. Unlike other studies in the field of environmental philosophy, this book is as much concerned with epistemological issues as with environmental ethics. It covers a broad range of topics, including problems of explanation and prediction (...) in traditional ecology and how individual-based models and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology is transforming ecology. Introducing a brief history of conservation biology, Sarkar analyzes the new consensus framework for conservation planning through adaptive management. He concludes with a discussion of the future directions for theoretical research in conservation biology and environmental philosophy. (shrink)
From environmental justice to environmental citizenship -- Citizens, citizenship and citizenization -- Rethinking environment and citizenship : ecological citizenship as a politics of obligation and virtues -- Environmental governance, social movements and citizenship in a global -- Context -- Corporate responsibility and environmental sustainability -- Environmental borderlands -- Insiders and outsiders in environmental mobilizations in Southeast Asia -- Citizenship generation, NGO campaigns and community-based research -- Acting and changing through lived experience : the new vocabulary of ecological citizenship, a new (...) research strategy. (shrink)
This is a volume of original essays written by philosophers and scientists and dealing with philosophical questions arising from work in evolutionary biology and artificial intelligence. In recent years both of these areas have been the focus for attempts to provide a scientific, model of a wide range of human capacities - most prominently perhaps in sociobiology and cognitive psychology. The book therefore examines a number of issues related to the search for a 'naturalistic' or scientific account of human experience (...) and behaviour. Some of the essays deal with the application of such models to particular behaviour, stressing the problems raised by consciousness, and the information to be derived from the differing capacities of animals and people; others consider more general questions about the logic of the explanations provided by these kinds of approach. The volume continues the informal series stemming from meetings sponsored by the Thyssen Foundation. (shrink)
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.
Does natural selection act primarily on individual organisms, on groups, on genes, or on whole species? The question of levels of selection - on which biologists and philosophers have long disagreed - is central to evolutionary theory and to the philosophy of biology. Samir Okasha's comprehensive analysis gives a clear account of the philosophical issues at stake in the current debate.
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)
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)
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)
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?
The most significant legacy of philosophical skepticism is the realization that our concepts, beliefs and theories are social constructs. This belief has led to epistemological relativism, or the thesis that since there is no ultimate truth about the world, theory preferences are only a matter of opinion. In this book, William Harms seeks to develop the conceptual foundations and tools for a science of knowledge through the application of evolutionary theory, thus allowing us to acknowledge the legacy of skepticism while (...) denying its relativistic offspring. This book will appeal to students and professionals in epistemology and the philosophy of science. (shrink)
Advances in genetic technology in general and medical genetics in particular will enable us to intervene in the process of human biological development which extends from zygotes and embryos to people. This will allow us to control to a great extent the identities and the length and quality of the lives of people who already exist, as well as those we bring into existence in the near and distant future. Genes and Future People explores two general philosophical questions, one metaphysical, (...) the other moral: (1) How do genes, and different forms of genetic intervention (gene therapy, genetic enhancement, presymptomatic genetic testing of adults, genetic testing of preimplantation embryos), affect the identities of the people who already exist and those we bring into existence? and (2) How do these interventions benefit or harm the people we cause to exist in the near future and those who will exist in the distant future by satisfying or defeating their interest in having reasonably long and disease-free lives? Genes and Future People begins by explaining the connection between genes and disease, placing genetic within a framework of evolutionary biology. It then discusses such topics as how genes and genetic intervention influence personal identity, what genetic testing of individuals and the knowledge resulting from it entails about responsibility to others who may be at risk, as well as how gene therapy and genetic enhancement can affect the identities of people and benefit or harm them. Furthermore, it discusses various moral aspects of cloning human beings and body parts. Finally, it explores the metaphysical and moral implications of genetic manipulation of the mechanisms of aging to extend the human life span.The aim Genes and Future People is to move philosophers, bioethicists, and readers in general to reflect on the extent to which genes determine whether we are healthy or diseased, our identities as persons, the quality of our lives, and our moral obligations to future generations of people. (shrink)
The essays in this collection examine developments in three fundamental biological disciplines--embryology, evolutionary biology, and genetics--in conflict with each other for much of the twentieth century. They consider key methodological problems and the difficulty of overcoming them. Richard Burian interweaves historical appreciation of the settings within which scientists work, substantial knowledge of the biological problems at stake and the methodological and philosophical issues faced in integrating biological knowledge drawn from disparate sources.
Are they needed? To be sure. The Darwinian industry, industrious though it is, has failed to provide texts of more than a handful of Darwin's books. If you want to know what Darwin said about barnacles (still an essential reference to cirripedists, apart from any historical importance) you are forced to search shelves, or wait while someone does it for you; some have been in print for a century; various reprints have appeared and since vanished." -Eric Korn,Times Literary Supplement Charles (...) Robert Darwin (1880-1882) has been widely recognized since his own time as one of the most influential writers in the history of Western thought. His books were widely read by specialists and the general public, and his influence had been extended by almost continuous public debate over the last 130 years. New York University Press' edition makes it possible for the first time to review Darwin's public literary output as a whole, plus his scientific journal articles, his private notebooks, and his correspondence. This is the first complete edition containing all of Darwin's published books, featuring definitive texts recording original paginations with Darwin's indexes retained. All illustrations and plates are presented, inclucing 82 color plates of birds and mammals and several folding maps and plates. The set also features a general introduction and index, and textural introductions in each volume. (shrink)
In this study, Clare Palmer challenges the popular conception that process thinking offers an unambiguously positive contribution to the philosophical debate on environmental ethics. She critically examines the approach to ethics which may be derived from the work of process thinkers such as A. N. Whitehead and Charles Hartshorne, pointing out questions about justice and respect for individual integrity which are raised. With these questions in mind, she compares process ethics to a variety of other forms of environmental ethics, as (...) well as deep ecology. This comparative study reveals a number of difficulties associated with process thinking about the environment. Although some reformulations of process philosophy in the light of these difficulties are offered, the author suggests that a question mark should remain over the contribution which process philosophy can make to environmental ethics. (shrink)
What is Life? Decades of research have resulted in the full mapping of the human genome - three billion pairs of code whose functions are only now being understood. The gene's eye view of life, advocated by evolutionary biology, sees living bodies as mere vehicles for the replication of the genetic codes. -/- But for a physiologist, working with the living organism, the view is a very different one. Denis Noble is a world renowned physiologist, and sets out an alternative (...) view to the question - one that becomes deeply significant in terms of the living, breathing organism. The genome is not life itself. Noble argues that far from genes building organisms, they should be seen as prisoners of the organism. -/- The view of life presented in this little, modern, post-genome project reflection on the nature of life, is that of the systems biologist: to understand what life is, we must view it at a variety of different levels, all interacting with each other in a complex web. It is that emergent web, full of feedback between levels, from the gene to the wider environment, that is life. It is a kind of music. -/- Including stories from Noble's own research experience, his work on the heartbeat, musical metaphors, and elements of linguistics and Chinese culture, this very personal and at times deeply lyrical book sets out the systems biology view of life. (shrink)
Profiles three British voyagers who became fierce defenders of Darwin's theory of evolution, tracing the lives and scientific discoveries of Joseph Hooker, Thomas Huxley, and Alfred Wallace during respective voyages to the southern ...
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 definitive work on the philosophical nature and impact of the theories of Charles Darwin, written by a well-known authority on the history and philosophy of Darwinism. Broadly explores the theories of Charles Darwin and Darwin studies Incorporates much information about modern Biology Offers a comprehensive discussion of Darwinism and Christianity – including Creationism – by one of the leading authorities in the field Written in clear, concise, user-friendly language supplemented with quality illustrations Examines the status of evolutionary theory as (...) a genuine theory and its implications for philosophy, epistemology and ethics Provides a strong understanding of the philosophical nature and impact of Darwin's thought Holds wide appeal for general audiences outside the world of academic philosophy Strongly supports Darwinism and fully explores modern naturalistic explanations of religion. (shrink)
David Papineau presents a controversial view of human reason, portraying it as a normal part of the natural world, and drawing on the empirical sciences to illuminate its workings. In these six interconnected essays he discusses both theoretical and practical rationality, and shows how evolutionary theory, decision theory, and quantum mechanics offer fresh approaches to some long-standing problems.
In Life Beyond the Gene, Steven Rose offers a theory of life which insists that we as humans -- and indeed all living creatures -- create our own futures, though in circumstances not of our own choosing. Placing the organism at the center of life, Rose confronts the ideology of reductionism and ultra-Darwinism, with its insistence that all aspects of human life from sexual preference to infanticide, political orientation to violence, male domination to alcoholism, are in our genes and are (...) the inevitable consequences of natural selection. These claims, Rose asserts, are not only socially naive, but fundamentally misunderstand the active and irreducible nature of living processes. Rose argues that life depends on the elaborate web of interactions that occur within cells, organisms, and ecosystems, in which DNA has one part to play. From early in their development, living organisms have to be capable of quasi-independent existence while growing to maturity. If we are to understand life, we must recapture an understanding of the entire living organism and its trajectory through time and space. Rose calls these trajectories lifelines. Provocative and incisive, Life Beyond the Gene provides a compelling response to those enthusiasts of the gene who would deny the complexity of life. (shrink)
Reductionism--understanding complex processes by breaking them into simpler elements--dominates scientific thinking around the world and has certainly proved a powerful tool, leading to major discoveries in every field of science. But reductionism can be taken too far, especially in the life sciences, where sociobiological thinking has bordered on biological determinism. Thus popular science writers such as Richard Dawkins, author of the highly influential The Selfish Gene, can write that human beings are just "robot vehicles blindly programmed to preserve the selfish (...) molecules known as genes." Indeed, for many in science, genes have become the fundamental unit for understanding human existence: genes determine every aspect of our lives, from personal success to existential despair: genes for health and illness, genes for criminality, violence, and sexual orientation. Others would say that this is reductionism with a vengeance. In Lifelines, biologist Steven Rose offers a powerful alternative to the ultradarwinist claims of Dawkins, E.O. Wilson, Daniel Dennett and others. Rose argues against an extreme reductionist approach that would make the gene the key to understanding human nature, in favor of a more complex and richer vision of life. He urges instead that we focus on the organism and in particular on the organism's lifeline: the trajectory it takes through time and space. Our personal lifeline, Rose points out, is unique--even identical twins, with identical genes at birth, will differ over time. These differences are obviously not embedded in our genes, but come about through our developmental trajectory in which genes, as part of the biochemical orchestra of trillions of cells in each human body, have an important part--but only a part--to play. To illustrate this idea, Rose examines recent research in modern biology, and especially two disciplines--genetics (which looks at the impact of genes on form) and developmental biology (which examines the interaction between the organism and the environment)--and he explores new ideas on biological complexity proposed by scientists such as Stuart Kauffman. He shows how our lifelines are constructed through the interplay of physical forces--such as the intrinsic chemistry of lipids and proteins, and the self-organizing and stabilizing properties of complex metabolic webs--and he reaches a startling conclusion: that organisms are active players in their own fate, not simply the playthings of the gods, nature, or the inevitable workings out of gene-driven natural selection. The organism is both the weaver and the pattern it weaves. Lifelines will be a rallying point for all who seek an alternative to the currently fashionable, deeply determinist accounts which dominate popular science writing and, in fact, crowd the pages of some of the major scientific journals. Based on solid, state-of-the-art research, it not only makes important contributions to our understanding of Darwin and natural selection, but will swing the pendulum back to a richer, more complex view of human nature and of life. (shrink)
In the first edition of Radical Ecology --the now classic examination major philosophical, ethical, scientific, and economic roots of environmental problems--Carolyn Merchant responded to the profound awareness of environmental crisis which prevailed in the closing decade of the twentieth century. In this provocative and readable study, Merchant examined the ways that radical ecologists can transform science and society in order to sustain life on this planet. Now in this second edition, Merchant continues to emphasize how laws, regulations and scientific research (...) alone cannot reverse the spread of pollution or restore our dwindling resources. Merchant argues that in order to maintain a livable world, we must formulate new social, economic, scientific, and spiritual approaches that will fundamentally transform human relationships with nature. She analyzes the revolutionary ideas of visionary ecologists for a new economy, society, science, and religion, and examines their efforts to bring environmental problems to the attention of the public. This new edition features a new Introduction from the author, a thorough updating of chapters, and two entirely new chapters on recent global movements and globalization and the environment. It is a timely update that will give students everything they need to know on the most recent philosophical positions and social movements that characterize the radical ecology spectrum. (shrink)