History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences

ISSNs: 0391-9714, 1742-6316

42 found

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  1.  82
    The concepts and origins of cell mortality.Pierre M. Durand & Grant Ramsey - 2023 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 45 (23):1-23.
    Organismal death is foundational to the evolution of life, and many biological concepts such as natural selection and life history strategy are so fashioned only because individuals are mortal. Organisms, irrespective of their organization, are composed of basic functional units—cells—and it is our understanding of cell death that lies at the heart of most general explanatory frameworks for organismal mortality. Cell death can be exogenous, arising from transmissible diseases, predation, or other misfortunes, but there are also endogenous forms of death (...)
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  2.  12
    Evolution within the body: The rise and fall of somatic Darwinism in the late nineteenth century.Bartlomiej Swiatczak - 2023 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 45 (8):1-27.
    Originating in the work of Ernst Haeckel and Wilhelm Preyer, and advanced by a Prussian embryologist, Wilhelm Roux, the idea of struggle for existence between body parts helped to establish a framework, in which population cell dynamics rather than a predefined harmony guides adaptive changes in an organism. Intended to provide a causal-mechanical view of functional adjustments in body parts, this framework was also embraced later by early pioneers of immunology to address the question of vaccine effectiveness and pathogen resistance. (...)
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  3. Minding the gap: discovering the phenomenon of chemical transmission in the nervous system.William Bechtel - 2023 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 45 (4):1-33.
    The neuron doctrine, according to which nerves consist of discontinuous neurons, presented investigators with the challenge of determining what activities occurred between them or between them and muscles. One group of researchers, dubbed the sparks, viewed the electrical current in one neuron as inducing a current in the next neuron or in muscles. For them there was no gap between the activities of neurons or neurons and muscles that required filling with a new type of activity. A competing group, the (...)
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  4.  3
    Between the genotype and the phenotype lies the microbiome: symbiosis and the making of ‘postgenomic’ knowledge.Cécile Fasel & Luca Chiapperino - 2023 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 45 (4):1-24.
    Emphatic claims of a “microbiome revolution” aside, the study of the gut microbiota and its role in organismal development and evolution is a central feature of so-called postgenomics; namely, a conceptual and/or practical turn in contemporary life sciences, which departs from genetic determinism and reductionism to explore holism, emergentism and complexity in biological knowledge-production. This paper analyses the making of postgenomic knowledge about developmental symbiosis in Drosophila melanogaster by a specific group of microbiome scientists. Drawing from both practical philosophy of (...)
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  5.  1
    Collecting human remains in nineteenth-century Paris: the case of the Société Anatomique de Paris and the Musée Dupuytren.Juliette Ferry-Danini - 2023 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 45 (4):1-25.
    This paper describes the scientific practices of the anatomists from the Société Anatomique de Paris (1803–1873) who were collecting anatomical and pathological specimens in Nineteenth-Century Paris and which led to the building of the anatomy and pathology Musée Dupuytren (1835–2016). The framework introduced by Robert Kohler to describe collecting sciences (2007) is useful as a tool to identify the set of diverse practices within pathological anatomy in nineteenth-century Paris. However, I will argue that anatomy and pathology collecting had specific features (...)
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  6.  3
    Mathias Grote, Membranes to molecular machines: active matter and the remaking of life, The University of Chicago Press, 2019.Shivangi Pandey - 2023 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 45 (4):1-3.
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  7. Croizat’s form-making, RNA networks, and biogeography.Lynne R. Parenti & Karin Mahlfeld - 2023 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 45 (4):1-11.
    Advances in technology have increased our knowledge of the processes that effect genomic changes and of the roles of RNA networks in biocommunication, functionality, and evolution of genomes. Natural genetic engineering and genomic inscription occur at all levels of life: cell cycles, development, and evolution. This has implications for phylogenetic studies and for biogeography, particularly given the general acceptance of using molecular clocks as arbiters between vicariance and dispersal explanations in biogeography. Léon Croizat’s development of panbiogeography and his explanation for (...)
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  8. Kersten T. Hall, Insulin—the crooked timber: a history from thick brown muck to wall street gold, Oxford: Oxford university press, 2021.Neelanjana Ray - 2023 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 45 (4):1-3.
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  9. Andrew S. Reynolds, The third lens: metaphor and the creation of modern cell biology, Chicago: the Chicago University Press, 2018.Varsha Nallthambi Tamilkumar - 2023 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 45 (4):1-3.
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  10.  8
    Finding value-ladenness in evolutionary psychology: Examining Nelson’s arguments.Yuichi Amitani - 2023 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 45 (3):1-14.
    Faced with the charge of value-ladenness in their theories, researchers in evolutionary psychology (EP) argue that their science is entirely free of values; their hypotheses only concern scientific facts, without any socio-cultural value judgments. Lynn Hankinson Nelson, a renowned feminist scholar of science, denies this. In her book and papers, Nelson finds that their hypotheses do contain evaluative components. One such example is the fear of snakes. While this fear was adaptive to the environment in the past, evolutionary psychologists argue (...)
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  11.  7
    Georg Striedter, Model Systems in Biology: History, Philosophy, and Practical Concerns, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2022.Nina Atanasova - 2023 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 45 (3):1-4.
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  12.  14
    The machine-organism relation revisited.Lorenzo Baravalle & Maurizio Esposito - 2023 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 45 (3):1-23.
    This article addresses some crucial assumptions that are rarely acknowledged when organisms and machines are compared. We begin by presenting a short historical reconstruction of the concept of “machine.” We show that there has never been a unique and widely accepted definition of “machine” and that the extant definitions are based on specific technologies. Then we argue that, despite the concept's ambiguity, we can still defend a more robust, specific, and useful notion of machine analogy that accounts for successful strategies (...)
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  13.  11
    Hodgkin’s and Huxley’s own assessments of their “quantitative description” of nerve membrane current.John Bickle - 2023 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 45 (3):1-20.
    Alan Hodgkin’s and Andrew Huxley’s mid-20th century work on the ionic currents generating neuron action potentials stands among that century’s great scientific achievements. Unsurprisingly, that case has attracted widespread attention from neuroscientists, historians and philosophers of science. In this paper, I do not propose to add any new insights into the vast historical treatment of Hodgkin’s and Huxley’s scientific discoveries in that much- discussed episode. Instead, I focus on an aspect of it that hasn’t received much attention: Hodgkin’s and Huxley’s (...)
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  14.  7
    Claude Bernard’s non reception of Darwinism.Ghyslain Bolduc & Caroline Angleraux - 2023 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 45 (3):1-26.
    The aim of this paper is to explain why, while Charles Darwin was well recognized as a scientific leader of his time, Claude Bernard never really regarded Darwinism as a scientific theory. The lukewarm reception of Darwin at the Académie des Sciences of Paris and his nomination to a chair only after 8 years contrasts with his prominence, and Bernard’s attitude towards Darwin’s theory of species evolution belongs to this French context. Yet we argue that Bernard rejects the scientific value (...)
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  15.  2
    Cropping synonymy: varietal standardization in the United States, 1900–1970.Tad Brown - 2023 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 45 (3):1-27.
    This article examines crop varietal standardization in the United States. Numerous committees formed in the early twentieth century to address the problem of nomenclatural rules in the horticultural and agricultural industries. Making shared reference to a varietal name proved a difficult proposition for seed-borne crops because plant conformity tended to change in the hands of different breeders. Moreover, scientific and commercial opinions diverged on the value of deviations within crop varieties. I review the function of descriptive difference in the seed (...)
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  16.  16
    Historiographical approaches to biogeography: a critical review. [REVIEW]Fabiola Juárez-Barrera, David Espinosa, Juan J. Morrone, Ana Barahona & Alfredo Bueno-Hernández - 2023 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 45 (3):1-23.
    We performed a critical review of the historiographical studies on biogeography. We began with the pioneering works of Augustin and Alphonse de Candolle. Then, we analyzed the historical accounts of biogeography developed by (1) Martin Fichman and his history on the extensionism-permanentism debate; (2) Gareth Nelson and his critique of the Neo-Darwinian historiography of biogeography; (3) Ernst Mayr, with his dispersalist viewpoint; (4) Alan Richardson, who wrote a microhistory on the biogeographic model constructed by Darwin; (5) Michael Paul Kinch and (...)
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  17.  3
    Cailin O’Connor and James Owen Weatherall, The Misinformation Age: How False Beliefs Spread, New Haven: Yale University Press, 2018.Davis Kuykendall - 2023 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 45 (3):1-4.
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  18. Ben Bradley, Darwin’s psychology. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2020. [REVIEW]Greg Priest - 2023 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 45 (3):1-4.
  19.  5
    Correction to: From technique to normativity: the influence of Kant on Georges Canguilhem’s philosophy of life.Emiliano Sfara - 2023 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 45 (3):1-2.
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  20.  5
    Maya J. Goldenberg, Vaccine Hesitancy: Public Trust, Expertise, and the War on Science, Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2021.Soumya Swain - 2023 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 45 (3):1-3.
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  21.  5
    Kōzai Toyoko. Shutō to iu "eisei": Kinsei Nihon ni okeru yobō sesshu no rekishi [The Road to Immunization: A History of Smallpox in Early Modern Japan]. Tokyo: Tōkyō daigaku shuppankai, 2019.Daniel Trambaiolo - 2023 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 45 (3):1-4.
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  22.  24
    A controversy about chance and the origins of life: thermodynamicist Ilya Prigogine replies to molecular biologist Jacques Monod.Emanuel Bertrand - 2023 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 45 (2):1-23.
    The ancient, interlinked questions about the role of chance in the living world and the origins of life, gained new relevance with the development of molecular biology in the twentieth century. In 1970, French molecular biologist Jacques Monod, joint winner of the 1965 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, devoted a popular book on modern biology and its philosophical implications to these questions, which was quickly translated into English as _Chance and Necessity_. Nine years later, Belgian thermodynamicist Ilya Prigogine, 1977 (...)
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  23.  11
    Thinking in 3 dimensions: philosophies of the microenvironment in organoids and organs-on-chip.Silvia Caianiello, Marta Bertolaso & Guglielmo Militello - 2023 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 45 (2):1-35.
    Organoids and organs-on-a-chip are currently the two major families of 3D advanced organotypic in vitro culture systems, aimed at reconstituting miniaturized models of physiological and pathological states of human organs. Both share the tenets of the so-called “three-dimensional thinking”, a Systems Physiology approach focused on recapitulating the dynamic interactions between cells and their microenvironment. We first review the arguments underlying the “paradigm shift” toward three-dimensional thinking in the in vitro culture community. Then, through a historically informed account of the technical (...)
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  24.  5
    Paris or Berlin? Claude Bernard’s rivalry with Emil du Bois-Reymond.Gabriel Finkelstein - 2023 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 45 (2):1-21.
    Claude Bernard (1813–1878) and Emil du Bois-Reymond (1818–1896) rank as two of the most influential scientists of the nineteenth century. Renowned for their experiments, lectures, and writing, Bernard and du Bois-Reymond earned great prestige as professors of physiology in a time when Paris and Berlin reigned as capitals of science. Yet even though they were equals in every way, du Bois-Reymond’s reputation has fallen far more than Bernard’s. This essay compares aspects of the two men’s attitudes to philosophy, history, and (...)
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  25.  10
    Timeless spaces: Field experiments in the physiological study of circadian rhythms, 1938–1963.Kristin D. Hussey - 2023 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 45 (2):1-25.
    In the middle of the twentieth century, physiologists interested in human biological rhythms undertook a series of field experiments in natural spaces that they believed could closely approximate conditions of biological timelessness. With the field of rhythms research was still largely on the fringes of the life sciences, natural spaces seemed to offer unique research opportunities beyond what was available to physiologists in laboratory spaces. In particular, subterranean caves and the High Arctic became archetypal ‘natural laboratories’ for the study of (...)
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  26.  4
    Sorting sex, controlling sex: Masui Kiyoshi’s chicken research and experimental system, 1915–1950.Kyoryen Hwang - 2023 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 45 (2):1-25.
    Masui Kiyoshi (1887–1981), a prominent Japanese geneticist, is best known for inventing the sex-sorting method of chicks and his contributions to experimental genetics in Japan. Masui drew inspiration from Goldschmidt’s sex determination theory and used chickens, transplantation techniques, and his own “chick sexing” methods in his scientific work. This paper examines the intersection of genetics and industrial breeding by tracing the evolution of Masui’s experimental systems. During the early 20th century, poultry farming emerged as a significant industry in Japan, resulting (...)
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  27.  7
    Technology in scientific practice: how H. J. Muller used the fruit fly to investigate the X-ray machine.Svit Komel - 2023 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 45 (2):1-34.
    Since the practice turn, the role technologies play in the production of scientific knowledge has become a prominent topic in science studies. Much existing scholarship, however, either limits technology to merely mechanical instrumentation or uses the term for a wide variety of items. This article argues that technologies in scientific practice can be understood as a result of past scientific knowledge becoming sedimented in materials, like model organisms, synthetic reagents or mechanical instruments, through the routine use of these materials in (...)
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  28.  4
    Correction: Heredity as a problem. On Claude Bernard’s failed attempts at resolution.Laurent Loison - 2023 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 45 (2):1-1.
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  29.  4
    History, philosophy, and science education: reflections on genetics 20 years after the human genome project.Robert Meunier - 2023 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 45 (2):1-8.
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  30.  6
    On diversity of human-nature relationships in environmental sciences and its implications for the management of ecological crisis.L. Mouysset - 2023 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 45 (2):1-20.
    Decision makers addressing the ecological crisis face the challenge of considering complex ecosystems in their socioeconomic decisions. Complementary to ecological sciences, other scientific frameworks, grouped under the umbrella term environmental sciences, offer decision makers the opportunity to pursue sustainable paths. Because the environmental sciences are drawn from different branches of science, environmental ethics must go beyond the legacy of ecology and the life sciences to describe the contribution of scientific knowledge to addressing the ecological crisis. In this regard, I analyze (...)
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  31.  6
    Claude Bernard and life in the laboratory.Hans-Joerg Rheinberger - 2023 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 45 (2):1-14.
    Much has been written on Claude Bernard as a relentless promoter of the experimental method in physiology. Although the paper will touch Bernard’s experimental intuitions and his experimental practice as well, its focus is slightly different. It will address the laboratory, that is, the space in which experimentation in the life sciences takes place, and it will analyze the scattered remarks that Bernard made on the topic both in his books and in his posthumously published writings. The paper is divided (...)
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  32.  6
    From technique to normativity: the influence of Kant on Georges Canguilhem’s philosophy of life.Emiliano Sfara - 2023 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 45 (2):1-33.
    Many historical studies tend to underline two central Kantian themes frequently emerging in Georges Canguilhem’s works: (1) a conception of activity, primarily stemming from the Critique of Pure Reason, as a mental and abstract synthesis of judgment; and (2) a notion of organism, inspired by the Critique of Judgment, as an integral totality of parts. Canguilhem was particularly faithful to the first theme from the 1920s to the first half of the 1930s, whereas the second theme became important in the (...)
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  33.  8
    Overlooked contributions of Ayurveda literature to the history of physiology of digestion and metabolism.Aparna Singh, Sonam Agrawal, Kishor Patwardhan & Sangeeta Gehlot - 2023 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 45 (2):1-19.
    Ayurveda is a traditional system of healthcare that is native to India and has a rich documented literature of its own. Most of the historians agree that the documentation of core Ayurveda literature took place approximately in between 400 BCE and 200 CE, while acknowledging that the roots of its theoretical framework can be traced back to a much earlier period. For multiple reasons many significant contributions of Ayurveda literature to various streams of biological and medical sciences have remained under-recognized (...)
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  34. The Essentialism of Early Modern Psychiatric Nosology.Hein van den Berg - 2023 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 45 (2):1-25.
    Are psychiatric disorders natural kinds? This question has received a lot of attention within present-day philosophy of psychiatry, where many authors debate the ontology and nature of mental disorders. Similarly, historians of psychiatry, dating back to Foucault, have debated whether psychiatric researchers conceived of mental disorders as natural kinds or not. However, historians of psychiatry have paid little to no attention to the influence of (a) theories within logic, and (b) theories within metaphysics on psychiatric accounts of proper method, and (...)
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  35.  7
    Anneli Jefferson, Are Mental Disorders Brain Disorders?, London: Routledge, 2022.Héloïse Athéa - 2023 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 45 (1):1-4.
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  36.  3
    Human genetics in post-WWII Italy: blood, genes and platforms.Mauro Capocci - 2023 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 45 (1):1-17.
    Italian Life sciences in post-WWII faced important challenges: the reconstruction of a scientific panorama suffering heavily after two decades of Fascism and the damages of war. Modernization was not only a matter of recreating a favorable environment for research, by modernizing Italian biomedical institutions and connecting the Italian scientists with the new ideas coming from abroad. The introduction of new genetics required a new array of concepts and instruments, but also, the ability to connect to international networks and to become (...)
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  37.  4
    The legal relevance of a minor patient’s wish to die: a temporality-related exploration of end-of-life decisions in pediatric care.Jozef H. H. M. Dorscheidt - 2023 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 45 (1):1-24.
    Decisions regarding the end-of-life of minor patients are amongst the most difficult areas of decision-making in pediatric health care. In this field of medicine, such decisions inevitably occur early in human life, which makes one aware of the fact that any life—young or old—cannot escape its temporal nature. Belgium and the Netherlands have adopted domestic regulations, which conditionally permit euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide in minors who experience hopeless and unbearable suffering. One of these conditions states that the minor involved must (...)
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  38.  3
    Heredity as a problem. On Claude Bernard’s failed attempts at resolution.Laurent Loison - 2023 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 45 (1):1-21.
    Heredity has been dismissed as an insignificant object in Claude Bernard’s physiology, and the topic is usually ignored by historians. Yet, thirty years ago, Jean Gayon demonstrated that Bernard did elaborate on the subject. The present paper aims at reassessing the issue of heredity in Claude Bernard’s project of a “general physiology”. My first claim is that Bernard’s interest in heredity was linked to his ambitious goal of redefining general physiology in relation to morphology. In 1867, not only was morphology (...)
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  39.  7
    Circulating bodies: human-animal movements in science and medicine.Dmitriy Myelnikov, Robert G. W. Kirk & Sabina Leonelli - 2023 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 45 (1):1-7.
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  40.  8
    Post-Darwinian fish classifications: theories and methodologies of Günther, Cope, and Gill.Aleta Quinn & James R. Jackson - 2023 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 45 (1):1-37.
    We analyze the relationship between evolutionary theory and classification of higher taxa in the work of three ichthyologists: Albert C.L.G. Günther (1830–1914), Edward Drinker Cope (1840–1897), and Theodore Gill (1837–1914). The progress of ichthyology in the early years following the Origin has received little attention from historians, and offers an opportunity to further evaluate the extent to which evolutionary theorizing influenced published views on systematic methodology. These three ichthyologists held radically different theoretical views. The apparent commensurability of claims about relationships (...)
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  41.  6
    Editorial introduction: Biomedicine and life sciences as a challenge to human temporality.Mark Schweda & Nitzan Rimon-Zarfaty - 2023 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 45 (1):1-10.
    Bringing together scholars from philosophy, bioethics, law, sociology, and anthropology, this topical collection explores how innovations in the field of biomedicine and the life sciences are challenging and transforming traditional understandings of human temporality and of the temporal duration, extension and structure of human life. The contributions aim to expand the theoretical debate by highlighting the significance of time and human temporality in different discourses and practical contexts, and developing concrete, empirically informed, and culturally sensitive perspectives. The collection is structured (...)
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  42.  7
    Epistemological discipline in animal behavior studies: Konrad Lorenz and Daniel Lehrman on intuition and empathy.Marga Vicedo - 2023 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 45 (1):1-32.
    Can empathy be a tool for obtaining scientific knowledge or is it incompatible with the detached objectivity that is often seen as the ideal in scientific inquiry? This paper examines the views of Austrian ethologist Konrad Lorenz and American comparative psychologist Daniel Lehrman on the role of intuition and empathy in the study of animal behavior. It situates those views within the larger project of establishing ethology as an objective science. Lehrman challenged Lorenz and Niko Tinbergen, the main founders of (...)
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