Philosophy of Biology [Book Review]

Analysis 69 (1):197-199 (2009)

Brian Garvey
Lancaster University
A healthy, growing field such as the philosophy of biology deserves to have a variety of different points of entry for students, instructors, and non-specialist academics who want to learn about the field. Among the many new books that introduce this dynamic area of research, Garvey's Philosophy of Biology may provide the most compact and accessible survey of the field. After explaining Darwin's theory of evolution, he offers four chapters about contemporary issues in evolutionary theory. The middle chapters concern key concepts in biology: innateness, function, and species. The final four chapters examine how evolutionary biology might influence our perspectives on epistemology, ethics, religion, and human nature.Acquaintances occasionally ask me to recommend a book that introduces the field in layman's terms. Until recently, I didn't have a good answer. The standard textbooks by Sober and Sterelny & Griffiths are good for classroom use but are too demanding for casual reading. Thus, I was intrigued when the jacket blurb described Garvey's book as ‘suitable …
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DOI 10.1093/analys/ann038
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