Philosophy of biology • by Brian Garvey

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

Todd Grantham
College of Charleston
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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