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)
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.
In this volume, the authors discuss what practical contributions ecology can and can't make in applied science and environmental problem solving. In the first section, they discuss conceptual problems that have often prevented the formulation and evaluation of powerful, precise, general theories, explain why island biogeography is still beset with controversy and examine the ways that science is value laden. In the second section, they describe how ecology can give us specific answers to practical environmental questions posed in individual case (...) studies, and argue for a new way to look at scientific error. A case study using the Florida panther is examined in the light of these findings. (shrink)
This important collection focuses on the nature and importance of biodiversity. The concept is clarified and its intrinsic and instrumental value are discussed. Even though the term biodiversity was invented in the 1980s to promote the cause of species conservation, discussions on biological diversity go back to Plato. There are many controversies surrounding biodiversity and a few of them are examined here: What is worthy of protection or restoration and what is the acceptable level of costs? Is it permissible to (...) kill sentient animals to promote native populations? Can species be reintroduced if they have disappeared a long time ago? How should the responsibilities for biodiversity be shared? This book will be of interest to philosophers of science and biologists, but also to anyone interested in conservation and the environment. (shrink)
How have sociologists responded to the emergence of environmentalism? What has sociology to offer the study of environmental problems? This uniquely comprehensive guide traces the origins and development of environmental movements and environmental issues, providing a critical review of the most significant debates in the new field of environmental sociology. It covers environmental ideas, environmental movements, social constructionism, critical realism, "ecocentric" theory, environmental identities, risk society theory, sustainable development, Green consumerism, ecological modernization and debates around modernity and post- modernity. Philip (...) Sutton adopts a long-term view, which focuses on the relationship between ideas of nature and environment, ecological identities and social change, providing a framework for future research. Bringing environmental issues into contact with sociological theories, Nature, Environment and Society provides an up-to-date introduction to this important new field. It will be essential reading for all students of sociology, environmental studies and anyone interested in understanding environmental problems. (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.
This book examines from a multidisciplinary viewpoint the question of what we mean - what we should mean - by setting sustainability as a goal for environmental management. The author, trained as a philosopher of science and language, explores ways to break down the disciplinary barriers to communication and deliberation about environment policy, and to integrate science and evaluations into a more comprehensive environmental policy. Choosing sustainability as the keystone concept of environmental policy, the author explores what we can learn (...) about sustainable living from the philosophy of pragmatism, from ecology, from economics, from planning, from conservation biology and from related disciplines. The idea of adaptive, or experimental, management provides the context, while insights from various disciplines are integrated into a comprehensive philosophy of environmental management. The book will appeal to students and professionals in the fields of environmental policy and ethics, conservation biology, and philosophy of science. (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)
Human evolution explains how we have found ourselves in the wrong place at the wrong time. Issues of modern living; depression, obesity, and environmental destruction, can be understood in relation to our evolutionary past. This book shows how an awareness of this past and its relation to the present can help limit their impact on the future.
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)
This short and highly accessible volume opens up the subject of the philosophy of biology to professionals and to students in both disciplines. The text covers briefly and clearly all of the pertinent topics in the subject, dealing with both human and non-human issues, and quite uniquely surveying not only scholars in the English-speaking world but others elsewhere, including the Eastern block. As molecular biologists peer ever more deeply into life’s mysteries, there are those who fear that such ‘reductionism’ conceals (...) more than it reveals, and there are those who complain that the new techniques threaten the physical safety of us all. As students of evolution apply their new-found understanding to our own species, some people think that this is merely an excuse for racist and sexist propaganda, and others worry that the whole exercise blatantly violates the religious beliefs many of us hold dear. These controversies are the joint concern of biologists and philosophers—of those whose task it is to study the theoretical and moral foundations of knowledge. The comprehensive and fully up-to-date bibliography makes this an invaluable and indispensable guide. (shrink)
The reaction to Darwin's Origin of Species varied in many countries according to the roles played by national scientific institutions and traditions and the attitudes of religious and political groups. The contributors to this volume, including M. J. S. Hodge, David Hull, and Roberto Moreno, gathered in 1972 at an international conference on the comparative reception of Darwinism. Their essays look at early pro- and anti-Darwinism arguments, and three additional comparative essays and appendices add a larger perspective. For this paperback (...) edition, Thomas F. Glick has added a new preface commenting on recent research. (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 espouses an innovative theory of scientific realism in which due weight is given to mathematics and logic. The authors argue that mathematics can be understood realistically if it is seen to be the study of universals, of properties and relations, of patterns and structures, the kinds of things which can be in several places at once. Taking this kind of scientific platonism as their point of departure, they show how the theory of universals can account for probability, laws (...) of nature, causation, and explanation, and explore the consequences in all these fields. This will be an important book for all philosophers of science, logicians, and metaphysicians, and their graduate students. The readership will also include those outside philosophy interested in the interrelationship of philosophy and science. (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)
This book is a sustained examination of issues in the philosophy of ecology that have been a source of controversy since the emergence 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 a detailed 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, and environmental studies as well as policy-makers. (shrink)
How can we value the environment, this is the crucial issue that this book debates. The critical analyses carried out within the book by such figures as Nick Hanley and Jonathan Aldred are vital to ensuring that future economic growth is not achieved at the expense of our environment.
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.
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, William 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 ultimately results in a unified foundation for an evolutionary science of reason. It will be of interest to professionals and students of philosophy of science, logic, evolutionary theory, and cognitive science. (shrink)
Perhaps because of it implications for our understanding of human nature, recent philosophy of biology has seen what might be the most dramatic work in the philosophies of the ”special” sciences. This drama has centered on evolutionary theory, and in the second edition of this textbook, Elliott Sober introduces the reader to the most important issues of these developments. With a rare combination of technical sophistication and clarity of expression, Sober engages both the higher level of theory and the direct (...) implications for such controversial issues as creationism, teleology, nature versus nurture, and sociobiology. Above all, the reader will gain from this book a firm grasp of the structure of evolutionary theory, the evidence for it, and the scope of its explanatory significance. (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.
One of the most profound insights of the dynamic systems perspective is that new structures resulting from the developmental process do not need to be planned in advance, nor is it necessary to have these structures represented in genetic or neurological templates prior to their emergence. Rather, new structures can emerge as components of the individual and the environment self-organize; that is, as they mutually constrain each other's actions, new patterns and structures may arise. This theoretical possibility brings into developmental (...) theory the important concept of indeterminism--the possibility that developmental outcomes may not be predictable in any simple linear causal way from their antecedents. This is the first book to take a critical and serious look at the role of indeterminism in psychological and behavioral development. * What is the source of this indeterminism? * What is its role in developmental change? * Is it merely the result of incomplete observational data or error in measurement? It reviews the concepts of indeterminism and determinism in their historical, philosophical, and theoretical perspectives--particularly in relation to dynamic systems thinking--and applies these general ideas to systems of nonverbal communication. Stressing the indeterminacy inherent to symbols and meaning making in social systems, several chapters address the issue of indeterminism from metaphorical, modeling, and narrative perspectives. Others discuss those indeterministic processes within the individual related to emotional, social, and cognitive development. (shrink)
Advances in molecular biological research in the latter half of the twentieth century have made the story of the gene vastly complicated: the more we learn about genes, the less sure we are of what a gene really is. Knowledge about the structure and functioning of genes abounds, but the gene has also become curiously intangible. This collection of essays renews the question: what are genes? Philosophers, historians and working scientists re-evaluate the question in this volume, treating the gene as (...) a focal point of interdisciplinary and international research. It will be of interest to professionals and students in the philosophy and history of science, genetics and molecular biology. (shrink)
An enormous intellectual adventure. In this groundbreaking new book, the American biologist Edward O. Wilson, considered to be one of the world's greatest living scientists, argues for the fundamental unity of all knowledge and the need to search for consilience --the proof that everything in our world is organized in terms of a small number of fundamental natural laws that comprise the principles underlying every branch of learning. Professor Wilson, the pioneer of sociobiology and biodiversity, now once again breaks out (...) of the conventions of current thinking. He shows how and why our explosive rise in intellectual mastery of the truths of our universe has its roots in the ancient Greek concept of an intrinsic orderliness that governs our cosmos and the human species--a vision that found its apogee in the Age of Enlightenment, then gradually was lost in the increasing fragmentation and specialization of knowledge in the last two centuries. Drawing on the physical sciences and biology, anthropology, psychology, religion, philosophy, and the arts, Professor Wilson shows why the goals of the original Enlightenment are surging back to life, why they are reappearing on the very frontiers of science and humanistic scholarship, and how they are beginning to sketch themselves as the blueprint of our world as it most profoundly, elegantly, and excitingly is. (shrink)
The most accessible edition ever published of Darwin’s incendiary classic, edited by “as fine a science essayist as we have” ( New York Times ) The Descent of Man , Darwin’s second landmark work on evolutionary theory (following The Origin of the Species ), marked a turning point in the history of science with its modern vision of human nature as the product of evolution. Darwin argued that the noblest features of humans, such as language and morality, were the result (...) of the same natural processes that produced iris petals and scorpion tails. To convey the revolutionary importance of this groundbreaking book, renowned evolutionary science writer Carl Zimmer edited this special abridged edition—made up of nine excerpts, each one representing one of Darwin’s major themes—and wrote illuminating introductions to each section, as well as an overall introduction. Zimmer brilliantly places Darwin’s basic ideas in the context of the current understanding of human nature and twenty-first-century DNA research. By accessibly presenting Darwin’s thinking to a modern readership, Zimmer eloquently demonstrates Darwin’s ever-increasing relevance and amazing scientific insight. (shrink)
What Is Biodiversity? is a theoretical and conceptual exploration of the biological world and how diversity is valued. Maclaurin and Sterelny explore not only the origins of the concept of biodiversity, but also how that concept has been shaped by ecology and more recently by conservation biology. They explain the different types of biodiversity important in evolutionary theory, developmental biology, ecology, morphology and taxonomy and conclude that biological heritage is rich in not just one biodiversity but many. Maclaurin and Sterelny (...) also explore the case for the conservation of these biodiversities using option value theory, a tool borrowed from economics. (shrink)
What is the optimal political framework for environmental reform reform on a scale commensurate with the global ecological crisis? In particular, how adequate are liberal forms of parliamentary democracy to the challenge posed by this crisis? These are the questions pondered by the contributors to this volume. Exploration of the possibilities of democracy gives rise to certain common themes. These are the relation between ecological morality and political structures or procedures and the question of the structure of decision-making and distribution (...) of information in political systems. The idea of 'democracy without traditional boundaries' is discussed as a key both to environmentalism in an age of global ecology and to the revitalisation of democracy itself in a world of increasingly protean constituencies and mutable boundaries. (shrink)