Philosophy of Biology

ISBN-10: 0813391261

ISBN-13: 9780813391267

Edition: 2nd 2000 (Revised)

Authors: Elliott Sober

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Description:

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.
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Book details

List price: $47.00
Edition: 2nd
Copyright year: 2000
Publisher: Westview Press
Publication date: 1/12/2000
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 256
Size: 5.00" wide x 9.00" long x 0.75" tall
Weight: 0.748
Language: English

List of Boxes and Figures
Acknowledgments
Introduction
What Is Evolutionary Theory?
What Is Evolution?
The Place of Evolutionary Theory in Biology
Pattern and Process
Historical Particulars and General Laws
The Causes of Evolution
The Domains of Biology and Physics
Biological Explanations and Physical Explanations
Suggestions for Further Reading
Creationism
The Danger of Anachronism
Paley's Watch and the Likelihood Principle
Hume's Critique
Why Natural Selection Isn't a Random Process
Two Kinds of Similarity
The Problem of Predictive Equivalence
Is the Design Hypothesis Unscientific?
The Incompleteness of Science
Suggestions for Further Reading
Fitness
An Idealized Life Cycle
The Interpretation of Probability
Two Ways to Find Out About Fitness
The Tautology Problem
Supervenience
Advantageousness and Fitness
Teleology Naturalized
Suggestions for Further Reading
The Units of Selection Problem
Hierarchy
Adaptation and Fortuitous Benefit
Decoupling Parts and Wholes
Red Herrings
Examples
Correlation, Cost, and Benefit
Suggestions for Further Reading
Adaptationism
What Is Adaptationism?
How Genetics Can Get in the Way
Is Adaptationism Untestable?
The Argument from Complex Traits
If Optimality Models Are Too Easy to Produce, Let's Make Them Harder
Game Theory
Suggestions for Further Reading
Systematics
The Death of Essentialism
Individuality and the Species Problem
Three Systematic Philosophies
Internal Coherence
Phylogenetic Inference Based on Overall Similarity
Parsimony and Phylogenetic Inference
Suggestions for Further Reading
Sociobiology and the Extension of Evolutionary Theory
Biological Determinism
Does Sociobiology Have an Ideological Function?
Anthropomorphism Versus Linguistic Puritanism
Ethics
Models of Cultural Evolution
Suggestions for Further Reading
References
Index
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