Philosophy of Biology Today

By Michael Ruse

Subjects: Philosophy And Biology
Series: SUNY series in Philosophy and Biology
Paperback : 9780887069116, 166 pages, October 1988
Hardcover : 9780887069109, 166 pages, November 1988

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Table of contents



1. Evolutionary Theory

2. Population Genetics

3. Molecular Biology

4. Challenges to the Paradigm

5. Teleology

6. Systematics

7. Human Biology

8. Philosophical Implications

9. Other Topics

10. Other Lands





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.

Michael Ruse is Professor of History and Philosophy at the University of Guelph in Canada. He is the founding editor of the journal Biology and Philosophy and is the author of ten books.


"Ruse's piece is a significant, clearly written synopsis of the current state of the subject. Biology is rapidly overtaking physics as the most exciting arena of philosophical analysis, and Ruse has emerged as one of the several leading figures in the philosophy of biology worldwide. He is correct in perceiving that evolutionary biology in particular has the greatest bearing of any science on ethics and epistemology. " — Edward O. Wilson, Harvard University