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eBook Sex and Death: An Introduction to Philosophy of Biology (Science and Its Conceptual Foundations series) download

by Paul E. Griffiths,Kim Sterelny

eBook Sex and Death: An Introduction to Philosophy of Biology (Science and Its Conceptual Foundations series) download ISBN: 0226773035
Author: Paul E. Griffiths,Kim Sterelny
Publisher: University of Chicago Press; 1 edition (June 15, 1999)
Language: English
Pages: 456
ePub: 1504 kb
Fb2: 1231 kb
Rating: 4.9
Other formats: lrf lit doc mobi
Category: Different
Subcategory: Science and Mathematics

Sex and Death' is a pretty ambitious book, being almost a survey of the specific, hot topics in modern philosophy of. .Of these two books which are both excellent, Sex and Death has a more conversational relaxed style and would probably have a more general appeal.

Sex and Death' is a pretty ambitious book, being almost a survey of the specific, hot topics in modern philosophy of biology. Tackling such issues as the nitty-gritty, purely philosophical issues of gene selection vs. selection of the organism, the definition and nature of the concept of 'species', and "Life on Earth: the Big Picture", the authors have done a nice job of using a breathtaking array of references, from Dawkins to Gould, Lewontin to Mayr, Alexander to .

The authors, both of whom have published extensively in this field, describe the range of competing views-including their own-on these fascinating topics.

by Paul E. Griffiths and Kim Sterelny. Is the history of life a series of accidents or a drama scripted by selfish genes?

by Paul E.

Introduction: The incidence of intracranial aneurysms ranges from 0,5% to 6% and the diagnosis of incidental aneurysms has increased due to the development of non .

Introduction: The incidence of intracranial aneurysms ranges from 0,5% to 6% and the diagnosis of incidental aneurysms has increased due to the development of non invasive neuroimaging techniques  .

Paul Griffiths is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Sydney and works primarily in the Philosophy of Science and more particularly Philosophy of Biology. Born in England in 1962, he received a . from the University of Cambridge in 1984 and a P. in philosophy from the Australian National University in 1989 under the supervision of Kim Sterelny. He taught previously at the University of Pittsburgh, the University of Queensland and the University of Otago

Written by. Kim Sterelny.

Written by. Manufacturer: University Of Chicago Press Release date: 15 June 1999 ISBN-10 : 0226773043 ISBN-13: 9780226773049. add. Separate tags with commas, spaces are allowed. Use tags to describe a product . for a movie Themes heist, drugs, kidnapping, coming of age Genre drama, parody, sci-fi, comedy Locations paris, submarine, new york.

The authors, both of whom have published extensively in this field, describe the range of competing views-including their own-on these fascinating topics

Is the history of life a series of accidents or a drama scripted by selfish genes? Is there an "essential" human nature, determined at birth or in a distant evolutionary past? What should we conserve—species, ecosystems, or something else?Informed answers to questions like these, critical to our understanding of ourselves and the world around us, require both a knowledge of biology and a philosophical framework within which to make sense of its findings. In this accessible introduction to philosophy of biology, Kim Sterelny and Paul E. Griffiths present both the science and the philosophical context necessary for a critical understanding of the most exciting debates shaping biology today. The authors, both of whom have published extensively in this field, describe the range of competing views—including their own—on these fascinating topics.With its clear explanations of both biological and philosophical concepts, Sex and Death will appeal not only to undergraduates, but also to the many general readers eager to think critically about the science of life.
Comments: (6)
Eng.Men
This book is very well written. The subject matter is complex, but you never get lost. Highly recommended. The only negative is that much has happened since it was written. A new edition would be welcome.
IWantYou
A lot of great information and ideas. Would definitely recommend.
skriper
'Sex and Death' is a pretty ambitious book, being almost a survey of the specific, hot topics in modern philosophy of biology. Tackling such issues as the nitty-gritty, purely philosophical issues of gene selection vs. selection of the organism, the definition and nature of the concept of 'species', and "Life on Earth: the Big Picture", the authors have done a nice job of using a breathtaking array of references, from Dawkins to Gould, Lewontin to Mayr, Alexander to E.O. Wilson, etc.
Unfortunately, keeping all of this succinct makes for a somewhat dry presentation. I agree with the previous reviewer in that often the authors' presentation of concepts are difficult to grasp for those not already familiar with the topics; when more concrete examples are made, the point is much easier to take. Still, this is a minor complaint given the scope and rigor of the analysis presented.
If you're into the accessibility of a Stephen Jay Gould or Richard Dawkins, this book will be a challenge to read. In fact, it reminds me much more of Elliot Sober, one of the more famous Philosophers of Biology cited in this book. As 'an Introduction to Philosophy of Biology', 'Sex and Death' is more accessible than the work of Sober, and it is a well-organized and presented survey of the philosophy of biology, assuming that the reader has already had a fairly ample exposure to the subject. For the uninitiated, it would be better to bone up on Darwin, Gould, Dawkins, Lewontin, Mayr, and Wilson before trying to tackle this book; *frequent* references to these authors are made,and a close familiarity with their ideas is presupposed.
WinDImmortaL
This is a brilliant book in that it is written simply but covers the important aspects of the philosophy of evolutionary biology. This book could be the foundation of a philosophy of biology course at university level, but still would appeal to the layman interested in the thought behind biology. It is more technical than many popular biology books, but that is because it is so loaded with content. It is definately worth buying and persevering with. To frame this assessment, I have studied to postgraduate levels in both philosophy and evolutionary biology and enjoyed the book thoroughly. Friends of mine who are not specialised in this area but have some knowledge of biology also found this book enlightening.

As a comparison Elliot Sobers' the Philosophy of Biology goes over a lot of similar territory and is also well written - I would also highly recommend it. Of these two books which are both excellent, Sex and Death has a more conversational relaxed style and would probably have a more general appeal.

The other good book in this area which I have read is Alex Rosenburg and Daniel McShae's Philosophy of biology and this has a more technical intonation than the other two books mentioned and is definately geared towards philosophy students rather than the public.

Sex and Death is as close as you can come to a simple book popularizing the philosophy of biology.
Naril
Gene selectionism. The most basic argument for gene selectionism is that genes replicate while phenotypes are temporary so selection of phenotypes cannot by itself produce cumulative change. But this is a gross oversimplification. Not only genes replicate, for offspring also receive cell membranes (only membranes make membranes), symbiotic organisms, and other biochemical stuff from their parent. Also, one can imagine situations where there is accumulation at the phenotypic level without accumulation at the genetic level (when a trait depends in a complex way on several genes). Better arguments for gene selectionism exploit weaknesses stemming the conventional view's reliance on the organism concept. Gene selectionism avoids this problematic concept which lumps together many diverse things (complex animals, single-cell organisms, plants, colonial organisms such as corals, etc.). This perspective suggests questions which the conventional view obscures, e.g.: Why are there organisms (considerable investment to build a body)? Why are cancers not so common as to undermine the viability of organisms? There is also the "extended phenotype" argument: the traits by virtue of which genes are selected need not be traits of the organism in which they are contained. E.g.: there are parasites which kill their host but induce it to leave a sexually attractive corpse, whence they find a new host by causing this trait in their original host. One may reply: but it is not the extra-organismic trait that is being selected for but rather the organism's ability to create it. However: what matters for (or "is visible to") evolution is the ends not the means, the outcome not the ability.

Critiques of gene selectionism. Something seemingly not captured by gene selectionism: suppose certain organisms have either of the genes A or B for traits and either of C or D for behaviours; and suppose that AC and BD are successfull combinations while AD and BD are not. There seems to be selection for neither of the genes A, B, C, D, only higher-order entities. The gene people reply that this is explained by frequency-dependent selection (i.e. frequency or A vs. B influences selection on C and D, and vice versa). Selection is already relative to many things---why not other genes as well? But why then not reduce all the way down to the four nucleotides? For gene selectionism to work a gene needs to have a phenotypic effect (in order to be visible to evolution). Its proponents used to define genes as reasonably-sized chunks of DNA ("evolutionary genes"), because this went well with their view of cumulative genetic selection. But the connection with phenotype would then be so indirect and variable that genes would be virtually invisible to selection. A better gene concept is needed but not provided. Some have tried to start at the other end and define genes functionally in terms of their phenotypic effects; but to serve as the basis for gene selectionism such "genes" must of course have a reality independent of the phenotypes by which they are defined, which is far from guaranteed.

Priority of genes. As noted, much more than genes are being passed on to offspring; further examples: bird's song, nest site and material; "host imprinting" (e.g. eggs laid on a specific plant which hatched organism memorises). Perhaps one should think in terms of "developmental systems" instead of narrowly focusing on genes. Gene selectionists need to show that genes are privileged over these other factors. Their main proposal is: genes are the only thing that carry information (this has even been phrased as a redefinition of evolutionary genes). But this is hard to define in a satisfactory way. For example one may say: genes have a specific intention unlike other developmental factors. But intentionality is difficult to define and conceive of materialistically. One may try a teleosemantic definition: intentional content is about what evolution has defined it to be about. E.g.: a rabbit's fear of certain cues has intentional content: "there is a predator here". But this definition applies to other developmental factors as well.

Group selection. Group selection faces problems: often almost impossible to test empirically (e.g. that hierarchies exist to minimise wasteful conflict); there are often equally plausible explanations based on individual selection (e.g. alarm calling shows the predator that you are a difficult pray); susceptive to subversion from within (by e.g. non-altruistic individuals, who have much shorter generations than the group and so overtake group selection). An alternative is kin selection ("inclusive fitness" included kin) which has some empirical support, e.g. eusocial insects with queen structure whose genetic structure is such that non-queeen females are more closely related to their sisters than their daughter which explains why they help the queen instead of breeding. A more abstract alternative is trait group selection, which sees anything with a common fate (common causal trajectory) as an interactor; e.g. (im.), crickets paddling pairwise to cross pond. This view subsumes kin selection and reciprocal altruism as special cases. It need not be susceptible to subversion from within because trait group selection need not be slower than individual selection. Another view: population structure is part of the environment; altruism may evolve through selection for individual fitness given that the environment includes many altruistic individuals. This can also subsume previous views, but it can be criticised for not being explanatory, not accounting for the process only the results (same "averaging fallacy" as naive gene selectionism).

Adaptation. One should not assume that any successful trait is the result of specific selection; this would be to look at organisms as "mosaic of traits," ignoring interconnections. Developmental constraints (entrenchment) rather than adaptive value seems to explain why all mammals have almost identical ear bones. An alternative to adaptationism which does better at explaining this sort of thing is explanation by classification, in analogy with the periodic table of elements.

Human behaviour. It is difficult to study human behaviour from an evolutionary point of view for a number of reasons: relatives extinct; no invasive experiments; environment has changed; hard to identify trait units (has e.g. aggression evolved as one trait or several more specific ones?). Proposed evolutionary models of human behaviour suffer from weaknesses in addition to these. Evolutionary psychology (e.g.: male promiscuity and female coyness may be explained by their different investment costs in reproduction) is based on an adaptationist point of view and ignores the interactive character of social evolution (assumes fixed problems). Some have tried to apply evolution to ideas (ideas compete, replicate and evolve) but this ignores the fact that evolution depends on the rate of mutation being just right (also, evolution explains apparent design so why apply it where there is actual design?).