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Philosophy of Biology [Paperback]

Michael Ruse

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Book Description

July 17 2007 1591025273 978-1591025276 2nd Revised edition
Biologists study life in its various physical forms, while philosophers of biology seek answers to questions about the nature, purpose, and impact of this research. What permits us to distinguish between living and nonliving things even though both are made of the same minerals? Is the complex structure of organisms proof that a creative force is working its will in the physical universe, or are existing life-forms the random result of an evolutionary process working itself out over eons of time? What moral and social questions arise regarding modern advances in biotechnology? What is more relevant to human nature: genetics or sociocultural influences? Is Darwinism the death-knell of God?

These are just some of the vital questions addressed by a distinguished group of philosophers and scientists which includes: Aristotle, Francisco J. Ayala, , Michael Benton, Tom Bethell, Joe Cain, David Castle, Charles Darwin, Richard Dawkins, Michael Denton, A.G.N. Flew, Stephen Jay Gould, J.B.S. Haldane, John F. Haught, D. W. E. Hone, James W. Kirchner, James Lovelock, Jane Maienschein, Ernst Mayr, Gregory M. Mikkelson, Leslie Orgal, William Paley, the Prince of Wales, Christopher Pynes, Richard A. Richards, Mark Ridley, Holmes Rolston III, Michael Ruse, Lee Silver, Elliott Sober, Kim Sterelny, Derek Turner, and Edward O. Wilson.

This second edition contains material on design without selection, testing macroevolutionary claims, recent biotechnological issues, key ecological concerns, the Gaia hypothesis, genetically modified foods, and the so-called intelligent design movement.

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From the Publisher

halftones, line figures --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

Michael Ruse (Tallahassee, FL) is the Lucyle T. Werkmeister Professor of Philosophy at Florida State University and the author or editor of The Stem Cell Controversy; Cloning: Responsible Science or Technomadness?; Taking Darwin Seriously; Philosophy of Biology; and But Is It Science?, among many other works.

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First Sentence
In his Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion, David Hume drove a skewer through the Argument from Design-that argument for God's existence which claims that organisms are so well put together that their features (their 'adaptations' for survival and reproduction) necessitate the supposition of a divine artificer. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Amazon.com: 3.3 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent introduction May 29 2009
By Bruce Ballard - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I think the first reviewer must have been reading a different book. This excellent collection edited by Michael Ruse is the best and best priced anthology I found after examining dozens of possible texts to use in my upper division philosophy of science course. The chapters are fairly short and quite accessible to undergraduates. The editor is fair in presenting a number of perspectives on controversial issues. And readers get a broad survey of the field. The book is hardly slanted to creationism: Ruse is not a believer, though again, quite fair toward belief. A very good survey for college students and the wider educated public.
0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Textdook Paradise Sept. 11 2010
By Marietta - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Arrived in no time, and despite being a textbook for class, it is a very interesting read.
15 of 48 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Another Ruse July 28 2008
By Hande Z - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
From the choice of a vague title to the choice of materials the content of this book is really a subtle attack on science. I describe the attack as subtle because this book, read superficially, makes an attempt to appear as an impartial and an open-minded study of the merits of science as oppose to a theory of supernatural creation. This book is a collection of essays or chapters from books by various authors. Read it if you like but scrutinize it carefully. It omits the strongest material in favour of science, and pasted sections of the more amenable scientists such as Stephen Gould and Ernst Mayr, and slants them towards the ultimate proposition: Science has not disproved intelligent design 100% and so a supernatural creator remains a viable possibility. It does include a chapter that advocates the depoliticising of the stem cell debate. To that credit must be given. It is not clear how that can be achieved, given that many opponents of stem cell research oppose it on philosophical or medical and ethical grounds when they really oppose them on religious grounds. "Philosophy of Biology" is also subtle in giving Richard Dawkins a couple of chapters, and so create the impression that both sides are covered; but the chapters for Dawkin were chosen so that they could be criticized, mainly in the Introduction and the other parts of the book. The use of both "philosophy" and "biology" as part of its title was probably intended to create the subtle message that this book is to be taken seriously because it is about philosophy and science, when in fact, it is about casting doubt on science. Yet, in the Introduction chapter the editor accuses Dawkins of being subtle. The reader has to judge for himself whether it was Dawkins or the editor that was being "subtle" in the sense of not openly declaring the real motives and intention of their work.This book seems to be designed to shoring up the intelligent designers knocked wobbly by science and needed a crutch to keep them on their feet, hoping to be saved by the bell. It is also to shore up the editor's own book, "Darwin and Design - Does Evolution Have a Purpose?". I would have given the book more than one star because many of the chapters written by the original writers were were well written, but since they were taken out of context, I thought that the book should not be given credit on that account. The reader best reads those books in their entirety.

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