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Making Sense of Life: Explaining Biological Development with Models, Metaphors, and Machines Paperback – Oct 31 2003

3.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press; 1 edition (Oct. 31 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 067401250X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0674012509
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 2.5 x 21 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 522 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,070,076 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description


A terrific book full of thought-provoking and original ideas and observations. Keller's discussion of "explanation" in the life sciences is easily one of the very best and most interesting treatments of this topic that I have ever read. (Jim Woodward, J.O. and Juliette Koepfli Professor of the Humanities, California Institute of Technology)

<i>Making Sense of Life</i> is about the importance of recognizing [the] tight connection between the use of language in the social domain and how it produces biological "understanding"...The central arguments of <i>Making Sense of Life</i> are made with grace and authority. Those who are unsettled by them, and who wish to take issue with Keller, could not ask for a more accomplished and eloquent adversary. (Lisa Jardine New Scientist 2002-05-10)

Keller writes beautifully, explains exquisitely, does a really good job of showing how today's four-dimensional color gene-product-marked embryo pictures, available to all on the Web, have answered most of the old questions...and how they have generated a whole new set: about artificial life, about complex systems and emergence, about what we want to understand development for...I hope she finds a new generation of biology students, as well as historians, who'll appreciate her subtle thinking; this book makes sense of embryology at last. (Jack Cohen Biologist 2002-12-01)

Evelyn Fox Keller, once a mathematical physicist but now primarily a historian of biology, has analyzed the varied attempts of 20th-century biologists to provide an explanation for the nature and origin of life...Keller's achievement is to historicize 20th-century biological concepts, so that we can begin to see that they are not inevitable, springing directly from a realization of "how nature is", but rather are culturally located, and shaped by complex social forces. (Steven Rose Lancet 2003-02-08)

About the Author

Evelyn Fox Keller is Professor Emerita of History and Philosophy of Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She is the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship and numerous honorary degrees.

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February 28, 2003
Format: Hardcover
November 23, 2002
Format: Hardcover
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Amazon.com: 3.5 out of 5 stars 2 reviews
T. Gwinn
2.0 out of 5 starsHistory, but no explaining
November 23, 2002 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
46 people found this helpful.
Edward Amicucci
5.0 out of 5 starsClear, interesting writing style
November 5, 2006 - Published on Amazon.com

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