Topics in the Philosophy of Biology

  • Marjorie Grene
  • Everett Mendelsohn

Part of the Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science book series (BSPS, volume 27)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages I-XIII
  2. History

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 1-1
    2. Marjorie Grene
      Pages 3-36
    3. Stephen Jay Gould
      Pages 66-97
  3. Reducibility

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 99-99
    2. Kenneth F. Schaffner
      Pages 101-127
    3. Michael Polanyi
      Pages 128-142
  4. Problems of Explanation in Biology

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 143-143
    2. Levels of Organization

      1. Clifford Grobstein
        Pages 145-152
      2. William C. Wimsatt
        Pages 174-193
    3. Function and Teleology

      1. Morton Beckner
        Pages 197-212
      2. Larry Wright
        Pages 213-242
    4. Pluralistic Explanation

  5. Evolution

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 265-265
    2. Lawrence B. Slobodkin
      Pages 267-285
    3. R. C. Lewontin
      Pages 286-311
    4. Francisco J. Ayala
      Pages 312-329
    5. Ronald Munson
      Pages 330-350
  6. Species Problem

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 351-351
    2. Ernst Mayr
      Pages 353-371
    3. Vernon Pratt
      Pages 372-395
    4. David L. Hull
      Pages 396-440
  7. Back Matter
    Pages 441-454

About this book


The philosophy of biology should move to the center of the philosophy of science - a place it has not been accorded since the time of Mach. Physics was the paradigm of science, and its shadow falls across con­ temporary philosophy of biology as well, in a variety of contexts: reduction, organization and system, biochemical mechanism, and the models of law and explanation which derive from the Duhem-Popper­ Hempel tradition. This volume, we think, offers ample evidence of how good contempo­ rary work in the philosophical understanding of biology has become. Marjorie Grene and Everett Mendelsohn aptly combine a deep philo­ sophical appreciation of conceptual issues in biology with an historical understanding of the radical changes in the science of biology since the 19th century. In this book, they present essays which probe such historical and methodological questions as reducibility, levels of organization, function and teleology, and the range of issues emerging from evolution­ ary theory and the species problem. In conjunction with Professor Grene's collection of essays on the philosophy of biology, The Under­ standing of Nature (Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science, Vol. XXIII) and the occasional essays on these topics which we have published in other volumes (listed below), this volume contributes to bringing biology to the center of philosophical attention. Everett Mendelsohn, 'Explanation in Nineteenth Century Biology' (Boston Studies, Vol. II, 1965). David Hawkins, 'Taxonomy and Information', (Boston Studies, Vol. III, 1967).


Karl R. Popper evolution philosophy of science reduction science

Authors and affiliations

  • Marjorie Grene
    • 1
    • 2
  • Everett Mendelsohn
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.University of California, DavisUSA
  2. 2.Harvard UniversityUSA

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 1976
  • Publisher Name Springer, Dordrecht
  • eBook Packages Springer Book Archive
  • Print ISBN 978-90-277-0596-9
  • Online ISBN 978-94-010-1829-6
  • Series Print ISSN 0068-0346
  • Buy this book on publisher's site