The philosophy of biology, some claim, should move to the centre of 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 contemporary philosophy of biology in a variety of contexts: reduction, organization and system, biochemical mechanism, and the models of law and explanation which are derived from the Duhem-Popper-Hempel tradition. In this volume, the editors present essays which probe such historical and methodological questions as reducibility, levels of organization, function and teleology, issues emerging from evolutionary theory, and the species problem. The volume offers ample evidence of how good contemporary work in the philosophical understanding of biology has become. The editors aptly combine a deep philosophical appreciation of conceptual issues in biology with an historical understanding of the radical changes in the science of biology since the 19th century.
I/History.- Aristotle and Modern Biology.- Philosophical Biology versus Experimental Biology.- D'Arcy Thompson and the Science of Form.- II/ Reducibility.- The Watson-Crick Model and Reductionism.- Life's Irreducible Structure.- III/Problems of Explanation in Biology.- A. Levels of Organization.- Organizational Levels and Explanation.- Physical Theories of Biological Co-ordination.- Complexity and Organization.- B. Function and Teleology.- Function and Teleology.- Functions.- C. Pluralistic Explanation.- Articulation of Parts Explanation in Biology and the Rational Search for Them.- IV/Evolution.- The Strategy of Evolution.- Evolution and the Theory of Games.- Biology as an Autonomous Science.- Biological Adaptation.- V/Species Problem.- Species Concepts and Definitions.- Biological Classification.- Contemporary Systematic Philosophies.- Further Reading.