Results for 'biology'

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  1. Philosophy of Experimental Biology.Jacob Stegenga - 2009 - Erkenntnis 71 (3):431-436.
    Philosophers have committed sins while studying science, it is said – philosophy of science focused on physics to the detriment of biology, reconstructed idealizations of scientific episodes rather than attending to historical details, and focused on theories and concepts to the detriment of experiments. Recent generations of philosophers of science have tried to atone for these sins, and by the 1980s the exculpation was in full swing. Marcel Weber’s Philosophy of Experimental Biology is a zenith mea culpa for (...)
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  2. Essentialism in Biology.John S. Wilkins - manuscript
    Essentialism in philosophy is the position that things, especially kinds of things, have essences, or sets of properties, that all members of the kind must have, and the combination of which only members of the kind do, in fact, have. It is usually thought to derive from classical Greek philosophy and in particular from Aristotle’s notion of “what it is to be” something. In biology, it has been claimed that pre-evolutionary views of living kinds, or as they are sometimes (...)
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  3. Formal Biology and Compositional Biology as Two Kinds of Biological Theorizing.Rasmus Grønfeldt Winther - 2003 - Dissertation, Indiana University, HPS
    There are two fundamentally distinct kinds of biological theorizing. "Formal biology" focuses on the relations, captured in formal laws, among mathematically abstracted properties of abstract objects. Population genetics and theoretical mathematical ecology, which are cases of formal biology, thus share methods and goals with theoretical physics. "Compositional biology," on the other hand, is concerned with articulating the concrete structure, mechanisms, and function, through developmental and evolutionary time, of material parts and wholes. Molecular genetics, biochemistry, developmental biology, (...)
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  4. Experimental Modeling in Biology: In Vivo Representation and Stand-Ins As Modeling Strategies.Marcel Weber - 2014 - Philosophy of Science 81 (5):756-769.
    Experimental modeling in biology involves the use of living organisms (not necessarily so-called "model organisms") in order to model or simulate biological processes. I argue here that experimental modeling is a bona fide form of scientific modeling that plays an epistemic role that is distinct from that of ordinary biological experiments. What distinguishes them from ordinary experiments is that they use what I call "in vivo representations" where one kind of causal process is used to stand in for a (...)
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  5.  61
    How Biology Became Social and What It Means for Social Theory.Maurizio Meloni - 2014 - The Sociological Review 62:593-614.
    In this paper I first offer a systematic outline of a series of conceptual novelties in the life-sciences that have favoured, over the last three decades, the emergence of a more social view of biology. I focus in particular on three areas of investigation: (1) technical changes in evolutionary literature that have provoked a rethinking of the possibility of altruism, morality and prosocial behaviours in evolution; (2) changes in neuroscience, from an understanding of the brain as an isolated data (...)
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  6. Mathematical Biology and the Existence of Biological Laws.Mauro Dorato - 2012 - In D. Dieks, S. Hartmann, T. Uebel & M. Weber (eds.), Probabilities, Laws and Structure. Springer.
    An influential position in the philosophy of biology claims that there are no biological laws, since any apparently biological generalization is either too accidental, fact-like or contingent to be named a law, or is simply reducible to physical laws that regulate electrical and chemical interactions taking place between merely physical systems. In the following I will stress a neglected aspect of the debate that emerges directly from the growing importance of mathematical models of biological phenomena. My main aim is (...)
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  7. Parts and Theories in Compositional Biology.Rasmus Grønfeldt Winther - 2006 - Biology and Philosophy 21 (4):471-499.
    I analyze the importance of parts in the style of biological theorizing that I call compositional biology. I do this by investigating various aspects, including partitioning frames and explanatory accounts, of the theoretical perspectives that fall under and are guided by compositional biology. I ground this general examination in a comparative analysis of three different disciplines with their associated compositional theoretical perspectives: comparative morphology, functional morphology, and developmental biology. I glean data for this analysis from canonical textbooks (...)
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  8. Synthetic Biology and the Ethics of Knowledge.T. Douglas & J. Savulescu - 2010 - Journal of Medical Ethics 36 (11):687-693.
    Synthetic biologists aim to generate biological organisms according to rational design principles. Their work may have many beneficial applications, but it also raises potentially serious ethical concerns. In this article, we consider what attention the discipline demands from bioethicists. We argue that the most important issue for ethicists to examine is the risk that knowledge from synthetic biology will be misused, for example, in biological terrorism or warfare. To adequately address this concern, bioethics will need to broaden its scope, (...)
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  9. Synthetic Biology and Biofuels.Catherine Kendig - 2014 - In Paul B. Thompson & David M. Kaplan (eds.), Encyclopedia of Food and Agricultural Ethics. Springer.
    Synthetic biology is a field of research that concentrates on the design, construction, and modification of new biomolecular parts and metabolic pathways using engineering techniques and computational models. By employing knowledge of operational pathways from engineering and mathematics such as circuits, oscillators, and digital logic gates, it uses these to understand, model, rewire, and reprogram biological networks and modules. Standard biological parts with known functions are catalogued in a number of registries (e.g. Massachusetts Institute of Technology Registry of Standard (...)
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  10. Mathematical Modeling in Biology: Philosophy and Pragmatics.Rasmus Grønfeldt Winther - 2012 - Frontiers in Plant Evolution and Development 2012:1-3.
    Philosophy can shed light on mathematical modeling and the juxtaposition of modeling and empirical data. This paper explores three philosophical traditions of the structure of scientific theory—Syntactic, Semantic, and Pragmatic—to show that each illuminates mathematical modeling. The Pragmatic View identifies four critical functions of mathematical modeling: (1) unification of both models and data, (2) model fitting to data, (3) mechanism identification accounting for observation, and (4) prediction of future observations. Such facets are explored using a recent exchange between two groups (...)
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  11. Synthetic Biology and Synthetic Knowledge.Christophe Malaterre - 2013 - Biological Theory (8):346–356.
    Probably the most distinctive feature of synthetic biology is its being “synthetic” in some sense or another. For some, synthesis plays a unique role in the production of knowledge that is most distinct from that played by analysis: it is claimed to deliver knowledge that would otherwise not be attained. In this contribution, my aim is to explore how synthetic biology delivers knowledge via synthesis, and to assess the extent to which this knowledge is distinctly synthetic. On the (...)
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  12. The Importance of Symbiosis in Philosophy of Biology: An Analysis of the Current Debate on Biological Individuality and its Historical Roots.Javier Suárez - 2018 - Symbiosis 76 (2):77-96.
    Symbiosis plays a fundamental role in contemporary biology, as well as in recent thinking in philosophy of biology. The discovery of the importance and universality of symbiotic associations has brought new light to old debates in the field, including issues about the concept of biological individuality. An important aspect of these debates has been the formulation of the hologenome concept of evolution, the notion that holobionts are units of natural selection in evolution. This review examines the philosophical assumptions (...)
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  13.  31
    Moralizing Biology: The Appeal and Limits of the New Compassionate View of Nature.Maurizio Meloni - 2013 - History of the Human Sciences 26 (3):82-106.
    In recent years, a proliferation of books about empathy, cooperation and pro-social behaviours (Brooks, 2011a) has significantly influenced the discourse of the life-sciences and reversed consolidated views of nature as a place only for competition and aggression. In this article I describe the recent contribution of three disciplines – moral psychology (Jonathan Haidt), primatology (Frans de Waal) and the neuroscience of morality – to the present transformation of biology and evolution into direct sources of moral phenomena, a process here (...)
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  14. Causal Selection Versus Causal Parity in Biology: Relevant Counterfactuals and Biologically Normal Interventions.Marcel Weber - forthcoming - In C. Kenneth Waters & James Woodward (eds.), Philosophical Perspectives on Causal Reasoning in Biology. Minnesota Studies in Philosophy of Science. Vol. XXI. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
    Causal selection is the task of picking out, from a field of known causally relevant factors, some factors as elements of an explanation. The Causal Parity Thesis in the philosophy of biology challenges the usual ways of making such selections among different causes operating in a developing organism. The main target of this thesis is usually gene centrism, the doctrine that genes play some special role in ontogeny, which is often described in terms of information-bearing or programming. This paper (...)
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  15. Evolutionary Developmental Biology Meets Levels of Selection: Modular Integration or Competition, or Both?Rasmus Grønfeldt Winther - 2005 - In Werner Callebaut & Diego Rasskin-Gutman (eds.), Modularity. Understanding the Development and Evolution of Natural Complex Systems. MIT Press.
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  16. Complexity Biology-Based Information Structures Can Explain Subjectivity, Objective Reduction of Wave Packets, and Non-Computability.Alex Hankey - 2014 - Cosmos and History 10 (1):237-250.
    Background: how mind functions is subject to continuing scientific discussion. A simplistic approach says that, since no convincing way has been found to model subjective experience, mind cannot exist. A second holds that, since mind cannot be described by classical physics, it must be described by quantum physics. Another perspective concerns mind's hypothesized ability to interact with the world of quanta: it should be responsible for reduction of quantum wave packets; physics producing 'Objective Reduction' is postulated to form the basis (...)
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  17. Biology's Last Paradigm Shift. The Transition From Natural Theology to Darwinism.Massimo Pigliucci - 2012 - Paradigmi 2012 (3):45-58.
    The theory of evolution, which provides the conceptual framework for all modern research in organismal biology and informs research in molecular bi- ology, has gone through several stages of expansion and refinement. Darwin and Wallace (1858) of course proposed the original idea, centering on the twin concepts of natural selection and common descent. Shortly thereafter, Wallace and August Weismann worked toward the complete elimination of any Lamarckian vestiges from the theory, leaning in particular on Weismann’s (1893) concept of the (...)
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  18. From Physics to Biology by Extending Criticality and Symmetry Breakings.Giuseppe Longo & Maël Montévil - 2011 - Progress in Biophysics and Molecular Biology 106:340 - 347.
    Symmetries play a major role in physics, in particular since the work by E. Noether and H. Weyl in the first half of last century. Herein, we briefly review their role by recalling how symmetry changes allow to conceptually move from classical to relativistic and quantum physics. We then introduce our ongoing theoretical analysis in biology and show that symmetries play a radically different role in this discipline, when compared to those in current physics. By this comparison, we stress (...)
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  19. Biology and Theology in Malebranche's Theory of Organic Generation.Karen Detlefsen - 2014 - In Ohad Nachtomy & Justin E. H. Smith (eds.), The Life Sciences in Early Modern Philosophy. Oxford University Press. pp. 137-156.
    This paper has two parts: In the first part, I give a general survey of the various reasons 17th and 18th century life scientists and metaphysicians endorsed the theory of pre-existence according to which God created all living beings at the creation of the universe, and no living beings are ever naturally generated anew. These reasons generally fall into three categories. The first category is theological. For example, many had the desire to account for how all humans are stained by (...)
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  20. Everything Flows: Towards a Processual Philosophy of Biology.Daniel J. Nicholson & John A. Dupre (eds.) - 2018 - Oxford University Press.
    This collection of essays explores the metaphysical thesis that the living world is not made up of substantial particles or things, as has often been assumed, but is rather constituted by processes. The biological domain is organised as an interdependent hierarchy of processes, which are stabilised and actively maintained at different timescales. Even entities that intuitively appear to be paradigms of things, such as organisms, are actually better understood as processes. Unlike previous attempts to articulate processual views of biology, (...)
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  21. Holistic Biology: Back on Stage? Comments on Post-Genomics in Historical Perspective.Alfred Gierer - 2002 - Philosophia Naturalis 39 (1):25-44.
    A strong motivation for the human genome project was to relate biological features to the structure and function of small sets of genes, and ideally to individual genes. However, it is now increasingly realized that many problems require a "systems" approach emphasizing the interplay of large numbers of genes, and the involvement of complex networks of gene regulation. This implies a new emphasis on integrative, systems theoretical approaches. It may be called 'holistic' if the term is used without irrational overtones, (...)
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  22. Mental Representations and Millikan’s Theory of Intentional Content: Does Biology Chase Causality?Robert D. Rupert - 1999 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 37 (1):113-140.
    In her landmark book, Language, Thought, and Other Biological Categories (Millikan1984),1 Ruth Garrett Millikan utilizes the idea of a biological function to solve philosophical problems associated with the phenomena of language, thought, and meaning. Language and thought are activities of biological organisms, according to Millikan, and we should treat them as such when trying to answer related philosophical questions. Of special interest is Millikan’s treatment of intentionality. Here Millikan employs the notion of a biological function to explain what it is (...)
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  23. How-Possibly Explanation in Biology: Lessons From Wilhelm His’s ‘Simple Experiments’ Models.Christopher Pearson - 2018 - Philosophy, Theory, and Practice in Biology 10 (4).
    A common view of how-possibly explanations in biology treats them as explanatorily incomplete. In addition to this interpretation of how-possibly explanation, I argue that there is another interpretation, one which features what I term “explanatory strategies.” This strategy-centered interpretation of how-possibly explanation centers on there being a different explanatory context within which how-possibly explanations are offered. I contend that, in conditions where this strategy context is recognized, how-possibly explanations can be understood as complete explanations. I defend this alternative interpretation (...)
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  24. A Manifesto for a Processual Philosophy of Biology.John A. Dupre & Daniel J. Nicholson - 2018 - In Daniel J. Nicholson & John A. Dupre (eds.), Everything Flows: Towards a Processual Philosophy of Biology.
    This chapter argues that scientific and philosophical progress in our understanding of the living world requires that we abandon a metaphysics of things in favour of one centred on processes. We identify three main empirical motivations for adopting a process ontology in biology: metabolic turnover, life cycles, and ecological interdependence. We show how taking a processual stance in the philosophy of biology enables us to ground existing critiques of essentialism, reductionism, and mechanicism, all of which have traditionally been (...)
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  25.  53
    Measurement in Biology is Methodized by Theory.Maël Montévil - 2019 - Biology and Philosophy 34 (3):35.
    We characterize access to empirical objects in biology from a theoretical perspective. Unlike objects in current physical theories, biological objects are the result of a history and their variations continue to generate a history. This property is the starting point of our concept of measurement. We argue that biological measurement is relative to a natural history which is shared by the different objects subjected to the measurement and is more or less constrained by biologists. We call symmetrization the theoretical (...)
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  26.  23
    The Individual in Biology and Psychology.Robert A. Wilson - 1999 - In V. Harcastle (ed.), Where Biology Meets Psychology. pp. 355--374.
    Individual organisms are obvious enough kinds of things to have been taken for granted as the entities that have many commonly attributed biological and psychological properties, both in common sense and in science. The sorts of morphological properties used by the folk to categorize individual animals and plants into common sense kinds (that's a dog; that's a rose), as well as the properties that feature as parts of phenotypes, are properties of individual organisms. And psychological properties, such as believing that (...)
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  27. Thought Experiments in Biology.Guillaume Schlaepfer & Marcel Weber - 2018 - In Michael T. Stuart, Yiftach J. H. Fehige & James Robert Brown (eds.), The Routledge Companion to Thought Experiments. London: Routledge. pp. 243-256.
    Unlike in physics, the category of thought experiment is not very common in biology. At least there are no classic examples that are as important and as well-known as the most famous thought experiments in physics, such as Galileo’s, Maxwell’s or Einstein’s. The reasons for this are far from obvious; maybe it has to do with the fact that modern biology for the most part sees itself as a thoroughly empirical discipline that engages either in real natural history (...)
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  28. This is the Synthetic Biology That Is. [REVIEW]Daniel Liu - 2017 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 63:89-93.
    Review of: Sophia Roosth, Synthetic: How Life Got Made (University of Chicago Press, 2017); and Andrew S. Balmer, Katie Bulpin, and Susan Molyneux-Hodgson, Synthetic Biology: A Sociology of Changing Practices (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016).
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  29. Neither Logical Empiricism nor Vitalism, but Organicism: What the Philosophy of Biology Was.Daniel J. Nicholson & Richard Gawne - 2015 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 37 (4):345-381.
    Philosophy of biology is often said to have emerged in the last third of the twentieth century. Prior to this time, it has been alleged that the only authors who engaged philosophically with the life sciences were either logical empiricists who sought to impose the explanatory ideals of the physical sciences onto biology, or vitalists who invoked mystical agencies in an attempt to ward off the threat of physicochemical reduction. These schools paid little attention to actual biological science, (...)
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  30. Whence Philosophy of Biology?Jason M. Byron - 2007 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 58 (3):409-422.
    A consensus exists among contemporary philosophers of biology about the history of their field. According to the received view, mainstream philosophy of science in the 1930s, 40s, and 50s focused on physics and general epistemology, neglecting analyses of the 'special sciences', including biology. The subdiscipline of philosophy of biology emerged (and could only have emerged) after the decline of logical positivism in the 1960s and 70s. In this article, I present bibliometric data from four major philosophy of (...)
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  31. Information in Biology: A Fictionalist Account.Arnon Levy - 2011 - Noûs 45 (4):640-657.
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  32. The Mismeasure of Machine: Synthetic Biology and the Trouble with Engineering Metaphors.Maarten Boudry & Massimo Pigliucci - 2013 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences (4):660-668.
    The scientific study of living organisms is permeated by machine and design metaphors. Genes are thought of as the ‘‘blueprint’’ of an organism, organisms are ‘‘reverse engineered’’ to discover their func- tionality, and living cells are compared to biochemical factories, complete with assembly lines, transport systems, messenger circuits, etc. Although the notion of design is indispensable to think about adapta- tions, and engineering analogies have considerable heuristic value (e.g., optimality assumptions), we argue they are limited in several important respects. In (...)
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  33. Are Ecology and Evolutionary Biology “Soft” Sciences?Massimo Pigliucci - 2002 - Annales Zoologici Finnici 39:87-98.
    Research in ecology and evolutionary biology (evo-eco) often tries to emulate the “hard” sciences such as physics and chemistry, but to many of its practitioners feels more like the “soft” sciences of psychology and sociology. I argue that this schizophrenic attitude is the result of lack of appreciation of the full consequences of the peculiarity of the evo-eco sciences as lying in between a-historical disciplines such as physics and completely historical ones as like paleontology. Furthermore, evo-eco researchers have gotten (...)
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  34. Can Synthetic Biology Shed Light on the Origin of Life?Christophe Malaterre - 2009 - Biological Theory 4 (4):357-367.
    It is a most commonly accepted hypothesis that life originated from inanimate matter, somehow being a synthetic product of organic aggregates, and as such, a result of some sort of prebiotic synthetic biology. In the past decades, the newly formed scientific discipline of synthetic biology has set ambitious goals by pursuing the complete design and production of genetic circuits, entire genomes or even whole organisms. In this paper, I argue that synthetic biology might also shed some novel (...)
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  35. The History of Biology and its Importance for Gender Studies.Yusuke Kaneko - 2016 - GÉNEROS –Multidisciplinary Journal of Gender Studies 5 (2).
    The aim of this paper is to call the attention, especially that of feminists, to the current progress in biology. It appears gender studies still confine themselves to outdated ideas of sex chromosomes like XX, XY (§10). However, science has been making progress. It no longer sticks to such matters as XX, XY. Its interest is now in Sry, a kind of gene (§11), and MIS, a kind of sex hormone (§14). Abnormalities of sex chromosomes are no longer evidence (...)
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  36. Well-Structured Biology: Numerical Taxonomy's Epistemic Vision for Systematics.Beckett Sterner - 2014 - In Andrew Hamilton (ed.), The Evolution of Phylogenetic Systematics. University of California Press. pp. 213-244.
    What does it look like when a group of scientists set out to re-envision an entire field of biology in symbolic and formal terms? I analyze the founding and articulation of Numerical Taxonomy between 1950 and 1970, the period when it set out a radical new approach to classification and founded a tradition of mathematics in systematic biology. I argue that introducing mathematics in a comprehensive way also requires re-organizing the daily work of scientists in the field. Numerical (...)
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  37. Defusing Ideological Defenses in Biology.Angela Potochnik - 2013 - BioScience 63 (2):118-123.
    Ideological language is widespread in theoretical biology. Evolutionary game theory has been defended as a worldview and a leap of faith, and sexual selection theory has been criticized for what it posits as basic to biological nature. Views such as these encourage the impression of ideological rifts in the field. I advocate an alternative interpretation, whereby many disagreements between different camps of biologists merely reflect methodological differences. This interpretation provides a more accurate and more optimistic account of the state (...)
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  38. Potentiality in Biology.Andreas Hüttemann & Marie I. Kaiser - 2018 - In K. Engelhardt & M. Quante (eds.), Handbook of Potentiality. Dordrecht: Springer. pp. 401-428.
    We take the potentialities that are studied in the biological sciences (e.g., totipotency) to be an important subtype of biological dispositions. The goal of this paper is twofold: first, we want to provide a detailed understanding of what biological dispositions are. We claim that two features are essential for dispositions in biology: the importance of the manifestation process and the diversity of conditions that need to be satisfied for the disposition to be manifest. Second, we demonstrate that the concept (...)
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  39. Sameness in Biology.Grant Ramsey & Anne Siebels Peterson - 2012 - Philosophy of Science 79 (2):255-275.
    Homology is a biological sameness relation that is purported to hold in the face of changes in form, composition, and function. In spite of the centrality and importance of homology, there is no consensus on how we should understand this concept. The two leading views of homology, the genealogical and developmental accounts, have significant shortcomings. We propose a new account, the hierarchical-dependency account of homology, which avoids these shortcomings. Furthermore, our account provides for continuity between special, general, and serial homology.
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  40. The Mismeasure of Machine: Synthetic Biology and the Trouble with Engineering Metaphors.Maarten Boudry & Massimo Pigliucci - 2013 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 44 (4):660-668.
    The scientific study of living organisms is permeated by machine and design metaphors. Genes are thought of as the ‘‘blueprint’’ of an organism, organisms are ‘‘reverse engineered’’ to discover their functionality, and living cells are compared to biochemical factories, complete with assembly lines, transport systems, messenger circuits, etc. Although the notion of design is indispensable to think about adaptations, and engineering analogies have considerable heuristic value (e.g., optimality assumptions), we argue they are limited in several important respects. In particular, the (...)
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  41. Overcoming the Newtonian Paradigm: The Unfinished Project of Theoretical Biology From a Schellingian Perspective.Arran Gare - 2013 - Progress in Biophysics and Molecular Biology 113:5-24.
    Defending Robert Rosen’s claim that in every confrontation between physics and biology it is physics that has always had to give ground, it is shown that many of the most important advances in mathematics and physics over the last two centuries have followed from Schelling’s demand for a new physics that could make the emergence of life intelligible. Consequently, while reductionism prevails in biology, many biophysicists are resolutely anti-reductionist. This history is used to identify and defend a fragmented (...)
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  42. The Concept of Mechanism in Biology.Daniel J. Nicholson - 2012 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 43 (1):152-163.
    The concept of mechanism in biology has three distinct meanings. It may refer to a philosophical thesis about the nature of life and biology (‘mechanicism’), to the internal workings of a machine-like structure (‘machine mechanism’), or to the causal explanation of a particular phenomenon (‘causal mechanism’). In this paper I trace the conceptual evolution of ‘mechanism’ in the history of biology, and I examine how the three meanings of this term have come to be featured in the (...)
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  43. The Proximate–Ultimate Distinction and Evolutionary Developmental Biology: Causal Irrelevance Versus Explanatory Abstraction.Massimo Pigliucci & Raphael Scholl - 2015 - Biology and Philosophy 30 (5):653-670.
    Mayr’s proximate–ultimate distinction has received renewed interest in recent years. Here we discuss its role in arguments about the relevance of developmental to evolutionary biology. We show that two recent critiques of the proximate–ultimate distinction fail to explain why developmental processes in particular should be of interest to evolutionary biologists. We trace these failures to a common problem: both critiques take the proximate–ultimate distinction to neglect specific causal interactions in nature. We argue that this is implausible, and that the (...)
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  44. Is Defining Life Pointless? Operational Definitions at the Frontiers of Biology.Leonardo Bich & Sara Green - 2017 - Synthese:1-28.
    Despite numerous and increasing attempts to define what life is, there is no consensus on necessary and sufficient conditions for life. Accordingly, some scholars have questioned the value of definitions of life and encouraged scientists and philosophers alike to discard the project. As an alternative to this pessimistic conclusion, we argue that critically rethinking the nature and uses of definitions can provide new insights into the epistemic roles of definitions of life for different research practices. This paper examines the possible (...)
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  45. The Return of the Organism as a Fundamental Explanatory Concept in Biology.Daniel J. Nicholson - 2014 - Philosophy Compass 9 (5):347-359.
    Although it may seem like a truism to assert that biology is the science that studies organisms, during the second half of the twentieth century the organism category disappeared from biological theory. Over the past decade, however, biology has begun to witness the return of the organism as a fundamental explanatory concept. There are three major causes: (a) the realization that the Modern Synthesis does not provide a fully satisfactory understanding of evolution; (b) the growing awareness of the (...)
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  46. The Biosemiotic Approach in Biology : Theoretical Bases and Applied Models.Joao Queiroz, Claus Emmeche, Kalevi Kull & Charbel El-Hani - 2011 - In George Terzis & Robert Arp (eds.), Information and Living Systems -- Philosophical and Scientific Perspectives. MIT Press. pp. 91-130.
    Biosemiotics is a growing fi eld that investigates semiotic processes in the living realm in an attempt to combine the fi ndings of the biological sciences and semiotics. Semiotic processes are more or less what biologists have typically referred to as “ signals, ” “ codes, ”and “ information processing ”in biosystems, but these processes are here understood under the more general notion of semiosis, that is, the production, action, and interpretation of signs. Thus, biosemiotics can be seen as (...) interpreted as a study of living sign systems — which also means that semiosis or sign process can be seen as the very nature of life itself. In other words, biosemiotics is a field of research investigating semiotic processes (meaning, signification, communication, and habit formation in living systems) and the physicochemical preconditions for sign action and interpretation. -/- (...). (shrink)
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  47. The Nature of Evolutionary Biology: At the Borderlands Between Historical and Experimental Science.Massimo Pigliucci - 2013 - In Kostas Kampourakis (ed.), The Philosophy of Biology: A Companion for Educators. Springer.
    The scientific status of evolutionary theory seems to be more or less perennially under question. I am not referring here (just) to the silliness of young Earth creation- ism (Pigliucci 2002; Boudry and Braeckman 2010), or even of the barely more intel- lectually sophisticated so-called Intelligent Design theory (Recker 2010; Brigandt this volume), but rather to discussions among scientists and philosophers of science concerning the epistemic status of evolutionary theory (Sober 2010). As we shall see in what follows, this debate (...)
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  48. Rethinking Woodger’s Legacy in the Philosophy of Biology.Daniel J. Nicholson & Richard Gawne - 2014 - Journal of the History of Biology 47 (2):243-292.
    The writings of Joseph Henry Woodger (1894–1981) are often taken to exemplify everything that was wrongheaded, misguided, and just plain wrong with early twentieth-century philosophy of biology. Over the years, commentators have said of Woodger: (a) that he was a fervent logical empiricist who tried to impose the explanatory gold standards of physics onto biology, (b) that his philosophical work was completely disconnected from biological science, (c) that he possessed no scientific or philosophical credentials, and (d) that his (...)
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  49. ‘On the Different Ways of ‘‘Doing Theory’’ in Biology‘.Massimo Pigliucci - 2013 - Biological Theory 7 (4): 287-297.
    ‘‘Theoretical biology’’ is a surprisingly heter- ogeneous field, partly because it encompasses ‘‘doing the- ory’’ across disciplines as diverse as molecular biology, systematics, ecology, and evolutionary biology. Moreover, it is done in a stunning variety of different ways, using anything from formal analytical models to computer sim- ulations, from graphic representations to verbal arguments. In this essay I survey a number of aspects of what it means to do theoretical biology, and how they compare with the (...)
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  50. Life and Quantum Biology, an Interdisciplinary Approach.Alfred Driessen - 2015 - Acta Philosophica 24 (1):69-86.
    The rapidly increasing interest in the quantum properties of living matter stimulates a discussion of the fundamental properties of life as well as quantum mechanics. In this discussion often concepts are used that originate in philosophy and ask for a philosophical analysis. In the present work the classic philosophical tradition based on Aristotle and Aquinas is employed which surprisingly is able to shed light on important aspects. Especially one could mention the high degree of unity in living objects and the (...)
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