Philosophy of the Life Sciences


Biologists and philosophers of science have joined together to explicate some of the more philosophical issues that arise in the life sciences, primarily in evolutionary biology.

Keywords: evolution; modern synthesis; reduction; selection; sociobiology

Further Reading

Ayala FJ and Dobzhansky T (1974) Studies in the Philosophy of Science. New York: Macmillan.

Brandon RN (1996) Concepts and Methods in Evolutionary Biology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Cartwright N (1983) How the Laws of Physics Lie. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Dawkins R (1976) The Selfish Gene. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Desmond A (1982) Archetypes and Ancestors: Palaeontology in Victorian London, 1850–1875. London: Blond & Briggs.

Dobzhansky T (1937) Genetics and the Origin of Species. New York: Columbia University Press.

Ereshefsky M (ed.) (1992) The Units of Evolution: Essays on the Nature of Species. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Fisher RA (1930) The Genetical Theory of Natural Selection. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Gayon J (1998) Darwinism's Struggle for Survival. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Haldane (1932) The Causes of Evolution. London: Harper.

Hamilton WD (1964) The genetical evolution of social behavior. Journal of Theoretical Biology 7: 1–52.

Hull DL and Ruse M (eds) (1998) The Philosophy of Biology. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Kitcher P (1985) Vaulting Ambition: Sociobiology and the Quest for Human Nature. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Mayr E (1942) Systematics and the Origin of Species. New York: Columbia University Press.

Mayr E and Provine WB (eds) (1980) The Evolutionary Synthesis: Perspectives on the Unification of Biology. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Mitchell SD (2000) Dimensions of scientific law. Philosophy of Science 67: 242–265.

Oyama S (1985) The Ontogeny of Information: Developmental Systems and Evolution. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Ruse M (1979) The Darwinian Revolution: Science Red in Tooth and Claw. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Sarkar S (1999) Genetics and Reductionism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Schlichting CD and Pigliucci M (1998) Phenotypic Evolution: A Reaction Norm Perspective. Sunderland, MA: Sinauer.

Simpson GG (1944) Tempo and Mode in Evolution. New York: Columbia University Press.

Sober E (2000) Philosophy of Biology, 2nd edn. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.

Sober E and Wilson DS (1998) Unto Others: The Evolution and Psychology of Unselfish Behaviour. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Sterelny K (2001) The Evolution of Agency and Other Essays. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Sterelny K and Griffiths PE (1999) Sex and Death: An Introduction to Philosophy of Biology. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Williams GC (1966) Adaptation and Natural Selection. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Wilson DS and Sober E (1994) Re‐introducing group selection in the human behavioral sciences. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 17: 585–608.

Wilson EO (1975) Sociobiology: The New Synthesis. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Wright S (1929) Fisher's theory of dominance. American Naturalist 63: 274–279.

Wright S (1931) Evolution in Mendelian populations. Genetics 16: 97–100, 155–159.

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How to Cite close
Hull, David L(Apr 2001) Philosophy of the Life Sciences. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. [doi: 10.1038/npg.els.0003449]