By Daniel W. McShea, Alexander Rosenberg
Is lifestyles a simply actual method? what's human nature? Which of our characteristics is key to us? during this quantity, Daniel McShea and Alex Rosenberg – a biologist and a thinker, respectively – sign up for forces to create a brand new gateway to the philosophy of biology; making the foremost concerns available and proper to biologists and philosophers alike.
Exploring thoughts similar to supervenience; the controversies approximately genocentrism and genetic determinism; and the controversy approximately significant transitions important to modern brooding about macroevolution; the authors lay out the vast phrases within which we must always determine the impression of biology on human capacities, social associations and moral values.
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Additional resources for Philosophy of Biology: A Contemporary Introduction (Routledge Contemporary Introductions to Philosophy)
Naturally, this is something no biologist is willing to do. Are there alternatives to natural selection as the cause of adaptation? Two hundred years ago, the French biologist Jean-Baptiste Lamarck (1809) offered a theory based on use and disuse, accepted by some before Darwin (and to some extent by Darwin himself). Consider again the neck of the giraffe. Lamarck’s theory was that from an early age, each giraffe was stretching its neck to reach the tasty leaves at the tops of trees, and that a lifetime of stretching not only lengthened the giraffe’s neck but the longer neck was inherited by its offspring.
There are no places or times in which different laws of nature obtain. There could of course be, say, one and only one black hole in the entire universe, but its behavior will be the result of the operation of laws that would affect other black holes, if they existed, anywhere in the universe. So, there are no laws about Napoleon Bonaparte, or laws true only on the moon, or laws that obtain only during the Jurassic period. Of course Napoleon may combine properties, such as ambition, intelligence, and ruthlessness, never before or since brought together in exactly the same proportions, and 38 Philosophy of Biology these may explain his career.
The disadvantages are: there is no evidence in its favor and plenty of evidence against it. Obvious evidence against Lamarck is all around us in human history. For example, in China girls’ feet were bound for millennia, without any effect on their size at birth or their size if left unbound. Equally important, Lamarck’s theory requires that there be a causal chain from the act of neck stretching in some giraffe parent to that parent’s hereditary material (in modern terms, its DNA), so that the parent can produce an offspring with a longer neck.