Sex and Death - An Introduction to Philosophy of Biology
Sterelny (Kim) & Griffiths (Paul)
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BOOK ABSTRACT:

Synopsis

  1. Is the history of life a series of accidents or a drama scripted by selfish genes? Is there an "essential" human nature, determined at birth or in a distant evolutionary past? What should we conserve – species, ecosystems, or something else?
  2. Informed answers to questions like these, critical to our understanding of ourselves and the world around us, require both a knowledge of biology and a philosophical framework within which to make sense of its findings.
  3. In this accessible introduction to philosophy of biology, Kim Sterelny and Paul E. Griffiths present both the science and the philosophical context necessary for a critical understanding of the most exciting debates shaping biology today.
  4. The authors, both of whom have published extensively in this field, describe the range of competing views – including their own – on these fascinating topics. With its clear explanations of both biological and philosophical concepts, Sex and Death will appeal not only to undergraduates, but also to the many general readers eager to think critically about the science of life.

BOOK COMMENT:

University of Chicago Press, London, 1999



"Sterelny (Kim) & Griffiths (Paul) - Sex and Death: Introduction"

Source: Sterelny & Griffiths - Sex and Death - An Introduction to Philosophy of Biology, Introduction



"Sterelny (Kim) & Griffiths (Paul) - Theory Really Matters: Philosophy of Biology and Social Issues"

Source: Sterelny & Griffiths - Sex and Death - An Introduction to Philosophy of Biology, Chapter 1


Sections
  1. The Science of Life Itself – 3
  2. Is There an Essential Human Nature? – 7
  3. Is Genuine Altruism Possible? – 10
  4. Are Human Beings Programmed by Their Genes? – 13
  5. Biology and the Pre-emption of Social Science – 17
  6. What Should Conservationists Conserve? – 19


COMMENT: Part I – Introduction



"Sterelny (Kim) & Griffiths (Paul) - The Received View of Evolution"

Source: Sterelny & Griffiths - Sex and Death - An Introduction to Philosophy of Biology, Chapter 2


Sections
  1. The Diversity of Life – 22
  2. Evolution and Natural Selection – 31
  3. The Received View and Its Challenges – 38


COMMENT: Part I – Introduction



"Sterelny (Kim) & Griffiths (Paul) - The Gene's Eye View of Evolution"

Source: Sterelny & Griffiths - Sex and Death - An Introduction to Philosophy of Biology, Chapter 3


Sections
  1. Replicators and Interactors – 55
  2. The Special Status of Replicators – 61
  3. The Bookkeeping Argument – 66
  4. The Extended Phenotype – 70


COMMENT:



"Sterelny (Kim) & Griffiths (Paul) - The Organism Strikes Back"

Source: Sterelny & Griffiths - Sex and Death - An Introduction to Philosophy of Biology, Chapter 4


Sections
  1. What Is a Gene? – 77
  2. Genes Are Active Germ Line Replicators – 82
  3. Genes Are Difference Makers – 87


COMMENT: Part II – Genes, Molecules, and Organisms



"Sterelny (Kim) & Griffiths (Paul) - The Developmental Systems Alternative"

Source: Sterelny & Griffiths - Sex and Death - An Introduction to Philosophy of Biology, Chapter 5


Sections
  1. Gene Selectionism and Development – 94
  2. Epigenetic Inheritance and Beyond – 95
  3. The Interactionist Consensus – 97
  4. Information in Development – 100
  5. Other Grounds for Privileging Genes – 106
  6. Developmental Systems and Extended Replicators – 107
  7. One True Story? – 109


COMMENT: Part II – Genes, Molecules, and Organisms



"Sterelny (Kim) & Griffiths (Paul) - Mendel and Molecules"

Source: Sterelny & Griffiths - Sex and Death - An Introduction to Philosophy of Biology, Chapter 6


Sections
  1. How Theories Relate: Displacement, Incorporation, and Integration – 112
  2. What Is Mendelian Genetics? – 121
  3. Molecular Genetics: Transcription and Translation – 124
  4. Gene Regulation – 128
  5. Are Genes Protein Makers? – 132


COMMENT: Part II – Genes, Molecules, and Organisms



"Sterelny (Kim) & Griffiths (Paul) - Reduction: For and Against"

Source: Sterelny & Griffiths - Sex and Death - An Introduction to Philosophy of Biology, Chapter 7


Sections
  1. The Antireductionist Consensus – 137
  2. Reduction by Degrees? – 139
  3. Are Genes DNA Sequences Plus Contexts? – 141
  4. The Reductionist Anticonsensus – 142


COMMENT: Part II – Genes, Molecules, and Organisms



"Sterelny (Kim) & Griffiths (Paul) - Organisms, Groups, and Superorganisms"

Source: Sterelny & Griffiths - Sex and Death - An Introduction to Philosophy of Biology, Chapter 8


Sections
  1. Interactors – 151
  2. The Challenge of Altruism – 153
  3. Group Selection: Take 1 – 156
  4. Group Selection; Take 2 – 160
  5. Population-Structured Evolution – 166
  6. Organisms and Superorganisms – 172


COMMENT:



"Sterelny (Kim) & Griffiths (Paul) - Species"

Source: Sterelny & Griffiths - Sex and Death - An Introduction to Philosophy of Biology, Chapter 9


Sections
  1. Are Species Real? – 180
  2. The Nature of Species – 184
  3. The One True Tree of Life – 194
  4. Species Selection – 201


COMMENT: Part III – Organisms, Groups, and Species



"Sterelny (Kim) & Griffiths (Paul) - Adaptation, Perfection, Function"

Source: Sterelny & Griffiths - Sex and Death - An Introduction to Philosophy of Biology, Chapter 10


Sections
  1. Adaptation – 217
  2. Function – 220
  3. The Attack on Adaptationism – 224
  4. What Is Adaptationism? – 226
  5. Structuralism and the Bauplan – 228
  6. Optimality and Falsifiability – 234
  7. Adaptation and the Comparative Method – 241


COMMENT:



"Sterelny (Kim) & Griffiths (Paul) - Adaptation, Ecology, and the Environment"

Source: Sterelny & Griffiths - Sex and Death - An Introduction to Philosophy of Biology, Chapter 11


Sections
  1. The Received View in Ecology – 253
  2. History and Theory in Ecology – 258
  3. The Balance of Nature – 266
  4. Niches and Organisms – 268
  5. Reconstructing Niches – 272
  6. Unfinished Business – 276


COMMENT: Part IV – Evolutionary Explanations



"Sterelny (Kim) & Griffiths (Paul) - Life on Earth: The Big Picture"

Source: Sterelny & Griffiths - Sex and Death - An Introduction to Philosophy of Biology, Chapter 12


Sections
  1. The Arrow of Time and the Ladder of Progress – 280
  2. Gould's Challenge – 287
  3. What Is Disparity? – 291
  4. Contingency and Its Consequences – 296
  5. Mass Extinction and the History of Life – 302
  6. Conclusions – 306


COMMENT: Part IV – Evolutionary Explanations



"Sterelny (Kim) & Griffiths (Paul) - From Sociobiology to Evolutionary Psychology"

Source: Sterelny & Griffiths - Sex and Death - An Introduction to Philosophy of Biology, Chapter 13
Write-up Note1

Sections
  1. 1975 and All That – 313
  2. The Wilson Program – 318
  3. From Darwinian Behaviorism to Darwinian Psychology – 321
  4. Evolutionary Psychology and Its Promise – 324
  5. Evolutionary Psychology and Its Problems – 328
  6. Memes and Cultural Evolution – 332


COMMENT:



"Sterelny (Kim) & Griffiths (Paul) - A Case Study: Evolutionary Theories of Emotion"

Source: Sterelny & Griffiths - Sex and Death - An Introduction to Philosophy of Biology, Chapter 14


Sections
  1. Darwin on the Emotions
  2. Sociobiology and Evolutionary Psychology on the Emotions – 337
  3. The Modular Emotions – 344
  4. Beyond the Modular Emotions – 348
  5. Emotion, Evolution, and Evolved Psychology – 352


COMMENT: Part V – Evolution and Human Nature



"Sterelny (Kim) & Griffiths (Paul) - What Is Life?"

Source: Sterelny & Griffiths - Sex and Death - An Introduction to Philosophy of Biology, Chapter 15


Sections
  1. Defining Life – 357
  2. Universal Biology – 364
  3. Simulation and Emergence – 370



"Sterelny (Kim) & Griffiths (Paul) - Sex and Death: Final Thoughts"

Source: Sterelny & Griffiths - Sex and Death - An Introduction to Philosophy of Biology, Conclusion

COMMENT: Part VI – Concluding Thoughts



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  1. Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2019
  2. Mauve: Text by correspondent(s) or other author(s); © the author(s)



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