Philosophy of Science

Toward a New Philosophy of Biology

by Ernst Mayr
Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1988. 575 pages.

"Too often in the past the biologists have ignored the analyses of the philosophers, and the philosophers have ignored the discoveries of the biologists," Ernst Mayr writes in the preface to his now-classic 1988 book. "My hope is that this book will help to strengthen the bridge between biology and philosophy, and point to the direction in which a new philosophy of biology will move." "Toward a New Philosophy of Biology is a book to be developed, to be argued with, a book whose margin should be filled with excited scribblings," wrote the reviewer for Nature.

Philosophy of Biology, second edition

by Elliott Sober
Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 2000. 236 pages.

Commenting on the first edition of Sober's book, David L. Hull wrote, "Elliott Sober has written Philosophy of Biology as an introductory text, and as such it succeeds admirably. But in addition to addressing more popular controversies such as sociobiology and creationism, he also motivates, elucidates, and even advances the current debates among his peers. As always, Sober's exposition is clear and penetrating." The second edition (2000) brings the text up to date.

Sex and Death: An Introduction to Philosophy of Biology

by Kim Sterelny and Paul E. Griffiths
Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1999. 456 pages.

"The results of the biological sciences are of obvious interest to philosophers because they seem to tell us what we are, how we came to be, and how we relate to the rest of the natural world." Thus Sterelny and Griffiths begin their lucid, lively, and comprehensive introductory text.

Conceptual Issues in Evolutionary Biology, second edition

edited by Elliott Sober
Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 1993. 526 pages.

Commenting on the first edition of Elliott Sober's anthology on the philosophy of biology, Richard C. Lewontin wrote, "I can think of no one better qualified to put together a book on the subject.

The Philosophy of Biology

edited by David L. Hull and Michael Ruse
New York: Oxford University Press, 1998. 784 pages.

From the publisher: "Drawing on work of the past decade, this volume brings together articles from the philosophy, history, and sociology of science, and many other branches of the biological sciences. The volume delves into the latest theoretical controversies as well as burning questions of contemporary social importance.

Philosophy of Biology

edited by Michael Ruse
Amherst, NY: Libri, 1998. 360 pages.

The topics addressed in Ruse's anthology are what is life?, explaining design, Darwinism and the tautology problem, the challenge of punctuated equilibrium, problems of classification, teleology: help or hindrance?, molecular biology, the recombinant DNA debate, human sociobiology, extraterrestrials?, evolution and ethics, God and biology, and cloning. The selections include classic discussions by Aristotle, Paley, and Darwin and up-to-the-minute articles by Arthur L. Caplan, Stephen Jay Gould, and E.O. Wilson. Ruse, a Supporter of NCSE, is the Lucyle T.

Human Nature after Darwin

by Janet Radcliffe Richards
London: Routledge, 2001. 336 pages.

"It is difficult," Janet Radcliffe Richards acknowledges, "to know whether to count [Human Nature after Darwin] as a substantive thesis about the implications of Darwinism with a subsidiary methodological thesis, or a Darwinian introduction to philosophy." Either way, her book is a clear and lively introduction to the debates surrounding the philosophical implications — real and supposed — of evolutionary biology.

Taking Darwin Seriously, second edition

by Michael Ruse
Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books, 1998. 332 pages.

"I do not know if Taking Darwin Seriously is my best or most important book," Ruse writes in the preface to the second edition (1998), "but I do know that it is my most personal and the one which in respects means the most to me." In it, he attempts to "work out a full and satisfying position on the basic questions of epistemology (theory of knowledge) and ethics (theory of morality)" in the light of evolution.

Darwin and Design

by Michael Ruse
Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2004. 384 pages.

Writing in BioScience, NCSE's Eugenie C. Scott and Glenn Branch comment, "For a truly synoptic view of the intellectual backdrop, Michael Ruse's Darwin and Design (2003) — the final volume in a trilogy containing Monad to Man (1996) and Mystery of Mysteries (1999) — is just the ticket. Ruse explains in exhilarating detail how the attempts to explain the apparent design of the biological world have shaped the history of biology from Plato and Aristotle to the present day.

Vaulting Ambition: Sociobiology and the Quest for Human Nature

by Philip Kitcher
Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 1987. 470 pages.

Published in 1985, Vaulting Ambition sought to "explain as clearly as possible what sociobiology is, how it relates to evolutionary theory, and how the ambitious claims that have attracted so much public attention rest on shoddy analysis and flimsy arguments." While acknowledging the scientific contributions of sociobiology, Kitcher, a philosopher of science (and Supporter of NCSE), castigated what he called "pop" sociobiology for a lack of evidential and theoretical rigor.