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This is a concise, comprehensive, and accessible introduction to the philosophy of biology written by a leading authority on the subject. Geared to philosophers, biologists, and students of both, the book provides sophisticated and invative coverage of the central topics and many of the latest developments in the field. Emphasizing connections between biological theories and other areas of philosophy, and carefully explaining both philosophical and biological terms, Peter Godfrey-Smith discusses the relation between philosophy and science; examines the role of laws, mechanistic explanation, and idealized models in biological theories; describes evolution by natural selection; and assesses attempts to extend Darwin's mechanism to explain changes in ideas, culture, and other phemena. Further topics include functions and teleology, individuality and organisms, species, the tree of life, and human nature. The book closes with detailed, cutting-edge treatments of the evolution of cooperation, of information in biology, and of the role of communication in living systems at all scales. Authoritative and up-to-date, this is an essential guide for anyone interested in the important philosophical issues raised by the biological sciences.
Peter Godfrey-Smith is Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at the CUNY Graduate Center. He is the author of Theory and Reality: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Science and Darwinian Populations and Natural Selection.
Shortlisted for Choice Magazine Outstanding Reference/Academic Book Award 2014.