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Biology And Ideology From Descartes To Dawkins

Author: Denis R. Alexander
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 0226608425
Size: 38.13 MB
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Over the course of human history, the sciences, and biology in particular, have often been manipulated to cause immense human suffering. For example, biology has been used to justify eugenic programs, forced sterilization, human experimentation, and death camps—all in an attempt to support notions of racial superiority. By investigating the past, the contributors to Biology and Ideology from Descartes to Dawkins hope to better prepare us to discern ideological abuse of science when it occurs in the future. Denis R. Alexander and Ronald L. Numbers bring together fourteen experts to examine the varied ways science has been used and abused for nonscientific purposes from the fifteenth century to the present day. Featuring an essay on eugenics from Edward J. Larson and an examination of the progress of evolution by Michael J. Ruse, Biology and Ideology examines uses both benign and sinister, ultimately reminding us that ideological extrapolation continues today. An accessible survey, this collection will enlighten historians of science, their students, practicing scientists, and anyone interested in the relationship between science and culture.

In Search Of Mechanisms

Author: Carl F. Craver
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 022603982X
Size: 25.86 MB
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Neuroscientists investigate the mechanisms of spatial memory. Molecular biologists study the mechanisms of protein synthesis and the myriad mechanisms of gene regulation. Ecologists study nutrient cycling mechanisms and their devastating imbalances in estuaries such as the Chesapeake Bay. In fact, much of biology and its history involves biologists constructing, evaluating, and revising their understanding of mechanisms. With In Search of Mechanisms, Carl F. Craver and Lindley Darden offer both a descriptive and an instructional account of how biologists discover mechanisms. Drawing on examples from across the life sciences and through the centuries, Craver and Darden compile an impressive toolbox of strategies that biologists have used and will use again to reveal the mechanisms that produce, underlie, or maintain the phenomena characteristic of living things. They discuss the questions that figure in the search for mechanisms, characterizing the experimental, observational, and conceptual considerations used to answer them, all the while providing examples from the history of biology to highlight the kinds of evidence and reasoning strategies employed to assess mechanisms. At a deeper level, Craver and Darden pose a systematic view of what biology is, of how biology makes progress, of how biological discoveries are and might be made, and of why knowledge of biological mechanisms is important for the future of the human species.

Instrumental Biology Or The Disunity Of Science

Author: Alexander Rosenberg
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 9780226727257
Size: 52.65 MB
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Do the sciences aim to uncover the structure of nature, or are they ultimately a practical means of controlling our environment? In Instrumental Biology, or the Disunity of Science, Alexander Rosenberg argues that while physics and chemistry can develop laws that reveal the structure of natural phenomena, biology is fated to be a practical, instrumental discipline. Because of the complexity produced by natural selection, and because of the limits on human cognition, scientists are prevented from uncovering the basic structure of biological phenomena. Consequently, biology and all of the disciplines that rest upon it—psychology and the other human sciences—must aim at most to provide practical tools for coping with the natural world rather than a complete theoretical understanding of it.

Science And Ideology

Author: Mark Walker
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 1136466622
Size: 78.87 MB
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Does science work best in a democracy? Were 'Soviet' or 'Nazi' science fundamentally different from science in the USA? These questions have been passionately debated in the recent past. Particular developments in science took place under particular political regimes, but they may or may not have been directly determined by them. Science and Ideology brings together a number of comparative case studies to examine the relationship between science and the dominant ideology of a state. Cybernetics in the USA is compared to France and the Soviet Union. Postwar Allied science policy in occupied Germany is juxtaposed to that in Japan. The essays are narrowly focussed, yet cover a wide range of countries and ideologies. The collection provides a unique comparative history of scientific policies and practices in the 20th century.

Biological Individuality

Author: Scott Lidgard
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 022644659X
Size: 51.69 MB
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Individuals are things that everybody knows—or thinks they do. Yet even scholars who practice or analyze the biological sciences often cannot agree on what an individual is and why. One reason for this disagreement is that the many important biological individuality concepts serve very different purposes—defining, classifying, or explaining living structure, function, interaction, persistence, or evolution. Indeed, as the contributors to Biological Individuality reveal, nature is too messy for simple definitions of this concept, organisms too quirky in the diverse ways they reproduce, function, and interact, and human ideas about individuality too fraught with philosophical and historical meaning. Bringing together biologists, historians, and philosophers, this book provides a multifaceted exploration of biological individuality that identifies leading and less familiar perceptions of individuality both past and present, what they are good for, and in what contexts. Biological practice and theory recognize individuals at myriad levels of organization, from genes to organisms to symbiotic systems. We depend on these notions of individuality to address theoretical questions about multilevel natural selection and Darwinian fitness; to illuminate empirical questions about development, function, and ecology; to ground philosophical questions about the nature of organisms and causation; and to probe historical and cultural circumstances that resonate with parallel questions about the nature of society. Charting an interdisciplinary research agenda that broadens the frameworks in which biological individuality is discussed, this book makes clear that in the realm of the individual, there is not and should not be a direct path from biological paradigms based on model organisms through to philosophical generalization and historical reification.

Life On Ice

Author: Joanna Radin
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 022641731X
Size: 55.23 MB
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Preface: frozen spirits -- Introduction: within cold blood -- The technoscience of life at low temperature -- Latent life in biomedicine's ice age -- Temporalities of salvage -- "As yet unknown": life for the future -- "Before it's too late": life from the past -- Collecting, maintaining, reusing, and returning -- Managing the cold chain: making life mobile -- When futures arrive: lives after time -- Epilogue: thawing spirits

The Tragic Sense Of Life

Author: Robert J. Richards
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 9780226712192
Size: 45.38 MB
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Prior to the First World War, more people learned of evolutionary theory from the voluminous writings of Charles Darwin’s foremost champion in Germany, Ernst Haeckel (1834–1919), than from any other source, including the writings of Darwin himself. But, with detractors ranging from paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould to modern-day creationists and advocates of intelligent design, Haeckel is better known as a divisive figure than as a pioneering biologist. Robert J. Richards’s intellectual biography rehabilitates Haeckel, providing the most accurate measure of his science and art yet written, as well as a moving account of Haeckel’s eventful life.

Dawkins Vs Gould

Author: Kim Sterelny
Publisher: Icon Books UK
ISBN: 9781840462494
Size: 56.97 MB
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Over the last twenty years, Richard Dawkins and Stephen Jay Gould have engaged in a savage battle over evolution that shows no sign of waning. Sterelny moves beyond caricature to expose the real differences between the conceptions of evolution of these two leading scientists. Australian author.

Genes Determinism And God

Author: Denis Alexander
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 1107141141
Size: 13.92 MB
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Over the past centuries the pendulum has constantly swung between an emphasis on the role of either nature or nurture in shaping human destiny, a pendulum often energised by ideological considerations. In recent decades the flourishing of developmental biology, genomics, epigenetics and our increased understanding of neuronal plasticity have all helped to subvert such dichotomous notions. Nevertheless, the media still report the discovery of a gene 'for' this or that behaviour, and the field of behavioural genetics continues to extend its reach into the social sciences, reporting the heritability of such human traits as religiosity and political affiliation. There are many continuing challenges to notions of human freedom and moral responsibility, with consequent implications for social flourishing, the legal system and religious beliefs. In this book, Denis Alexander critically examines these challenges, concluding that genuine free will, often influenced by genetic variation, emerges from an integrated view of human personhood derived from contemporary biology.

Not In Our Genes

Author: Richard Lewontin
Publisher:
ISBN: 9781608467273
Size: 58.46 MB
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Three eminent scientists analyze the scientific, social, and political roots of biological determinism.