Philosopphy of Biology I
This is an introductory cousrse covering central issues in philopshy of biology. We will mainly examine a range of philosophical questions concerning the theory of evolution. We’ll start with notion of adaptation, and the critiques of “adaptationism”. This will lead us to questions concerning fitness, the relevance of development for understanding evolution, the units of selection, and the notion of function. We will conclude the semester by discussing reductionism, and macro-evolutionary processes such as speciation events.
Participating in class. Leading the discussion of one paper during the semester. Written short paper (referat).
Full syllabus TBD.
The Adaptationist Program
Developmental critiques, Nature/Nurture
Units of Selection
Function and Homology
Reduction in genetics and developmental biology
Species and Speciation
Transitions in Evolution
“Styles”: Population thinking (vs. Typological thinking) (Mayr), the historical nature of evolutionary explanation (Beatty & Desjardin) (time permitting)
The Design Argument (time permitting)