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Following Form and Function: A Philosophical Archaeology of Life Science (Studies in Phenomenology and Existential Philosophy) Paperback

ISBN-13: 978-0810113985 ISBN-10: 0810113988 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Series: Studies in Phenomenology and Existential Philosophy
  • Paperback: 232 pages
  • Publisher: Northwestern University Press; 1 edition (December 18, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0810113988
  • ISBN-13: 978-0810113985
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.7 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,473,626 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Stephen T. Asma is Professor of Philosophy at Columbia College Chicago, where he holds the title of Distinguished Scholar.

Asma is the author of seven books, including "Against Fairness" (Univ. of Chicago Press, 2012), "On Monsters: an Unnatural History of Our Worst Fears" (Oxford Univ. Press), "Stuffed Animals and Pickled Heads" (Oxford Univ. Press), "The Gods Drink Whiskey" (HarperOne), and the best selling "Buddha for Beginners" (originally published in 1996 and reissued in 2008). His writing has been translated into German, Spanish, Hebrew, Czech, Romanian, Hindi, Portuguese, and Chinese.

Asma has written for the New York Times, the Sunday Times, the Daily Beast, the Chronicle of Higher Education, the Chicago Tribune, the Huffington Post, Psychology Today, the Fortnightly Review, and Skeptic magazine.

Dr. Asma is a founding Fellow of the "Research Group in Mind, Science and Culture" at Columbia College Chicago. The Research Group is actively working on a philosophical and scientific understanding of the mind/brain that properly incorporates the emotional dimensions of mammalian consciousness.

In addition to Western philosophy, Asma has an abiding interest in Buddhism and Confucianism. In 2003, he was Visiting Professor at the Buddhist Institute in Phnom Penh, Kingdom of Cambodia, teaching a "Buddhist Philosophy" seminar course as part of their Graduate Program in Buddhist Studies. In addition to Cambodia, he has also researched Asian philosophies in Thailand, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Mainland China, and Laos. He has also lived and studied in Shanghai China.

Asma has lectured at Harvard, Brown University, the Field Museum, the Newberry Library, the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History, and many more.

His website is:

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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By on November 1, 1998
Format: Paperback
Stephen T. Asma's book, Following Form and Function: A Philosophical Archaeology of Life Science, could also have been titled, Everything you wanted to know about the Cuvier-Geoffroy debate but were afraid to ask. Either title might, unfortunately, suggest a difficult book, addressing either a subject too arcane to be of interest to the general reader, or an unnecessary exercise: in regard to this latter concern, one could put forth that in our "sophisticated" time the inextricable linkage of form and function is taken for granted;onsequently the debate between Cuvier (arguing for the primacy of form/function) and Geoffroy (arguing for the priority of morphology/structure) is both deeply antiquated, and long resolved.
Early in his text, Asma sets the conceptual priorities straight: the central subject of his text (p 7), the form and function debate, speaks directly to the most profound questions of epistemology and metaphysics. Citing Stephen Gould (p 170n9,188n1) Asma proposes that this central subject is of greater immediacy and goes deeper than the conceptual struggle between evolution and creationism (Huxley).
By seating this debate in its proper historical, and philosphical context, the whole Western philsophical canon (from Aristotle to Darwin and back again is the title of one of his references) falls into the ambit of Asma's deftly written book. And his explanations, although perforce not infrequently a bit detailed, are with just a little effort encouragingly apprehensible.
Asma book is particularly successful in its attempt to shed light on one of the least tractable areas (most difficult to learn about/teach) in biology and philosophy: the vexatious arena of telology.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By John C. Landon on March 5, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I was quite surprised to come across this work, and found that it changed my view of biology on the spot. Since the mere mention of teleology in biological company tends to produce 'bizarre behavior' this work is a positive indication that times are changing and the many philosophical issues need to be reconsidered in light of the resurfacing of developmental questions of evolution. The current monistic emphasis on adaptation and function is heuristically critiqued and the results, while still perhaps murky, powerfully address a huge void in current thinking. The author adopts what he calls a modified Kantianism, which is all well and good, but in so far as he lands in the realm of 'dialectical biology' (very briefly at the end), one wonders if the formulation is not in need of further 'debugging'. Kant's powerful formulation of a stance toward teleology,whose considerations are generally fruitless speculations Darwinists rightly find suspect, with its embrace and reserve both is at once a green light and a warning. But that is the price of doing business in such a radically different form of biological thinking. Splendid effort, whatever the results.
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0 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Lord Steven of Illlogica on September 8, 2000
Format: Paperback
What's up Dr. Asma. ((fellow pupil)) If you are reading this, I was wondering if this book had a lot of pictures and illustrations. My mind wanders easily, and some how the pictures help me concentrate. ((Buddha 4 Beginners)) Last time I colored in the pictures with markers, it was fun.
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