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Biological Complexity and Integrative Pluralism (Cambridge Studies in Philosophy and Biology) Paperback – November 20, 2003

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Book Description

This fine collection of essays by a leading philosopher of science presents a defense of integrative pluralism as the best description for the complexity of scientific inquiry today. The tendency of some scientists to unify science by reducing all theories to a few fundamental laws of the most basic particles that populate our universe is ill-suited to the biological sciences, which study multi-component, multi-level, evolved complex systems. This book will be of interest to students and professionals in the philosophy of science

About the Author

Michael Ruse is the Lucyle T. Werkmeister Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Program in the History and Philosophy of Science at Florida State University. Author and editor of numerous books, most recently Darwinism and its Discontents and The Cambridge Companion to the 'Origin of Species' (with Robert Richards), he has been a Herbert Spencer Lecturer at Oxford University, a Gifford Lecturer at the University of Glasgow, and Reynolds Lecturer at Baylor University. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the recipient of three honorary degrees. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Series: Cambridge Studies in Philosophy and Biology
  • Paperback: 262 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press (September 15, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521520797
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521520799
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,184,563 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Jerry L. Martin on September 14, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am a philosoher but not at all a philosopher of science, and I found this to be a very helpful book to read. It is primarily a book, not about biology as such, but about scientific explanation and models. It defends a pluralism of theories and models, illustrating its argument by examples from biology, particularly the biology of social insects. The pluralism is "integrative" since the models are brought together when one is explaining specific instances of the phenomena under study.

So much philosophy of science uses physics for its examples that I found it refreshing and illuminating to draw on biology (which is, for many of us, much easier to understand). As a philosopher interested in intellectual pluralism, I found this study one of the very most useful. This is a book written primarily for philosophers and theorists of biology, but it could be read with profit by anyone with a serious interest in these issues.
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