biology, philosophy of


biology, philosophy of
As a special science biology prompts the general philosophical problem of how its explanations relate to those of underlying chemistry, or even fundamental physics. Biology also raises acute questions of its own. One is whether the theoretical taxonomies or principles of classification of living things into species and families reflect real differences, or are reflections of conventions. Another focus of philosophical interest is the notion of a biological function . The notion of the function of an organ has sometimes been dismissed as a remnant of the Aristotelian notion of a final cause, although currently most writers are optimistic about defining it in terms of a trait that is responsible for the differential evolution-ary success of the organisms possessing it. Among other controversial questions is that of biological reductionism, or the attempt to explain psychological, social, and cultural phenomena in biological terms. See also evolution, sociobiology.

Philosophy dictionary. . 2011.

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