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Darwinism and Philosophy

Darwinism and Philosophy

Edited by Vittorio Hösle and Christian Illies

The philosophically most challenging science today, arguably, is no longer physics but biology. It is hardly an exaggeration to state that Charles Darwin has shaped modern evolutionary biology more significantly than anyone else. Moreover, since Darwin’s day, philosophers and scientists have realized the enormous philosophical potential of Darwinism and have tried to expand his insights well beyond the limits of biology. However, no consensus has been achieved. The aim of this collection of essays is to revive a comprehensive discussion of the meaning and the philosophical implications of “Darwinism.”

The contributors to Darwinism and Philosophy are international scholars from the fields of philosophy, science, and history of ideas. A strength of this collection is that it brings together sustained reflection from American and Continental philosophical traditions. The conclusions of the contributors vary, but taken together their essays successfully map the problems of interpreting “Darwinism.”

Contributors: Peter McLaughlin, David Oldroyd, Christian Illies, Michael Ruse, David Depew, Rupert Riedl, Philip R. Sloan, Robert Richards, Jean Gayon, Dieter Wandschneider, Vittorio Hösle, Michael T. Ghiselin, Gerhard Vollmer, Marcel Weber, Richard Alexander, Lenny Moss, and Bernd Graefrath.

ISBN: 978-0-268-03073-5
400 pages
Publication Year: 2005

Vittorio Hösle is Paul G. Kimball Chair of Arts and Letters in the Department of German Languages & Literatures, concurrent professor of philosophy, and concurrent professor of government and international studies at the University of Notre Dame.

Christian Illies is university lecturer, Technical University Eindhoven, the Netherlands.

“The editors—both very philosophically savvy—contributed two of the essays and provide helpful introductions to different aspects of the inquiry. The writing is accessible . . . and given the current media coverage of evolutionism, creationism, and intelligent design, this book [will] appeal to a wide audience.” — Library Journal

Darwinism & Philosophy is a highly diverse and very interesting collection of essays on the philosophical implications of Darwinism. . . . The authors explore, in a variety of ways, what Darwin’s dangerous idea (Daniel Dennett) entails for doing philosophy. The book is unique not only because it is the first in its kind to offer such a wide ranging account of the influence of Darwinism on philosophy. There are three more reasons that make it a truly exceptional enterprise. First, it offers contributions by both philosophers and scientists. Second, it presents not only systematic analyses but also historical expositions. And third—and most gratifying in my opinion —it has taken the opportunity to include some highly distinguished ‘continental’ philosophers in its list of contributors. . . . this book represents a state of the art assessment of the implications of Darwinism for the philosophical enterprise.” — Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews

Darwinism and Philosophy explores the philosophical implications of the theory of evolution in a broad sense. First, it examines the metaphysical presuppositions of evolutionary theory. . . . Second, it explores the relationship between naturalism and Darwinism. . . . Finally, contributors consider the epistemological and moral consequences of the theory, including discussions of genetics and agency, sociobiology and ethics, and evolutionary epistemology. . . . Recommended.” — Choice

“ . . . A must-have entry in the library of any scientist or philosopher who is interested in this important bridge between the two cultures.” — The Quarterly Review of Biology

“. . . An inherently fascinating series of essays by knowledgeable scholars on the significant and continuing philosophical potential of Charles Darwin’s principles of evolutionary biology. . . . A seminal body of work that is an essential contribution to the fields of Evolutionary Studies and Philosophy.”— The Midwest Book Review

“. . . A significant contribution to a timely problem. Attacks on Darwinian biology are still being launched by fundamentalist religion, and while it is not difficult to dismiss the naïve arguments of creationism and intelligent design theory, it is a more serious matter to delineate the compatibilities and incompatibilities of a scientific, mechanistic, naturalistic view of life and humans for more sophisticated metaphysical stances. This volume sheds new light on these harder questions.” — ISIS

“. . . Anyone interested in metaphysics and philosophy of science would find this book pleasing. The never satisfied human curiosity about being and the origin of life finds intriguing and stimulating questions and answers in this exceptional and well-organized volume.” — Dialogue

P00915

Morals and Politics

Vittorio Hösle
Translated by Steven Rendall

P01177

Woody Allen

An Essay on the Nature of the Comical

Vittorio Hösle

P01545

God as Reason

Essays in Philosophical Theology

Vittorio Hösle

P03258

Vico's New Science of the Intersubjective World

Vittorio Hösle
Translated and edited by Francis R. Hittinger IV

P03161

Darwin in the Twenty-First Century

Nature, Humanity, and God


Edited by Phillip R. Sloan, Gerald McKenny, and Kathleen Eggleson

P03137

Forms of Truth and the Unity of Knowledge


Edited by Vittorio Hösle

Darwinism and Philosophy


Edited by Vittorio Hösle and Christian Illies

 Darwinism and Philosophy
Paper Edition

The philosophically most challenging science today, arguably, is no longer physics but biology. It is hardly an exaggeration to state that Charles Darwin has shaped modern evolutionary biology more significantly than anyone else. Moreover, since Darwin’s day, philosophers and scientists have realized the enormous philosophical potential of Darwinism and have tried to expand his insights well beyond the limits of biology. However, no consensus has been achieved. The aim of this collection of essays is to revive a comprehensive discussion of the meaning and the philosophical implications of “Darwinism.”

The contributors to Darwinism and Philosophy are international scholars from the fields of philosophy, science, and history of ideas. A strength of this collection is that it brings together sustained reflection from American and Continental philosophical traditions. The conclusions of the contributors vary, but taken together their essays successfully map the problems of interpreting “Darwinism.”

Contributors: Peter McLaughlin, David Oldroyd, Christian Illies, Michael Ruse, David Depew, Rupert Riedl, Philip R. Sloan, Robert Richards, Jean Gayon, Dieter Wandschneider, Vittorio Hösle, Michael T. Ghiselin, Gerhard Vollmer, Marcel Weber, Richard Alexander, Lenny Moss, and Bernd Graefrath.

ISBN: 978-0-268-03073-5

400 pages

“The editors—both very philosophically savvy—contributed two of the essays and provide helpful introductions to different aspects of the inquiry. The writing is accessible . . . and given the current media coverage of evolutionism, creationism, and intelligent design, this book [will] appeal to a wide audience.” — Library Journal

Darwinism & Philosophy is a highly diverse and very interesting collection of essays on the philosophical implications of Darwinism. . . . The authors explore, in a variety of ways, what Darwin’s dangerous idea (Daniel Dennett) entails for doing philosophy. The book is unique not only because it is the first in its kind to offer such a wide ranging account of the influence of Darwinism on philosophy. There are three more reasons that make it a truly exceptional enterprise. First, it offers contributions by both philosophers and scientists. Second, it presents not only systematic analyses but also historical expositions. And third—and most gratifying in my opinion —it has taken the opportunity to include some highly distinguished ‘continental’ philosophers in its list of contributors. . . . this book represents a state of the art assessment of the implications of Darwinism for the philosophical enterprise.” — Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews

Darwinism and Philosophy explores the philosophical implications of the theory of evolution in a broad sense. First, it examines the metaphysical presuppositions of evolutionary theory. . . . Second, it explores the relationship between naturalism and Darwinism. . . . Finally, contributors consider the epistemological and moral consequences of the theory, including discussions of genetics and agency, sociobiology and ethics, and evolutionary epistemology. . . . Recommended.” — Choice

“ . . . A must-have entry in the library of any scientist or philosopher who is interested in this important bridge between the two cultures.” — The Quarterly Review of Biology

“. . . An inherently fascinating series of essays by knowledgeable scholars on the significant and continuing philosophical potential of Charles Darwin’s principles of evolutionary biology. . . . A seminal body of work that is an essential contribution to the fields of Evolutionary Studies and Philosophy.”— The Midwest Book Review

“. . . A significant contribution to a timely problem. Attacks on Darwinian biology are still being launched by fundamentalist religion, and while it is not difficult to dismiss the naïve arguments of creationism and intelligent design theory, it is a more serious matter to delineate the compatibilities and incompatibilities of a scientific, mechanistic, naturalistic view of life and humans for more sophisticated metaphysical stances. This volume sheds new light on these harder questions.” — ISIS

“. . . Anyone interested in metaphysics and philosophy of science would find this book pleasing. The never satisfied human curiosity about being and the origin of life finds intriguing and stimulating questions and answers in this exceptional and well-organized volume.” — Dialogue