Evolutionary Worlds without End

Hardcover | May 21, 2010

byHenry Plotkin

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Diversity and complexity are the hallmarks of living forms. Yet science aims for general causal explanations of its observations. So how can these be reconciled within the non-physical sciences? Is it possible for a science of life to conform to the requirements of a general theory - the typeof theory seen in a 'hard' science such as physics? These are the questions that are explored in this important new book. In Evolutionary Worlds without End, Henry Plotkin considers whether there is any general theory in biology, including the social sciences, that is in any way equivalent to the general theories of physics. It starts by examining Ernest Rutherford's famous dictum as to what science is. In the laterchapters he considers the possibility, within an historical framework, of a general theory being based upon selection processes.Throughout, the author constructs a compelling argument for the idea that there are within biology, and that includes the social sciences, something like the general theories that make physics such powerful science. The book will be valuable for all those in the biological and social sciences, inparticular, biologists, psychologists, as well as philosophers of science.

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Diversity and complexity are the hallmarks of living forms. Yet science aims for general causal explanations of its observations. So how can these be reconciled within the non-physical sciences? Is it possible for a science of life to conform to the requirements of a general theory - the typeof theory seen in a 'hard' science such as ...

Henry Plotkin was born in South Africa. His first degrees were from the University of the Witwatersrand. He came to United Kingdom in 1964 and was employed by the Medical Research Council, receiving a doctorate in physiological psychology in 1968. He was awarded an MRC Fellowship, spent 1970-1972 at Stanford University and on returnin...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:224 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.1 inPublished:May 21, 2010Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199544956

ISBN - 13:9780199544950

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Table of Contents

Preface1. The Rutherford dictum and its meaning for biology2. Plus ca change3. The Expansion of Selection Theory4. Evolutionary Epistemology5. Selection and Cultural Change6. Further applications of selection theory to aspects of human culture7. Levels of SelectionReferences