The History of the Philosophy of Biology

David L. Hull

in The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Biology

Published in print July 2008 | ISBN: 9780195182057
Published online September 2009 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Philosophy

 The History of the Philosophy of Biology

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  • Philosophy of Science
  • History of Western Philosophy


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There are two problems in the history of science, the first being the use of anachronistic terminology and the other one is the need to simplify. Aristotle derived his basic philosophy of science from his broad knowledge of the living world. Later on, the problem was that all of the philosophies of biology in the early nineteenth century required natural kinds and Darwin set out a scientific theory, but this theory threatened two of the most fundamental principles in philosophy. The philosophy of the late nineteenth century assimilated Darwin's theory. Biologists contributed to the content of debates in the philosophy of biology. The species problem continues to tax philosophers and biologists alike. Finally, in the twenty-first century, new discoveries are leading to new developments.

Keywords: biology; philosophy; theory; Aristotle; Darwin; development

Article.  10645 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy ; Philosophy of Science ; History of Western Philosophy

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