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Questions tagged [philosophy-of-biology]

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2answers
41 views

Is life a logical consequence of matter reacting to other matter within an endless reoccuring of ‘life-friendly’ natural conditions? [closed]

In other words, is life bound to originate in any environment that provides the life-supporting conditions over a longer period? Like temperatures, the tides (thus a tide regulating moon), a solid ...
2
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1answer
94 views

Is Aristotle's “Animal Soul” the immune system?

According to Aristotle, the soul is the substantial form of the body. As such, it is the principle that unifies the various parts of the body and maintains this unity. The immune system also seems ...
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1answer
72 views

On Darwin's Deduction

The following is from Charles Darwin's The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex, Volume 1 [Cambridge University Press, digitally printed version 2009, p. 31.] The bearing of the three ...
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1answer
74 views

Is Frankenstein's monster tantamount to positive proof in Science?

Specifically Biology presents some problems for me. For instance, now that we have Evolution we know what to look for. Thus we are bound to observe some adaptations, and over time even new species. ...
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9answers
6k views

Where is the line drawn on cheating Darwin/genetics? How does one accept this? [closed]

It is stated that cosmetic surgery is cheating genetics if the end result is aimed at increasing one's physical attraction and thus ultimately affecting natural selection in this person's favor. But ...
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4answers
3k views

Did Charles Darwin say anything on why life was formed in the first place? [closed]

To be viewed from the perspective of epistemology and/or the philosophy of science. Preamble: Darwin, like scientists of his day, often spoke of “Laws” that inevitably cycle forth the results ...
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3answers
169 views

Dawkins' gene-centered view on personal identity

Looking at the following quote by Richard Dawkins: We are going to die, and that makes us the lucky ones. Most people are never going to die because they are never going to be born. The potential ...
4
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2answers
172 views

Is our “meaning of life” fundamentally different from that of other animals?

Whatever the "meaning of life" may be (I interpret "meaning" as "purpose" here) is for us, Homo Sapiens, do we assume the "meaning of life" for humans differs fundamentally from the "meaning of life" ...
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2answers
88 views

What is the philosophical use of the noosphere?

I understand that lately the new concept coined by Pierre Teilhard de Chardin has gained some popularity, and it's definition (according to Wikipedia) is: The noosphere is the sphere of human ...
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1answer
103 views

How does the idea of “biological imperative” relate to species and members of species?

I suspect a biological imperative describes something that every member of a species has to do or have to survive to keep the species going. If we talk about a biological imperative with respect to ...
3
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2answers
116 views

When should a human be declared dead?

This has a biological element to it, so I have also asked it on Biology SE, but there is an interesting philosophical element as well. What is it that makes us 'alive'? Our heart beat? Our brain ...
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3answers
85 views

On which level of scientific disciplines can we effectively identify characteristics of life?

An egg is fertilized and begins to divide forming an embryo which continues to develop into a fetus. Beneath that level of development the egg is comprised of molecules which are in turn comprised of ...
2
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1answer
145 views

Gaia and entelechy?

James Lovelock controversially proposed the Gaia hypothesis in the 1970s which outraged certain sensibilities because of its implicit teleology (I recall being outraged by it when I read about it ...
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2answers
157 views

Does agency always imply choice?

I am a biologist but have strong interests in the most fundamental questions of Life, so I had to educate quite a bit on philosophy to be able to delve into them. One of the concepts I had to become ...
3
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1answer
81 views

Descartes' views on species

What were Descartes' views on species? Did he ever say something about this subject? Was it more like the Aristotelian conception of immutable “groups” (without the metaphysical Aristotelian concept ...
2
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0answers
84 views

What are the phylosophical implications of the definitions of life? [closed]

What are the philosophical implications of having life defined somehow? How can our worldview be affected by the definition of life we accept?
3
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1answer
138 views

Does Aristotle's flawed biology doom his metaphysics?

Natural kinds are secondary substances for Aristotle and so a fundamental feature of reality. Yet these natural kinds are most importantly (and as far as I know, exclusively!) biological species. I ...
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5answers
276 views

Is there a philosophical conception of not necessarily biological life?

Biologists usually think of life in terms of the ability of a system to harness energy from the environment to grow and to reproduce. However in Stanislav Lem's book 'Solaris' there is a vivid ...
2
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2answers
249 views

Are Dawkins and Dennett more Sci-Fi than Science? [closed]

We hear much talk today about "consciousness explained" or the "selfish gene." These have become fashionable pop culture scientific explanations of the implications of human evolution from Daniel ...
2
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2answers
222 views

Why is the line between philosophy and science unimportant for philosophy?

Source: p 87, Philosophy ; A Very Short Introduction (2002) by Edward Craig. Charles Darwin: The Origin of Species   The first thing we can learn from this fascinating book is not to bother ...
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4answers
822 views

What are the problems with Plantinga's evolutionary argument against naturalism (EAAN)?

Alvin Plantinga's formulation of the argument is here. I'll try to summarize it as I understand it. Naturalistic evolution selects for traits that tend to lead to survival. Some true beliefs about ...
3
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4answers
347 views

Is the existence or not of extraterrestrial life a philosophical question?

Watching the movie "Contact" and I couldn't help but wonder: What's the philosophical status of the question of the existence of extraterrestrial? Is it taken seriously? Has any notable philosopher ...
3
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2answers
425 views

Which branch of philosophy (metaphysics, epistemology, philosophy of science, etc…? ) does the question of properly defining life fall under?

Questions like: - Are viruses forms of life, or just very complex replicators? - Would a Von Neumann machine be considered alive? - Does life have to be organic? - Is reproduction a necessary ...
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5answers
172 views

Must consciousness display intentionality?

Husserl affirmed intentionality as characteristic of consciousness. If matter can be conscious, as in Lucretious atoms of anima, and in Tegmarks baroque but physicalist constructions; must matter, to ...
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3answers
146 views

How can we defend conservation on a species level?

Background Many conservation measures in environmental biology such as the IUCN red list or measures against invasive species are done on the level of species rather than on the level of individuals. ...
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11answers
7k views

Why is it necessary to survive? [closed]

Why is it necessary to survive ? Every living thing, every single living thing on earth evolves in a way to survive, actually if it wasn't for this motive of survival, no living thing would actually ...
3
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3answers
352 views

Are memes philosophically coherent?

Dawkins introduced the term meme as the corresponding cultural analogy to that of gene in biology. But is it specious? How does meme differ from belief, idea or notion? A gene is defined ...
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4answers
2k views

Can science work without mathematical formulations?

Ernst Mayr in his last book titled "What Makes Biology Unique?" argues that many of the theories in biology do not need any mathematical support. He says that much of biology is only conceptual and ...