Encyclopedia of Science Education

Living Edition
| Editors: Richard Gunstone

Biology, Philosophy of

  • Michael Ruse
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-007-6165-0_236-1

William James distinguishes between tender-minded philosophers and tough-minded philosophers. No one would use tender-minded as a term referring to Aristotle, the first and the best of philosophers to look at biology, but it does seem true that in the millennia succeeding (especially since the scientific revolution) biology has attracted thinkers who do want to find meaning and comfort in the material world and its explanations. Vitalism, holism, and emergentism were the terms commonly favored.

Things started to change significantly about 50 years ago, when a small group of analytically trained philosophers, including David Hull and Michael Ruse, turned their attentions to the biological sciences, determined to bring understanding and rigor to meta-analyses of the life sciences (Ruse 1988). Today, philosophy of biology is one of the strongest and most popular areas of Anglophone philosophy, with related interest in other academic cultures.

For fairly obvious reasons, evolutionary...


Science Education Evolutionary Theory Good Science Facial Hair Creation Story 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyFlorida State University, College of Arts & SciencesTallahasseeUSA