Species Rewrite

I’m thinking of doing a rewrite of Species: A History of the Idea. Do my readers have any suggestions or wishes for it? Let me know in the comments. Some ideas: Make the subtitle and the content: The History and Philosophy of the Idea More stuff on the 15th century More on the modern debates More Read More…

A new (and apparently excellent) book on species concepts

We interrupt our ordinary transmission to note the forthcoming publication of an excellent (based on what I can read online) book on species concepts by Frank Zachos of the Natural History Museum (Naturhistorische Museum) in Vienna. I haven’t seen the full book yet, but look out for it.

The History of Life: Aristotle’s explanations

Causes Aristotle is (in)famous for his four causes, although they are better thought of as types of explanations. They are usually given standard names, but to make them a bit clearer, I’ll give some simpler  names first (just as Aristotle did in Greek). Composed-of (the material cause): the properties something has due to the material Read More…

The History of Life: Aristotle – Underlying philosophy

Plato’s pupil, and later Alexander the Great’s tutor, Aristotle was born in Stagira in Macedonia in 384 BCE (died 322 BCE), and is sometimes known as the “Stagirite” in older writings. His activity was mostly in Athens, where he studied with Plato, and where he set up a school after Plato’s death, where he and Read More…

The History of Life: Before Aristotle 3 – The Four Elements

The Four Elements (Empedocles) Empedocles (ca. 495–435 BCE), who lived in Sicily, was influenced both by the Pythagoreans and Parmenides (in his poem “On Nature”) and proposed what came to be called the “four elements” theory to explain why there was change if the universe was monistic. It was just recombination of eternal and unchanging elements (he called Read More…

Evopsychopathy series in PDF

I have converted my series on Evolutionary Psychology and Sociobiology to a handy PDF. Feel free to download it or even better, download it and pay something. Wilkins on Evopsychopathy [PDF] I will be converting other series also. Let me know in the comments what you’d like to see in this format.

The History of Life: Before Aristotle 2 – The Eleatics and the atomists

I will be passing over many philosophers, such as Heraclitus (“everything flows”) only because they said nothing of great influence directly on biology. As we shall see when we finally get to the modern era, this doesn’t mean that some philosophers like Whitehead or Teilhard didn’t draw biological conclusions from them. For perhaps the most Read More…