History of Biology

New species book contract!

Hi all. I have signed a new contract with Taylor and Francis for my revision of the species book, which ...
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Prichard on species 2

James Prichard wrote his Researches into the physical history of mankind in 1813, in which he argued not only that humanity ...
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Species Rewrite

I'm thinking of doing a rewrite of Species: A History of the Idea. Do my readers have any suggestions or ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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The History of Life: Before Aristotle 4 – Plato and the birth of design

As we have seen, Greek thought before Aristotle tended to fall into two broad camps on the nature of life ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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The History of Life: Before Aristotle 1 – the Milesians and monism

Normally in the history of philosophy the earliest Greek thinkers are referred to as “pre-Socratics”, but in biology, the first ...
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The History of Life: Nature versus Humanity

Before there was a literate, and philosophical, historical record, humans existed at least some 80,000 years. Around 12,500 years ago ...
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The History of Life: Prelude

I thought I might write a series on the history of biology from prehistory to the present day. It might ...
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Speciation – a brief history: Linnaeus

One of the fundamental aspects of evolution is speciation. This is the process by which more species come into being, ...
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Why is Darwin’s theory so controversial?

So asks this essay and gets the whole thing wrong. Darwin’s theories (plural) are not controversial because they imply that ...
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Did Popper and Quine invent “Aristotelian essentialism”?

There are many narratives told about evolution. One of the most widely told is the Essentialism Story, replayed in textbook, ...
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The difference between population concepts and “population thinking”

The late Ernst Mayr is remembered for many things, but a number of his historical and philosophical claims are unravelling ...
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Rise of the Planet of the Moralists 2: chains and trees

Rise of the Planet of the Moralists Series1: Introduction2: Chains and Trees 3: Clades and grades4: Predicting traits5: Social dominance ...
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Evolution quote: Sirks and Zirkle

At this point it might be well to insert a fact that has generally been overlooked by the historians of ...
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Darwin Day: Enough already

I love studying about Darwin and his life and times. I have read enormous amounts, and taught Darwinian history. I'm ...
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What is systematics and what is taxonomy?

Over the past few years there have been increasing numbers of calls for governments to properly fund systematics and taxonomy ...
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Young links

A bit of reading ...
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The Velvet Underground of…

Recently there have been a couple of "Velvet Underground" posts, of the kind that the VU were a very unknown ...
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The Quiet Links

After the apocalypse, links ...
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Linkballs

Been a while. Teaching. Sorry. Links: ...
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Repo Link

So many links, and so little time (I'm preparing subjects!) Ray Kurzweil responds to PZ Myers' claim that he doesn't ...
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Miscellany while I’m away from home

So I'm at the Philosophy of Biology at Dolphin Beach 4 meeting in southern New South Wales. Some sort of ...
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David Hull’s philosophy

David Hull was one of the first graduates from the University of Indiana's HPS program. During that program he attended ...
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The Links Strike Back

Today we have a new science blogging site, Scientopia, that takes many of the emigrés from Scienceblogs. When I get ...
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An Officer and a Link

FAPP reply to Godfrey-Smith. Same old same old... Josh Rosenau is on fire. First he discusses recent polling on evolution ...
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The Return of the Linking Dead

Can philosophers use the iPad? Hell, yes. Of course, we would say that, wouldn't we? Also, check out this TeX ...
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Last year in Lisbon…

I attended an excellent conference organised by the wonderful Nathalie Gontier at the Faculdade de Ciências of the Universidade de ...
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My latest paper

I have just had a paper published: "What is a species? Essences and generation" Theory in Biosciences Volume 129, Numbers ...
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On borders and boundaries

Thos who focus on differences often tend to look more closely at boundaries than at the core of the phenomenon, ...
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Big Links in Little China

Charles Wolfe has a couple of very interesting papers up in PhilSci Archive: Do organisms have an ontological status? considers ...
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More linkingnessheit

Sorry that I'm just doing links these days. I am writing Real Stuff, and catching up on commitments of some ...
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Linkwaddies

The Cold Spring Harbor Perspective in Biology journal has a collection of articles on the Origins of Life, including some ...
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Linkerie

Small Things Considered: Talmudic Question #61: Why hasn't endocytosis evolved more than once? Who breaks a butterfly upon a wheel ...
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Book reviews

Several interesting book reviews arrived in my feed this morning, of books I have not read. Jerry Coyne reviews FAPP's ...
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Darwinism entry revised at SEP

Jim Lennox, who is, among other things, the go-to guy on Aristotle's biology (at least I went to him whenever ...
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A list of my better posts in 2009

I only have spotty internet access (from my GF's wireless), so I cannot do great and meaningful posts right now ...
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On vitalism

I came across this quote: In our recent science the Aristotelian doctrine is not dead. For but little changed, though ...
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Darwin was not badly received by the church

Robert J. Berry is a geneticist at University College London. He is also an evangelical Christian and has written a ...
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It was 150 years ago tomorrow

... Sergeant Pepper... oops, sorry, wrong theme. 150 years ago tomorrow, people suddenly became smart, observant and able to understand ...
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Johnson on instinct

"We do not know in what either reason or instinct consists, and therefore cannot tell with exactness how they differ; ...
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Illiger’s Prodromus

Does anyone have a scan of Johann Karl Wilhelm Illiger's Prodromus systematis et mammalium avium (1811), or at least the ...
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Darwin and Blumenbach

I recently became aware that the probable originator of the "biological" species concept, which I prefer to call the Reproductive ...
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What came before Darwin

If ever you wondered what the "default" view was before the modern era began with the late 18th century naturalists, ...
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They’re both here

So go buy them now (see links at right). This new book on the left is both a collection of ...
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Teleology as a mistress

Okay, this is bugging me so I'm going to crowdsource it. Who first wrote this: Teleology is a mistress without ...
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Couple of my recent papers

These are under review, so any useful comments will be helpful still. What is it to be an atheist? [Revision ...
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So much to say, so little time

As I prepare for the conferences I start attending and blathering at from tomorrow, I of course find a treasure ...
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The Demon Spencer

When I first started to read philosophy and history I heard about this demon. His name was Herbert Spencer, and ...
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Catching up, deeply breathing, summarising

So while I have lots to do, lots happens (and when I have little to do, nothing noteworthy happens and ...
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