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Two Outbreaks of Lawlessness in Recent Philosophy of Biology

Elliott Sober
Philosophy of Science
Vol. 64, Supplement. Proceedings of the 1996 Biennial Meetings of the Philosophy of Science Association. Part II: Symposia Papers (Dec., 1997), pp. S458-S467
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/188425
Page Count: 10
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Two Outbreaks of Lawlessness in Recent Philosophy of Biology
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Abstract

John Beatty (1995) and Alexander Rosenberg (1994) have argued against the claim that there are laws in biology. Beatty's main reason is that evolution is a process full of contingency, but he also takes the existence of relative significance controversies in biology and the popularity of pluralistic approaches to a variety of evolutionary questions to be evidence for biology's lawlessness. Rosenberg's main argument appeals to the idea that biological properties supervene on large numbers of physical properties, but he also develops case studies of biological controversies to defend his thesis that biology is best understood as an instrumental discipline. The present paper assesses their arguments.

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