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What Makes Biology Unique?: Considerations on the Autonomy of a Scientific Discipline

4.18  ·  Rating Details  ·  73 Ratings  ·  8 Reviews
This collection of revised and new essays argues that biology is an autonomous science rather than a branch of the physical sciences. Ernst Mayr, widely considered the most eminent evolutionary biologist of the 20th century, offers insights on the history of evolutionary thought, critiques the conditions of philosophy to the science of biology, and comments on several of t ...more
Paperback, 232 pages
Published April 1st 2007 by Cambridge University Press (first published 1997)
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Atila Iamarino
Jul 05, 2015 Atila Iamarino rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Como me arrependo de ter adiado a leitura desse livro. Fantástico. A amarração das ideias, a apresentação da diferença entre biologia e ciências exatas, a descrição dos pontos defendidos por Darwin. É impressionante a lucidez de Mayr ao escrever esse livro com mais de 90 anos e o quão evidente fica a experiência dele em cada parágrafo.
Jun 16, 2015 Bill rated it really liked it
This collection of revised and new articles reads as smoothy as if it had been written as a single piece. Each chapter provides a distillation of ideas in Mayr's long career and gives ample food for thought about evolutionary issues and often highlights disagreements within biology about certain points (such as the factors which caused Australopithecus to develop into Homo). It is entirely refreshing in its treatment of creationism--briefly mentioned and quickly dismissed; the reader does not ha ...more
Apr 06, 2011 Peter rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: phil, biol
At some point I realized that basically everyone who is well known in the philosophy of science, everywhere on the positivist-anarchist spectrum, writes very selectively about a very small number of "test cases" -- planetary astronomy, relativity and quantum mechanics, phlogiston, and -- and thus we have "debates" in philosophy of science between competing "theories" that might work well for physics, but are all completely inapplicable to geology, biology, psychology, or, well, anything naturali ...more
Jul 05, 2008 eric rated it really liked it
this book actually consists of a mix of previous and new essays by the evolutionary biologist and philosopher of science ernst mayr. it is a fairly technical treatise describing, among other things, why biology cannot be analyzed according the reductionist principles that have guided the physical sciences. as such, i wouldn't necessarily recommend it to the non-scientist.

on the other hand if the physical or biological scientist reader can forgive the elder statesman some philosophical grumpines
Garrett Mccutcheon
Jan 19, 2014 Garrett Mccutcheon rated it really liked it
Shelves: biology, philosophy
Mayr lays out his vision of a philosophy of science as it concerns biology. In doing so, he provides clear and concise refutations of a number of philosophies that other authors have put forward. Mayr occasionally could be accused of making an argument from authority; however, one could say that he's earned the right to make those arguments. It should be noted that this work draws heavily on prior works of Mayr's and as such serves mostly as a primer or condensed description of his philosophy.
May 12, 2009 Larry rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kindle
Mayr was the one of foremost scholars of evolutionary biology since Darwin. In this collection of essays, published just months before his death at the age of 100, Mayr discusses why Biology is a science different from all others, and why Darwin's Theory of Evolution by means of Natural Selection is actually 5 theories that can be independently tested. It is this observation that goes a long way to understanding the difficulties in the acceptance of Darwin's work.

Mayr was a scientist of great i
Jason Gordon
Jul 11, 2013 Jason Gordon rated it it was amazing
A really incredible book. Ernst Mayr is quite a smart scientist and an excellent philosopher. Philosophers of science as well as physicists have a lot to learn from this text.
ozzge aydogdu
Jan 05, 2016 ozzge aydogdu rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Başucu kitabı !
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Ernst Walter Mayr (July 5, 1904 – February 3, 2005) was one of the 20th century's leading evolutionary biologists. He was also a renowned taxonomist, tropical explorer, ornithologist, and historian of science. His work contributed to the conceptual revolution that led to the modern evolutionary synthesis of Mendelian genetics, systematics, and Darwinian evolution, and to the development of the bio ...more
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