By Wim J. van der Steen
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Additional resources for A practical philosophy for the life sciences
Example 2. In evolutionary biology, 'altruism' is sometimes defined as follows. 'Behavior xof organism y is altruistic with respect to organism z' =df 'x decreases the fitness of y and increases the fitness of z'. In the past, the thesis has been defended that altruism in this sense cannot exist, since natural selection would work against it. Nowadays we know that this thesis is too simplistic. Suppose, however, that it were true. In that case the concept of altruism, as defined, would have no empirical reference.
Is it ever possible to envisage non-homeostatic drinking or feeding? It is difficult, since clearly evolution will not favour such a mechanism. However, in the laboratory, it is possible to show such behaviour ... (Toates, 1986, pp. 35-36). Page 10 This passage from a book by Toates, the ethologist, confronts us with a characteristic feature of science. It is concerned with empirical matters. In addition to this, at a different level, Toates discusses logical matters concerning the use of language.
Disciplines and Dutch Dikes 173 Answers to Exercises 179 Bibliography 189 References 193 Index 203 Page ix Preface Styles in this book range from conversational to technical. The conversational style develops into a general view in chapter 10. That chapter can be read in advance as a preview of major themes. The book is primarily a textbook. Hence dull technicalities are unavoidable. The chapter on formal logic is the most technical one. The composition of the text practically allows you to do without it.
A practical philosophy for the life sciences by Wim J. van der Steen