Genes and the Agents of Life

Robert Wilson 
Cambridge University Press  November 2004  

Hardback  312 pp, 2 diags, 3 illus, 13 tables  ISBN 9780521836463      £64.00

Paperback  312 pp  ISBN 9780521544955      £21.00
Genes and the Agents of Life undertakes to rethink the place of the individual in the biological sciences, drawing parallels with the cognitive and social sciences. Genes, organisms, and species are all agents of life but how are each of these conceptualized within genetics, developmental biology, evolutionary biology, and systematics? The book includes highly accessible discussions of genetic encoding, species and natural kinds, and pluralism above the levels of selection, drawing on work from across the biological sciences. The book is a companion to the author's Boundaries of the Mind, also available from Cambridge, where the focus is the cognitive sciences. The book will appeal to a broad range of professionals and students in philosophy, biology, and the history of science.


Part I. Individuals, Agency, and Biology: 1. Individuals and biology; 2. Thinking about biological agents; Part II. Species, Organisms, and Biological Natural Kinds: 3. What is an organism?; 4. Exploring the tripartite view; 5. Specious individuals; Part III. Genes and Organismic Development: 6. Genetic agency; 7. Conceptualizing development; Part IV. Groups and Natural Selection: 8. Groups as agents of selection; 9. Arguing about group selection: the myxoma case; 10. Pluralism, entwinement, and the levels of selection.

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Autumn 2004 : Cambridge University Press : evolution : genetics : life sciences : taxonomy

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