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A Science of Human Nature?

Philosophical Disputes at the Interface of Natural and Social Science

Studying at Cambridge

Lewens on Godfrey-Smith: The Nature of Philosophy and the Philosophy of Nature

last modified Mar 20, 2015 12:00 PM

Tim Lewens's essay review of Peter Godfrey-Smith's The Philosophy of Biology has just been published in Biology and Philosophy. Here's the abstract:


Peter Godfrey-Smith’s introduction to the philosophy of biology is excellent. This review questions one implication of his book, namely that Darwin’s case for the efficacy of natural selection was hampered by his ignorance of the particulate nature of inheritance. I suggest, instead, that Darwin was handicapped by an inability to effectively engage in quantitative population thinking. I also question Godfrey-Smith’s understanding of the role that Malthusian struggle plays in linking natural selection to the origination of new adaptive traits, and I raise problems for his defence of apparently unproblematic conceptions of human nature. Finally, I highlight the welcome conception of a ‘philosophy of nature’ developed by Godfrey-Smith.


The full paper can be read here.