Review (Guest): Biophilosophy–Analytic and Holistic Perspectives

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Rolf Sattler

5.0 out of 5 stars The umbrella of things Sattler talk about in this book

February 15, 2001

By m.ivashkou (Eindhoven, Brabant Netherlands) – See all my reviews

In the introduction the complex approach is stressed. When someone is doing a research he should look at the system as a whole one. Some definitions: Biology is the science of life, which in turn requires the definition of science and life. To avoid that the biology is defined as science of living organisms or science of living systems.

1. Theories and hypotheses.

The aim of science. The aim of science is to gain knowledge of the world. Knowledge has many forms. Science concerns only with scientific knowledge, which is expressed in singular and general propositions. Singular proposition is also called facts, whereas general propositions are referred to as hypotheses, models, rules, laws, and theories. Laws are also well-confirmed general propositions, yet they are less comprehensive than theories. Thus any general proposition within the framework of a theory may be called law. There are two kinds of laws: deterministic and probabilistic. Most of the biological laws are probabilistic.

Scientific methodology or how do we gain scientific knowledge.

One of the possible answers to this question is the following: we gain scientific knowledge through the application of the scientific methods, thus assuming that there is one single method that characterise or even defines science. The results obtained are influenced by the methodology employed. It determines the strength and the limitations of the results.

Chapter 2. Laws are defined as a regularity of events or characteristics. Deterministic laws says that whenever F then G. A probabilistic law is a statement that says when F, then probably G. all laws remain open to doubt. L

Explanations. They require explanatory relevance and testability. As these two requirements are satisfied an explanation is possible if the phenomenon to be explained can be derived from laws and particular circumstances. There are two models of explanations: covering law and narrative.

3. Facts Fact is singular proposition. How is the singular proposition is related to reality? Two definitions are discussed:

Chapter 4. Concepts and classification. Science is conceptual. Concepts are abstractions. Abstractions constitute a selection of feature from direct experience. Since there are many ways of selecting features from the richness of experience, many different abstractions, i.e. concepts, can be formed from the same background experience. It is suggested to ask to what extent a concept corresponds with reality.

Chapter 6. Traditional causality refers to the relation of cause and effect in such a way that 1. The effect follows the cause in time 2. The cause produces the effect 3. The relation between the two is constant and necessary

Chapter 7. Introduction. Teleology refers to goals, purposes, and functions, which in turn describe or relate to the most complex biological phenomena such as homeostasis, self-regulation, adaptation, selection, integration, organisation, programs, and feedback.

Chapter 9. What is life? Living organisms can be understood only when they are considered as part of the system within which they function. (Dubos 1981, p37) Present attempts to develop adequate principles of life represent perhaps the greatest conceptual crisis in the history of science. (Davenport 1979)

Chapter 10. Since living systems are integrated with the whole world, world hypotheses referring to the whole are necessary for an understanding of life. Since there are many different ways of thinking, there is a great variety of world hypotheses.

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