Monday, August 18, 2008

Weber, Bruce. "Review of Michael Ruse's CHARLES DARWIN." NDPR (August 2008).

Ruse, Michael. Charles Darwin. Oxford: Blackwell, 2008. Michael Ruse needs no introduction to anyone who has read about the philosophy of biology or the controversies surrounding Darwinism over the past three-and-a-half decades. Ruse, the Lucyle T. Werkmeister Professor of Philosophy at Florida State University, is the author of numerous books on the historical and philosophical aspects of Darwinism (which are characterized by lucid and lively prose) as well as the founding editor of the journal Biology and Philosophy. In Charles Darwin, a volume in the Blackwell Great Minds series, Ruse addresses Darwin's key insights about evolution as presented primarily in On the Origin of Species and The Descent of Man and as they continue to inform the Modern Evolutionary Synthesis (aka neo-Darwinism), as well as their implications for epistemology, ethics, psychology, and religion. Although ostensibly focusing on Charles Darwin's thought, Ruse's real topic is Darwinism as a scientific research tradition and naturalistic worldview and how, as such, it deals with philosophical issues such as progress, purpose and apparent design, as well as the impact of professionalization on evolutionary discourse. These are subjects that Ruse has dealt with in greater detail and depth in a series of relatively recent books: Darwinism Defended, The Darwinian Paradigm, Monad to Man, Mystery of Mysteries, Evolutionary Naturalism, The Evolution Wars, Can a Darwinian be a Christian?, Darwin and Design, The Evolution-Creation Struggle, and Darwinism and it Discontents, as well as in volumes he has co-edited: Debating Design (with William Dembski) and most recently The Philosophy of Biology (with David Hull). These various strands of Ruse's study and thought are brought together here in a single, updated, moderate-length volume that addresses general, serious-minded readers, as well as students, who wish an introductory overview of Ruse's understanding of Darwinism. For information about Darwin himself such readers need to refer to the standard biographies of Janet Browne (1995, 2002) and of Adrian Desmond and James Moore (1991). Readers also could profitably pursue the analysis of Darwinism and its transformation into neo-Darwinism by reading the work of Timothy Shanahan (2004). . . . Read the rest here:

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