New PDF release: Biology Under the Influence: Dialectical Essays on Ecology,

By Richard Lewontin, Richard Levins

ISBN-10: 1583671579

ISBN-13: 9781583671573

How will we comprehend the area? whereas a few glance to the heavens for clever layout, others argue that it truly is decided by means of details encoded in DNA. technology serves as a big task for uncovering the strategies and operations of nature, however it is usually immersed in a social context the place ideology affects the questions we ask and the way we technique the fabric international. Biology less than the impact: Dialectical Essays at the Coevolution of Nature and Society breaks from the confirms of determinism, delivering a dialectical research for comprehending a dynamic social and typical world.

In Biology below the Influence, Richard Lewontin and Richard Levins supply a devastating critique of genetic determinism and reductionism inside of technological know-how whereas exploring a extensive diversity of concerns together with the character of technology, biology, evolution, the surroundings, pubic wellbeing and fitness, and dialectics, They dismantle the ideology that makes an attempt to naturalize social inequalities, unveil the alienation of technological know-how and nature, and illustrate how a dialectical place serves as a foundation for grappling with historic advancements and an international characterised by means of swap. Biology below the Influence brings jointly the illuminating essays of 2 well known scientists who paintings to demystify and empower the public's knowing of technological know-how and nature.

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Additional resources for Biology Under the Influence: Dialectical Essays on Ecology, agriculture, and health

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These differences certainly affect the methodologies of the sciences and the kinds of questions they deal with, but they do not separate natural from social science. Thus the lack of equations or of controlled experiments in social science does not make it fundamentally different from natural science as such. Nor does 42 BIOLOGY UNDER THE INFLUENCE the question of predictability. While the classical examples of physical science showed the glorious confirmatory power of accurate prediction, the modern theory of dynamical systems reveals many situations, even rather simple ones, in which precise prediction is not possible.

What the Viking lander did was to present Martian life with an "environment" without having ever seen the life. But, as we have argued in Chapter 5, just as there is no organism LIFE ON OTHER WORLDS 49 without an environment, there is no environment without an organism. How, among the infinity of possible ways that the physical world can be put together, do we know which represents an environment, except by having seen an organism that lives in it? What the Viking experiment showed was that no life on Mars apparently lives in the environment of a restricted range of terrestrial microorganisms.

But the social process leading to such a negation begins only when a condition of existence is perceived as a limitation, that is, when an alternative world is deemed possible. Although it may indeed be a generalized biological property of the human central nervous system to be able to make mental constructs of things that do not exist and to plan actions in advance of their willful realizations, the domain of what we imagine to be changeable is socially constructed. Indeed, the vulgar reductionist claim that human beings are inevitably driven by their biology to behave in certain ways is self-fulfilling for it takes those behaviors out of context and places them in the domain of unquestionable "facts of life," part of the substrate of unexamined conditions of existence.

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Biology Under the Influence: Dialectical Essays on Ecology, agriculture, and health by Richard Lewontin, Richard Levins


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