Philosophy 167A/267A:
Philosophy of Biology
Winter, 2010

Joel Velasco
GESB 134 M,W 11:00-12:15

Download the Syllabus
This course focuses on evolutionary theory, and in particular, on natural selection and how it operates. We examine debates about fitness, whether selection is a cause or force, individuality in biology, the units and levels of selection, and extentions of evolutionary theory into the realm of culture.
Attendance in class and participation in discussion, are required and will affect your grade.  There will be one short paper, one medium-length paper, and one longer final paper.
Office hours:
My office hours are Tues 11:00-12:00 and Wed 1:30-2:30, or by appointment, in 92B on the second floor of building 90 in the main quad.
Books available at the university bookstore:
Elliott Sober, Philosophy of Biology, Westview Press, 2nd edition (= Sober)
Richard Dawkins, The Blind Watchmaker, Norton, 3rd edition (= Dawkins)
Peter Godfrey-Smith, Darwinian Populations and Natural Selection, Oxford University Press (= PGS).


Reading Schedule:

Unit 1: Evolution and Creationism

Unit 2: Characterizing Fitness and Natural Selection

Unit 3: Individuality

Unit 4: The Units and Levels of Selection

Unit 5: Expansions of Natural Selection

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