My review of “Philosophy of Biology: An Anthology”

My review of Philosophy of Biology: An Anthology (edited by Alex Rosenberg and Robert Arp) has appeared online at the journal Acta Biotheoretica.

In brief: A nice volume that will be useful to many people, but it has one substantive and one formal failing. The substantive failing is that there is no sign in the volume of the more recent directions in philosophy of biology (mechanisms, experimental biology, and so on). The formal failing is that some papers are not reproduced faithfully. For example, the classic “Spandrels of San Marco” paper by Gould and Lewontin is reproduced without photographs, and so readers never get to see any spandrels (or “pendentives”, which I read is the correct term for three-dimensional spandrels). For a paper that relies so heavily on its central architectural metaphor, that’s a problem – especially since the full paper is freely available online.

Nevertheless, this is a useful volume, and reviewing it has given me an opportunity to think in earnest about the function of anthologies in academic disciplines.

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