History and Philosophy Of Science | The History of Biology
X308 | 3055 | Sandler Gliboff


The term "biology" was first used at the turn of the nineteenth
century to distinguish a new "scientific" approach to the study of
life, distinct from natural history, natural theology, and medicine.
But what did it mean to be scientific-then and for the ensuing two
hundred years-and how has biology maintained its position within the
changing world of the sciences?


This seminar is a survey of some key figures and pivotal moments in
the history of biology, which have re-defined its scientific
character, by either opening new lines of inquiry and  explanation,
developing new kinds of instruments and institutions, or expanding the
social and political authority of the biologist.  It's main themes
will be the study of organic form-its heredity, development,
evolution, and diversity-and how that study has been transformed
successively by German idealism, Darwinism, Mendelism, and cell- and
molecular biology; the study of function, its changing methodology and
gradual integration of chemistry and physics; the development of
scientific societies, laboratories and patronage; and the impact of
biology on human affairs.