Nodo de Filosofía de la Biología

Research lines

Explanatory Role of Natural Selection

Charles Darwin proposed that natural selection can explain the origin of traits, but many biologist and philosophers have argued that natural selection only can explain the spread of traits which origin is explained by mutations. At least five explanatory roles of natural selection have been proposed and debated in evolutionary thought. We explore these debates taking into account empirical and theoretical approaches.

Neutral Theory in Evolutionary Biology

Neutral theories of molecular evolution have been considered the most important alternatives to natural selection theory. This theories defends the survival of the luckiest in contraposition to the survival of the fittest. However, the most part of philosophy of biology lies in the assumption that evolution occurs by natural selection. We explore the philosophical consequences of neutral theories and what this implies to our view of the biological world.

Laws in Biology

The role and existence of laws in biology has been debated. In contrast with physics, in biology there have been proposed few laws and they appear not to be central in biological theories. We explore the importance of laws in biology and propoose some laws that may serve as structuring principles of biological theories. This issue connect this research with issues that are part of the Node of Theoretical Biology and Complexity (see).

Randomness in Evolution

Randomness in evolution was a central issue in evolutionary biology when the existence of Lamarckian (also called "adaptive") mutations were debated. The issue was abandoned when Lamarckism was considered false. Today, new evidence of possible Lamarckian processes and mutations has revived the question of how to define random mutations. We analyze previous definitions and propose new alternatives to face this problem.

Non-reductionistic Biology

The mainstream biology today is dominated by reductionistic approaches, centered in DNA information of "gene-centrism". We explore holistic of systems approaches to biology and its relevante to understand development and evolution. This issue connect this research with issues that are part of the Node of Structural Sciences and Autopoiesis (see).


Dr. Pablo Razeto Barry
Dr. Davide Vecchi
Lic. Ramiro Frick
Dr. Leonardo Bich
Dra. Ximena González
External collaborators

Lic.. Isaac Hernandez


RAZETO-BARRY, P. & FRICK, R. (2011). Probabilistic causation and the explanatory role of natural selection. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science 42(3):344-355.

RAZETO-BARRY, P. (2013). Complexity, adaptive complexity and the Creative View of natural selection. Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 44:312-315.

FRICK, R. (2013). Autopoiesis y Evolución: encuentros y desencuentros entre el programa autopoiético y el programa darwiniano. pp. 129-168. En RAZETO-BARRY, P. & RAMOS-JILIBERTO, R. (eds.). Autopoiesis. Un concepto vivo. Editorial Nueva Civilización. Santiago, Chile.

VECCHI, D., HERNÁNDEZ, I. (2014). The epistemological resilience of the concept of morphogenetic field. In Minelli, A. & Pradeu, T. (eds.). Towards a Theory of Development. Oxford University Press, Oxford.

RAZETO-BARRY, P. & VECCHI, D. (2015). Mutational Lamarckism and mutational randomness as conditional independence. Biological Reviews (under resubmission).

RAZETO-BARRY, P. (2015). What should be the first law of biology? Studies in History and Philosophy of Science. (under resubmission).

RAZETO-BARRY, P. (2015). Newtonian evolution. Evolution. (under resubmission).

RAZETO-BARRY, P. (2015). A nearly neutral hypothesis for the evolution of human intelligence. Journal of Human Evolution. (under resubmission).