Following Form and Function

Paper Text – $32.95

ISBN 978-0-8101-1398-5

Cloth Text – $89.95

ISBN 978-0-8101-1397-8
Publication Date
December 1996
Page Count
232 pages
Trim Size
6 x 9

Following Form and Function

A Philosophical Archaeology of Life Science
Stephen T. Asma

The concepts of form and function have traditionally been defined in terms of biology and then extended to other disciplines. Stephen T. Asma examines the various interpretations of form and function in science and philosophy, reflecting on the philosophical presuppositions underlying the work of Geoffroy, Cuvier, Darwin, and others.

In the continental tradition of Canguilhem and Foucault, Asma's treatment of the historical form/function dispute analyzes the complex interactions among ideologies, metaphysical commitments, and research programs. Following Form and Function is a significant contribution to the history of science, history of philosophy, and disputes within contemporary biology.

About the Author

Stephen T. Asma is Professor of Philosophy at Columbia College Chicago, where he holds the title of Distinguished Scholar.

Asma is the author of seven books, including Against Fairness: In Favor of Favoritism (Univ. of Chicago Press, 2012), On Monsters: an Unnatural History of Our Worst Fears (Oxford Univ. Press), Stuffed Animals and Pickled Heads (Oxford Univ. Press), Why I am a Buddhist (Hampton Roads), and the best selling Buddha for Beginners (originally published in 1996 and reissued in 2008). His writing has been translated into German, Spanish, Hebrew, Czech, Romanian, Hindi, Portuguese, and Chinese.

Dr. Asma is a founding Fellow of the Research Group in Mind, Science and Culture at Columbia College Chicago. The Research Group is actively working on a philosophical and scientific understanding of the mind/brain that properly incorporates the emotional dimensions of mammalian consciousness.

In addition to Western philosophy, Asma has an abiding interest in Buddhism and Confucianism. In 2003, he was Visiting Professor at the Buddhist Institute in Phnom Penh, Kingdom of Cambodia, teaching a "Buddhist Philosophy" seminar course as part of their Graduate Program in Buddhist Studies. In addition to Cambodia, he has also researched Asian philosophies in Thailand, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Mainland China, and Laos. He has also lived and studied in Shanghai China.