Evolution of ideas in Biological Sciences

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Theory: 2 hours/week | Tutorials: 1 hour/week | ECTS Units: 3

Content – Aim of the course

The Evolution of Ideas in Biological Sciences has two main goals. Firstly, it reviews the history of science of living beings, starting from the great cultures of antiquity (Greek, Egyptian, Mesopotamian, Indian and Chinese) to this day, but also going through the perceptions of different religions. Secondly, it attempts to analyze and interpret contemporary societal issues that have a biological basis (beginning of life, evolution theories, post-mortem life, altruism, intelligence, homosexuality, polygamy, incest, determinism, synthetic biology), through the understanding of how these concepts and ideas were historically shaped.

Analytical Description of the Course

The course includes lectures covering the following subjects:

  1. From antiquity (Greece, Egypt, Mesopotamia, India, China) to the Middle Ages
  2. Renaissance and the scientific revolution
  3. Enlightenment (18th century)
  4. 19th century
  5. 20th century and great compositions

Special Issues:

  1. When does human life begin?
  2. Man as a “needy” living being
  3. Theories of Science
  4. Seeking the meaning of life
  5. Evolution and religion


Performance in the course is assessed by:

  1. Presence at lectures (P)
  2. Participation in discussions during lectures (D)
  3. Presentation of a bibliographic work on a selected topic (B)
  4. Written examination

Final Grade (G) = 0.3 × P + 0.2 × D + 0.5 × B
If G < 5 a written examination is required.
If G > 5 ​​the written examination can improve the grade.

Reading Suggestions

  • Βιβλίο [68406480]: Ιστορία της Βιολογίας, Michel Morange
  • Βιβλίο [43914]: Η ανάπτυξη της βιολογικής σκέψης, Mayr Ernst
  • Βιβλίο [68372541]: Εγχειρίδιο του Cambridge για τη Φιλοσοφία της Βιολογίας, Μανούσης Θανάσης

Related scientific journals:

Teaching Material / E-class



Kostas Mathiopoulos (Course Coordinator)

Vasileios E. Pantazis