Marjorie Grene has died at the age if 98. She was a philosopher who addressed evolutionary biology.
A philosopher of biology who once spent time as a farmer’s wife writing scholarly works before doing chores, Dr. Grene was one of the first philosophers to raise questions about the synthetic theory of evolution, which combines Darwin’s theory of evolution, Mendel’s understanding of genetic inheritance and more recent discoveries by molecular biologists.
One question she addressed, using parallels with ancient philosophers, was the implications of the role of chance in evolution.
Another was the role of cellular components, other than genes, that govern the development of an organism and its physical features.
She wrote about the difference between life and nonlife, and how species are defined. Using Darwin as a basis, she speculated on the idea of human freedom.