Explanatory loops and the limits of genetic reductionism

We reconstruct genetic determinism as a reductionist thesis to the effect that the molecular properties of cells can be accounted for to a great extent by their genetic outfit. The non-reductionist arguments offered at this molecular level often use the relationship between structure and function as their point of departure. By contrast, we develop a non-reductionist argument that is confined to the structural characteristics of biomolecules; no appeal to functions is made. We raise two kinds of objections against the reducibility claim underlying genetic determinism. First, some conceptual distinctions at the protein level cannot be captured on a genetic basis. A one-to-many relationship between DNA sequences and proteins emerges from them. Second, the relationship between genes and proteins is characterized by explanatory loops or reciprocal explanatory dependence. The presence of proteins is explained by the transcription from corresponding DNA sequences, and the latter is in turn accounted for by the action of proteins. By contrast, a reductive account requires a unidirectional explanatory dependence.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1080/02698590600960937
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 15,879
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

View all 26 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

22 ( #130,340 of 1,725,158 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

5 ( #134,554 of 1,725,158 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.