David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Biology and Philosophy 14 (3):349-373 (1999)
The paper argues for a pragmatic account of genetic explanation. This is to say that when a disease or other trait is termed genetic, the reasons for singling out genes as causes over other, also necessary, genetic and nongenetic conditions are not wholly theoretical but include pragmatic dimensions. Whether the explanation is the presence of a trait in an individual or differences in a trait among individuals, genetic explanations are context-dependent in three ways: they are relative to a causal background of genetic and nongenetic factors; they are relative to a population; and they are relative to the present state of knowledge. Criteria like causal priority, nonstandardness, and causal efficacy that purport to distinguish objectively between genetic causes and nongenetic conditions either incorporate pragmatic elements or fail for other reasons. When the pragmatic dimensions of genetic explanations are recognized, we come to understand the current phenomenon of geneticization to be a reflection of increased technological capacities to manipulate genes in the laboratory, and potentially the clinic, rather than theoretical progress in understanding how diseases and other traits arise. This calls into question the value of the search for theoretical definitions of designations like genetic disease or genetic susceptibility as directives for action.
|Keywords||cause-condition distinction genetic trait geneticization pragmatic|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
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
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
Karola Stotz, Paul E. Griffiths & Rob Knight (2004). How Biologists Conceptualize Genes: An Empirical Study. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 35 (4):647-673.
Catherine Belzung, Etienne Billette De Villemeur, Mael Lemoine & Vincent Camus (2010). Latent Variables and the Network Perspective. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 33 (2-3):150-1.
Monika Piotrowska (2013). From Humanized Mice to Human Disease: Guiding Extrapolation From Model to Target. Biology and Philosophy 28 (3):439-455.
Françoise Baylis & Jason Scott Robert (2004). The Inevitability of Genetic Enhancement Technologies. Bioethics 18 (1):1–26.
Ulrich E. Stegmann (2012). Varieties of Parity. Biology and Philosophy 27 (6):903-918.
Similar books and articles
Russell Powell (2010). The Evolutionary Biological Implications of Human Genetic Engineering. Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 37 (1):22.
Antoinette Rouvroy (2008). Human Genes and Neoliberal Governance: A Foucauldian Critique. Routledge-Cavendish.
Neil C. Manson (2006). What is Genetic Information, and Why is It Significant? A Contextual, Contrastive, Approach. Journal of Applied Philosophy 23 (1):1–16.
Joseph S. Alper & Jon Beckwith (1998). Distinguishing Genetic From Nongenetic Medical Tests: Some Implications for Antidiscrimination Legislation. Science and Engineering Ethics 4 (2):141-150.
Lisa N. Geller, Joseph S. Alper, Paul R. Billings, Carol I. Barash, Jonathan Beckwith & Marvin R. Natowicz (1996). Individual, Family, and Societal Dimensions of Genetic Discrimination: A Case Study Analysis. [REVIEW] Science and Engineering Ethics 2 (1):71-88.
Matteo Mameli (2004). Nongenetic Selection and Nongenetic Inheritance. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 55 (1):35-71.
Ainsley Newson (2004). The Nature and Significance of Behavioural Genetic Information. Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 25 (2):89-111.
Maria Kronfeldner (2009). Genetic Determinism and the Innate-Acquired Distinction. Medicine Studies 1 (2):167-181.
Sean A. Valles (2010). The Mystery of the Mystery of Common Genetic Diseases. Biology and Philosophy 25 (2):183-201.
Fred Gifford (1990). Genetic Traits. Biology and Philosophy 5 (3):327-347.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads42 ( #80,232 of 1,726,249 )
Recent downloads (6 months)7 ( #99,332 of 1,726,249 )
How can I increase my downloads?