David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Biological Theory 4 (2):159-166 (2009)
Throughout the history of molecular biology, the primary meaning of biological information has been taken from the image of a word-based linguistic code. I want to argue that the metaphor of such a code does not begin to capture either the variety or the richness of the processes by which nucleotide sequences inform biological processes. Current research demonstrates that nucleotide sequences inform not only development but also heredity and evolution, and they do so in all sorts of ways. Even though they do not exhaust the varieties of biological information employed in these processes, I claim that the power of DNA sequences to inform these processes is richer and perhaps far greater than the conventional understanding of genetic information permits, indeed richer than what any of our images of simple linguistic codes or of senders and receivers permits. Rather than a tape in a Turing machine or a message or signal sent through the generations, DNA is first and foremost a physicochemical structure with a range of potential uses by the physicochemical arsenal of biological cells that is so large as to expose the poverty of our most familiar metaphors. Recognition of this fact leads us to conclude that DNA is both more and less than we thought—more because it carries both symbolic and non-symbolic information and less because accepting that fact undermines its radical distinction from other biological molecules.
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|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
Paul E. Griffiths (2001). Genetic Information: A Metaphor in Search of a Theory. Philosophy of Science 68 (3):394-412.
John Maynard Smith (2000). The Concept of Information in Biology. Philosophy of Science 67 (2):177-194.
Eva Jablonka (2002). Information: Its Interpretation, its Inheritance, and its Sharing. Philosophy of Science 69 (4):578-605.
Sahotra Sarkar (2000). Information in Genetics and Developmental Biology: Comments on Maynard Smith. Philosophy of Science 67 (2):208-213.
Citations of this work BETA
Andreas de Block & Bart du Laing (2009). Goodwin, Piaget, and the Evolving Evolutionary Synthesis. Biological Theory 4 (2):112-114.
Similar books and articles
Christophe Menant (2003). Information and Meaning. [Journal (on-Line/Unpaginated)] 5:193-204.
Anna Latawiec (2008). The Essence of Life in Context of Biological Information. Proceedings of the Xxii World Congress of Philosophy 44:45-51.
Patrick Grim, P. St Denis & T. Kokalis (2004). Information and Meaning: Use-Based Models in Arrays of Neural Nets. [REVIEW] Minds and Machines 14 (1):43-66.
C. Ricotta & G. C. Avena (2002). On the Information-Theoretical Meaning of Hill's Parametric Evenness. Acta Biotheoretica 50 (1):63-71.
Michael Bradie (2006). An Information-Theoretic Approach to Evolutionary Epistemology. [REVIEW] Biological Theory 1 (4):431-433.
Root Gorelick (2007). Werner Callebaut and John Collier—Editorial: Biological Information (Biological Theory 1: 221–223, 2006). Biological Theory 2 (2):180-182.
Barton Moffatt, “A Reexamination of Biological Information From the Perspective of Practice”. Society of Philosophy of Science in Practice Conference Paper (2009).
Lindley Darden (2006). Flow of Information in Molecular Biological Mechanisms. Biological Theory 1 (3):280-287.
Werner Callebaut & John Collier (2006). Biological Information. Biological Theory 1 (3):221-223.
Howard H. Pattee (2006). The Physics of Autonomous Biological Information. Biological Theory 1 (3):224-226.
Added to index2010-09-14
Total downloads71 ( #44,010 of 1,724,745 )
Recent downloads (6 months)5 ( #134,580 of 1,724,745 )
How can I increase my downloads?