David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Biology and Philosophy 13 (1):37-59 (1998)
Molecular Weismannism is the claim that: In the development of an individual, DNA causes the production both of DNA (genetic material) and of protein (somatic material). The reverse process never occurs. Protein is never a cause of DNA. This principle underpins both the idea that genes are the objects upon which natural selection operates and the idea that traits can be divided into those that are genetic and those that are not. Recent work in developmental biology and in philosophy of biology argues that an acceptance of Molecular Weismannism requires the tacit assumption that genetic causes are different in kind from other developmental causes. They argue that if this assumption proves to be unwarranted then we should abandon, not just gene selectionism and gene centred functional solutions to the units of selection problem, but also the very notion that there is any such thing as a genetic trait. A group of possible causal distinctions (proximity, ultimacy and specificity) are explored and found wanting. It is argued that an extended version of information theory, while not strong enough to support Molecular Weismannism, will support both the claim that traits can be divided into those that are genetic and those that are not as well as the claim that there is good reason to privilege genetic causes within evolutionary and developmental explanations. The outcome of this for the units of selection debate is explored.
|Keywords||causation development information natural kinds traits Weismannism|
|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
John S. Wilkins, Ian Musgrave & Clem Stanyon (2012). Selection Without Replicators: The Origin of Genes, and the Replicator/Interactor Distinction in Etiobiology. Biology and Philosophy 27 (2):215-239.
Rob Knight (2007). Reports of the Death of the Gene Are Greatly Exaggerated. Biology and Philosophy 22 (2):293-306.
Jessica Pfeifer (2006). The Use of Information Theory in Biology: Lessons From Social Insects. Biological Theory 1 (3):317-330.
James Maclaurin (2011). Against Reduction. Biology and Philosophy 26 (1):151-158.
James Maclaurin (1998). How to Defeat Complexity. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 76 (3):491 – 501.
Similar books and articles
M. Richards (2001). How Distinctive is Genetic Information? Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 32 (4):663-687.
Predrag Šustar (2007). Crick's Notion of Genetic Information and the 'Central Dogma' of Molecular Biology. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 58 (1):13-24.
Nicholas Shea (2012). Inherited Representations Are Read in Development. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 64 (1):1-31.
John R. Jungck (1982). Is the Neo-Darwinian Synthesis Robust Enough to Withstand the Challenge of Recent Discoveries in Molecular Biology and Molecular Evolution? PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1982:322 - 328.
Kim Sterelny, Kelly C. Smith & Michael Dickison (1996). The Extended Replicator. Biology and Philosophy 11 (3):377-403.
Ulrich E. Stegmann (2009). Dna, Inference, and Information. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 60 (1):1-17.
James Griesemer (2000). Development, Culture, and the Units of Inheritance. Philosophy of Science 67 (3):368.
Paul E. Griffiths (2001). Genetic Information: A Metaphor in Search of a Theory. Philosophy of Science 68 (3):394-412.
Predrag Sustar (2007). Crick's Notion of Genetic Information and the ‘Central Dogma’ of Molecular Biology. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 58 (1):13-24.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads16 ( #215,881 of 1,790,387 )
Recent downloads (6 months)2 ( #323,928 of 1,790,387 )
How can I increase my downloads?