David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jonathan Jenkins Ichikawa
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Biology and Philosophy 20 (2-3):365-399 (2005)
Since the discovery of the double helical structure of DNA, the standard account of the inheritance of features has been in terms of DNA-copying and DNA-transmission. This theory is just a version of the old theory according to which the inheritance of features is explained by the transfer at conception of some developmentally privileged material from parents to offspring. This paper does the following things: (1) it explains what the inheritance of features is; (2) it explains how the DNA-centric theory emerged; (3) it clarifies the relation between the DNA-centric theory and the ‘unfolding’ theory of development; (4) it argues that (given what we now know about developmental processes and genetic activity) the DNA-centric theory should be abandoned in favour of a pluralistic (but not holistic) theory of the inheritance of features. According to this pluralistic theory, the reliable reoccurrence of phenotypes must be explained by appealing not only to processes responsible for the reliable reoccurrence of genetic developmental factors but also to processes responsible for the reliable reoccurrence (or persistence) of nongenetic developmental factors.
|Keywords||Development Environment Genetic Heredity Information Inheritance Nongenetic Specificity|
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Citations of this work BETA
Nicholas Shea (2007). Representation in the Genome and in Other Inheritance Systems. Biology and Philosophy 22 (3):313-331.
Matteo Mameli (2008). Understanding Culture: A Commentary on Richerson and Boyd's Not by Genes Alone. Biology and Philosophy 23 (2):269-281.
Matteo Mameli & David Papineau (2006). The New Nativism: A Commentary on Gary Marcus's The Birth of the Mind. [REVIEW] Biology and Philosophy 21 (4):559-573.
Giovanni Boniolo & Giuseppe Testa (2012). The Identity of Living Beings, Epigenetics, and the Modesty of Philosophy. Erkenntnis 76 (2):279-298.
Valeria Mosini (2013). Proteins, the Chaperone Function and Heredity. Biology and Philosophy 28 (1):53-74.
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