British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 60 (2):409-432 (2009)
|Abstract||According to a recent suggestion, the names of gene taxa should be conceived of as referring to individuals with concrete genes as their parts, just as the names of biological species are often understood as denoting individuals with organisms as their parts. Although prima facie this suggestion might advance the debate on gene concepts in a similar way as the species-are-individuals thesis advanced the debate on species concepts, I argue that the principal arguments in support of the gene-individuality thesis are much less compelling than the parallel arguments in the species case. In addition, I argue that the notion of biological function invoked in the gene-individuality thesis (selected effect) is not the one that biologists actually use when individuating genes. Contra the gene-individuality thesis, I argue that gene names refer to kinds, defined primarily (though not exclusively) by causal-role functions|
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