David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Biology and Philosophy 22 (3):313-331 (2007)
There is ongoing controversy as to whether the genome is a representing system. Although it is widely recognised that DNA carries information, both correlating with and coding for various outcomes, neither of these implies that the genome has semantic properties like correctness or satisfaction conditions, In the Scope of Logic, Methodology, and the Philosophy of Sciences, Vol. II. Kluwer, Dordrecht, pp. 387–400). Here a modified version of teleosemantics is applied to the genome to show that it does indeed have semantic properties – there is representation in the genome. The account differs in three respects from previous attempts to apply teleosemantics to genes. It emphasises the role of the consumer of representations. It rejects the standard assumption that genetic representation can be used to explain the course of an organism’s development. And it identifies the explanatory role played by representational properties of the genome. A striking consequence of this account is that other inheritance systems could also be representational. Thus, a version of the parity thesis is accepted. However, the criteria for being an inheritance system are demanding, so semantic properties are not ubiquitous
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Citations of this work BETA
Carl T. Bergstrom & Martin Rosvall (2011). The Transmission Sense of Information. Biology and Philosophy 26 (2):159-176.
David Haig (2012). The Strategic Gene. Biology and Philosophy 27 (4):461-479.
Nicholas Shea (2007). Consumers Need Information: Supplementing Teleosemantics with an Input Condition. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 75 (2):404-435.
Arnon Levy (2011). Information in Biology: A Fictionalist Account. Noûs 45 (4):640-657.
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