Emergentism by default: A view from the bench [Book Review]

Synthese 151 (3):361-376 (2006)
Abstract
For the last 50 years the dominant stance in experimental biology has been reductionism in general, and genetic reductionism in particular. Philosophers were the first to realize that the belief that the Mendelian genes were reduced to DNA molecules was questionable. Soon, experimental data confirmed these misgivings. The optimism of molecular biologists, fueled by early success in tackling relatively simple problems has now been tempered by the difficulties encountered when applying the same simple ideas to complex problems. We analyze three examples taken from experimental data that illustrate the shortcomings of this sort of reductionism. In the first, alterations in the expression of a large number of genes coexist with normal phenotypes at supra-cellular levels of organization; in the second, the supposed intrinsic specificity of hormonal signals is negated; in the third, the notion that cancer is a cellular problem caused by mutated genes is challenged by data gathered both from the reductionist viewpoint and the alternative view proposing that carcinogenesis is development gone awry. As an alternative to reductionism, we propose that the organicist view is a good starting point from which to explore these phenomena. However, new theoretical concepts are needed to grapple with the apparent circular causality of complex biological phenomena
Keywords METHYL-N-NITROSOUREA   BREAST-CANCER   CHEMICAL CARCINOGENESIS   3-DIMENSIONAL CULTURE   TERATOCARCINOMA CELLS   MAMMARY EPITHELIUM   GENE-EXPRESSION   IN-VIVO   DIFFERENTIATION   INDUCTION
Categories (categorize this paper)
Options
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
 
Download options
PhilPapers Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 10,768
External links
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
David L. Hull (1974). Philosophy of Biological Science. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.,Prentice-Hall.
Jaegwon Kim (1999). Making Sense of Emergence. Philosophical Studies 95 (1-2):3-36.
Citations of this work BETA
Similar books and articles
Analytics

Monthly downloads

Added to index

2009-01-28

Total downloads

15 ( #106,784 of 1,098,992 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

1 ( #287,293 of 1,098,992 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature


Discussion
Start a new thread
Order:
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.