David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Poiesis and Praxis 5 (3-4):193-209 (2008)
In the history of genetics, the information-theoretical description of the gene, beginning in the early 1960s, had a significant effect on the concept of the gene. Information is a highly complex metaphor which is applicable in view of the description of substances, processes, and spatio-temporal organisation. Thus, information can be understood as a functional particle of many different language games (some of them belonging to subdisciplines of genetics, as the biochemical language game, some of them belonging to linguistics and informatics). It is this wide covering of different language games that justifies the common description of genes x, y, z as containing information for the phenotypic traits X, Y, Z (or the genome as storage for the information of a whole organism). However, if information is taken as the explanans and phenotypic traits or organisms as the explananda, then a description of the explanandum is of prior importance before the explanans can be characterised. This way of thinking could be useful for future discussions on the strikingly dominant information -metaphor, and the different gene concepts as well. The article illustrates this in two steps. First, a condensed overview on the history of genetics is given, which can be divided into three parts: (1) genetics without genes, (2) genetics with genes, but without information, (3) genetics with genes and information. It is assumed that this provides not only some historical knowledge about the origin of genetics and the introduction of technical terms, but offers at least preliminary insight into the methodological structure of genetic descriptions. In a second step, we redraw Spemannâs disturbation experiments to discuss our thesis that genetic information is not a natural entity, but part of a causality-language game which is secondarily added to the descriptions of interventionalistic practices, viz. experimental approaches
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
No categories specified
(categorize this paper)
|Through your library||Configure|
Similar books and articles
Frode Kjosavik (2007). From Symbolism to Information? – Decoding the Gene Code. Biology and Philosophy 22 (3):333-349.
Peter Godfrey-Smith (2007). Information in Biology. In David L. Hull & Michael Ruse (eds.), The Cambridge Companion to the Philosophy of Biology. Cambridge University Press. 103--119.
Ulrich E. Stegmann (2009). Dna, Inference, and Information. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 60 (1):1-17.
Carl T. Bergstrom & Martin Rosvall (2011). The Transmission Sense of Information. Biology and Philosophy 26 (2):159-176.
Paul E. Griffiths (2001). Genetic Information: A Metaphor in Search of a Theory. Philosophy of Science 68 (3):394-412.
Adam Henschke (2010). Did You Just Say What I Think You Said? Talking About Genes, Identity and Information. Identity in the Information Society 3 (3):435-456.
Celeste M. Condit (2001). Blueprints and Recipes: Gendered Metaphors for Genetic Medicine. Journal of Medical Humanities 22 (1):29-39.
Richard A. Spinello (2004). Property Rights in Genetic Information. Ethics and Information Technology 6 (1):29-42.
S. Matthew Liao (2009). Is There a Duty to Share Genetic Information? Journal of Medical Ethics 35 (5):306-309.
Petter Portin (2009). The Elusive Concept of the Gene. Hereditas 146 (3):112-117.
Jordan Bartol (2013). Re-Examining the Gene in Personalized Genomics. Science and Education 22 (10):2529-2546.
Angela Davey, Ainsley Newson & Peter O.’Leary (2006). Communication of Genetic Information Within Families: The Case for Familial Comity. [REVIEW] Journal of Bioethical Inquiry 3 (3):161-166.
A. S. (2001). The Gene Genie: Good Fairy or Wicked Witch? Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 32 (4):723-739.
Ainsley Newson (2004). The Nature and Significance of Behavioural Genetic Information. Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 25 (2):89-111.
Added to index2010-09-02
Total downloads3 ( #220,397 of 1,004,292 )
Recent downloads (6 months)1 ( #64,617 of 1,004,292 )
How can I increase my downloads?