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Melinda Bonnie Fagan [9]Melinda B. Fagan [5]
  1. Melinda Bonnie Fagan (forthcoming). Stem Cell Lacunae. Metascience:1-7.
    Sarah Franklin’s Biological relatives: IVF, stem cells, and the future of kinship and Charis Thompson’s Good science: the ethical choreography of stem cell research, examine recently normalized biotechnologies. Franklin’s monograph extends her previous work on in vitro fertilization (IVF), deconstructing the success of a technology that, she argues, has grown “curiouser and curiouser” while taking hold in scientific and social life. IVF in its diverse aspects becomes a lens for scrutinizing our ambivalence about new technology, which Franklin articulates by putting (...)
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  2. Melinda Bonnie Fagan (forthcoming). The Stem Cell Uncertainty Principle. Philosophical Explorations 80 (5):945-957.
    Stem cells are defined as having capacities for both self-renewal and differentiation. Many different entities satisfy this working definition. I show that this general stem cell concept is relative to a cell lineage, temporal duration, and characters of interest. Experiments specify values for these variables. So claims about stem cells must be understood in terms of experimental methods used to identify them. Furthermore, the stem cell concept imposes evidential constraints on interpretation of experimental results. From these constraints, it follows that (...)
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  3. Melinda Bonnie Fagan (2013). Human Experiments: Waves and Rifts in Synthetic Biology. [REVIEW] Metascience 22 (2):371-374.
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  4. Melinda Bonnie Fagan (2013). Philosophy of Stem Cell Biology – an Introduction. Philosophy Compass 8 (12):1147-1158.
    This review surveys three central issues in philosophy of stem cell biology: the nature of stem cells, stem cell experiments, and explanations of stem cell capacities. First, I argue that the fundamental question ‘what is a stem cell?’ has no single substantive answer. Instead, the core idea is explicated via an abstract model, which accounts for many features of stem cell experiments. The second part of this essay examines several of these features: uncertainty, model organisms, and manipulability. The results shed (...)
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  5. Melinda Bonnie Fagan (2012). The Joint Account of Mechanistic Explanation. Philosophy of Science 79 (4):448-472.
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  6. Melinda B. Fagan (2011). Social Experiments in Stem Cell Biology. Perspectives on Science 19 (3):235-262.
    Stem cell biology is driven by experiment. Its major achievements are striking experimental productions: "immortal" human cell lines from spare embryos (Thomson et al. 1998); embryo-like cells from "reprogrammed" adult skin cells (Takahashi and Yamanaka 2006); muscle, blood and nerve tissue generated from stem cells in culture (Lanza et al. 2009, and references therein). Well-confirmed theories are not so prominent, though stem cell biologists do propose and test hypotheses at a profligate rate. 1 This paper aims to characterize the role (...)
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  7. Melinda Bonnie Fagan (2011). Is There Collective Scientific Knowledge? Arguments From Explanation. Philosophical Quarterly 61 (243):247-269.
    If there is collective scientific knowledge, then at least some scientific groups have beliefs over and above the personal beliefs of their members. Gilbert's plural-subjects theory makes precise the notion of ‘over and above’ here. Some philosophers have used plural-subjects theory to argue that philosophical, historical and sociological studies of science should take account of collective beliefs of scientific groups. Their claims rest on the premise that our best explanations of scientific change include these collective beliefs. I argue that Gilbert's (...)
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  8. Melinda Bonnie Fagan (2011). Review of Steve Fuller, Science. [REVIEW] Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2011 (2).
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  9. Melinda B. Fagan (2010). Social Construction Revisited: Epistemology and Scientific Practice. Philosophy of Science 77 (1):92-116.
    Philosophy of scientific practice aims to critically evaluate as well as describe scientific inquiry. Epistemic norms are required for such evaluation. Social constructivism is widely thought to oppose this critical project. I argue, however, that one variety of social constructivism, focused on epistemic justification, can be a basis for critical epistemology of scientific practice, while normative accounts that reject this variety of social constructivism (SCj) cannot. Abstract, idealized epistemic (...)
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  10. Melinda Bonnie Fagan (2010). Stems and Standards: Social Interaction in the Search for Blood Stem Cells. Journal of the History of Biology 43 (1):67 - 109.
    This essay examines the role of social interactions in the search for blood stem cells, in a recent episode of biomedical research. Linked to mid-20th century cell biology, genetics and radiation research, the search for blood stem cells coalesced in the 1960s and took a developmental turn in the late 1980s, with significant ramifications for immunology, stem cell and cancer biology. Like much contemporary biomedical research, this line of inquiry exhibits a complex social structure and includes several prominent scientific successes, (...)
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  11. Melinda B. Fagan (2009). Fleck and the Social Constitution of Scientific Objectivity. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 40 (4):272-285.
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  12. Melinda Bonnie Fagan (2009). Review of Heather E. Douglas, Science, Policy, and the Value-Free Ideal. [REVIEW] Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2009 (12).
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  13. Melinda B. Fagan (2007). Wallace, Darwin, and the Practice of Natural History. Journal of the History of Biology 40 (4):601 - 635.
    There is a pervasive contrast in the early natural history writings of the co-discoverers of natural selection, Alfred Russel Wallace and Charles Darwin. In his writings from South America and the Malay Archipelago (1848-1852, 1854-1862). Wallace consistently emphasized species and genera, and separated these descriptions from his rarer and briefer discussions of individual organisms. In contrast, Darwin's writings during the Beagle voyage (1831-1836) emphasized individual organisms, and mingled descriptions of individuals and groups. The contrast is explained by the different practices (...)
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  14. Melinda B. Fagan (2007). The Search for the Hematopoietic Stem Cell: Social Interaction and Epistemic Success in Immunology. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 38 (1):217-237.
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