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  1. The network remains.Smadar Ben-Tabou de-Leon - 2017 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 39 (4):32.
    Eric Davidson was a legend both in his science and his personality. He inspired and challenged a new generation of developmental biologists and I was lucky to be one of them. He changed the way we think about biological interactions by synthesizing a large scale, almost incomprehensible set of data into a causal model of a gene regulatory network. While his death leaves a big hole in our lives, his contribution to the conceptualization of regulatory biology will inspire developmental and (...)
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  2.  2
    Hierarchy, determinism, and specificity in theories of development and evolution.Deichmann Ute - 2017 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 39 (4):33.
    The concepts of hierarchical organization, genetic determinism and biological specificity have played a crucial role in biology as a modern experimental science since its beginnings in the nineteenth century. The idea of genetic information and genetic determination was at the basis of molecular biology that developed in the 1940s with macromolecules, viruses and prokaryotes as major objects of research often labelled “reductionist”. However, the concepts have been marginalized or rejected in some of the research that in the late 1960s began (...)
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  3. Eric Davidson, his philosophy, and the history of science.Ute Deichmann - 2017 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 39 (4):31.
    Eric Davidson, a passionate molecular developmental biologist and intellectual, believed that conceptual advances in the sciences should be based on knowledge of conceptual history. Convinced of the superiority of a causal-analytical approach over other methods, he succeeded in successfully applying this approach to the complex feature of organismal development by introducing the far-reaching concept of developmental Gene Regulatory Networks. This essay reviews Davidson’s philosophy, his support for the history of science, and some aspects of his scientific personality.
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  4.  1
    Hierarchy, Determinism, and Specificity in Theories of Development and Evolution.Ute Diechmann - 2017 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 39 (4):33.
    The concepts of hierarchical organization, genetic determinism and biological specificity have played a crucial role in biology as a modern experimental science since its beginnings in the nineteenth century. The idea of genetic information and genetic determination was at the basis of molecular biology that developed in the 1940s with macromolecules, viruses and prokaryotes as major objects of research often labelled “reductionist”. However, the concepts have been marginalized or rejected in some of the research that in the late 1960s began (...)
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  5. Mechanisms and causality in molecular diseases.E. Keenan Shannon & Y. Shvartsman Stanislav - 2017 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 39 (4):35.
    How is a disease contracted, and how does it progress through the body? Answers to these questions are fundamental to understanding both basic biology and medicine. Advances in the biomedical sciences continue to provide more tools to address these fundamental questions and to uncover questions that have not been thought of before. Despite these major advances, we are still facing conceptual and technical challenges when learning about the etiology of disease, especially for genetic diseases. In this review, we illustrate this (...)
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  6.  3
    Eric Davidson and deep time.Douglas H. Erwin - 2017 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 39 (4):29.
    Eric Davidson had a deep and abiding interest in the role developmental mechanisms played in generating evolutionary patterns documented in deep time, from the origin of the euechinoids to the processes responsible for the morphological architectures of major animal clades. Although not an evolutionary biologist, Davidson’s interests long preceded the current excitement over comparative evolutionary developmental biology. Here I discuss three aspects at the intersection between his research and evolutionary patterns in deep time: First, understanding the mechanisms of body plan (...)
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  7.  3
    Developmental push or environmental pull? The causes of macroevolutionary dynamics.Douglas H. Erwin - 2017 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 39 (4):36.
    Have the large-scale evolutionary patterns illustrated by the fossil record been driven by fluctuations in environmental opportunity, by biotic factors, or by changes in the types of phenotypic variants available for evolutionary change? Since the Modern Synthesis most evolutionary biologists have maintained that microevolutionary processes carrying on over sufficient time will generate macroevolutionary patterns, with no need for other pattern-generating mechanisms such as punctuated equilibrium or species selection. This view was challenged by paleontologists in the 1970s with proposals that the (...)
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  8.  1
    Human germline editing: a historical perspective.Michel Morange - 2017 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 39 (4):34.
    The development of the genome editing system called CRISPR–Cas9 has opened a huge debate on the possibility of modifying the human germline. But the types of changes that could and/or ought to be made have not been discussed. To cast some light on this debate, I will describe the story of the CRISPR–Cas9 system. Then, I will briefly review the projects for modification of the human species that were discussed by biologists throughout the twentieth century. Lastly, I will show that (...)
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  9. Homage to Eric Davidson.Michel Morange - 2017 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 39 (4):30.
    The Britten–Davidson model of genetic regulation was well received by American molecular biologists and embryologists, but not by the members of the French School of molecular biology. In particular, François Jacob considered it too abstract and too removed from experiments. I re-examine the contrast between the Britten–Davidson model and the operon model by Jacob and Monod, the different scientific contexts in which they were produced and the different roles they played. I also describe my recent encounters with Eric Davidson, and (...)
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  10.  1
    Introduction: Eric Davidson and the molecular biology of evolution and development.Michel Morange & Ute Deichmann - 2017 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 39 (4):28.
    Between November 30th and December 2nd, 2015, the Jacques Loeb Centre for the History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Beer Sheva held its Eighth International Workshop under the title “From Genome to Gene: Causality, Synthesis and Evolution”. Eric Davidson, the founder of the concept of developmental Gene Regulatory Networks, had regularly attended the previous meetings, and his participation in this one was expected, but he suddenly passed away 3 months before. In this (...)
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  11. Fitting Structure to Function in Gene Regulatory Networks.Ellen V. Rothenberg - 2017 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 39 (4):37.
    Cascades of transcriptional regulation are the common source of the forward drive in all developmental systems. Increases in complexity and specificity of gene expression at successive stages are based on the collaboration of varied combinations of transcription factors already expressed in the cells to turn on new genes, and the logical relationships between the transcription factors acting and becoming newly expressed from stage to stage are best visualized as gene regulatory networks. However, gene regulatory networks used in different developmental contexts (...)
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  12. C.H. Waddington’s differences with the creators of the modern evolutionary synthesis: a tale of two genes.Jonathan B. L. Bard - 2017 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 39 (3):18.
    In 2011, Peterson suggested that the main reason why C.H. Waddington was essentially ignored by the framers of the modern evolutionary synthesis in the 1950s was because they were Cartesian reductionists and mathematical population geneticists while he was a Whiteheadian organicist and experimental geneticist who worked with Drosophila. This paper suggests a further reason that can only be seen now. The former defined genes and their alleles by their selectable phenotypes, essentially the Mendelian view, while Waddington defined a gene through (...)
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  13. Hughlings Jackson and the “doctrine of concomitance”: mind-brain theorising between metaphysics and the clinic.M. Chirimuuta - 2017 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 39 (3):26.
    John Hughlings Jackson is a major figure at the origins of neurology and neuroscience in Britain. Alongside his contributions to clinical medicine, he left a large corpus of writing on localisation of function in the nervous system and other theoretical topics. In this paper I focus on Jackson’s “doctrine of concomitance”—his parallelist theory of the mind-brain relationship. I argue that the doctrine can be given both an ontological and a causal interpretation, and that the causal aspect of the doctrine is (...)
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  14.  2
    Wilhelm His and mechanistic approaches to development at the time of Entwicklungsmechanik.Jean-Claude Dupont - 2017 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 39 (3):21.
    At the end of the nineteenth century, approaches from experimental physiology made inroads into embryological research. A new generation of embryologists felt urged to study the mechanisms of organ formation. This new program, most prominently defended by Wilhelm Roux, was called Entwicklungsmechanik. Named variously as “causal embryology”, “physiological embryology” or “developmental mechanics”, it catalyzed the movement of embryology from a descriptive science to one exploring causal mechanisms. This article examines the specific scientific and epistemological meaning of the mechanistic approaches of (...)
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  15.  3
    Marco Solinas, from Aristotle’s teleology to Darwin’s genealogy: the stamp of inutility, Palgrave MacMillan: Basingstoke, 2015, 200 pp., $95,00. [REVIEW]Bernardino Fantini - 2017 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 39 (3):14.
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  16.  4
    René Dubos, Tuberculosis, and the “Ecological Facets of Virulence”.Mark Honigsbaum - 2017 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 39 (3):15.
    Reflecting on his scientific career toward the end of his life, the French-educated medical researcher René Dubos presented his flowering as an ecological thinker as a story of linear progression—the inevitable product of the intellectual seeds planted in his youth. But how much store should we set by Dubos’s account of his ecological journey? Resisting retrospective biographical readings, this paper seeks to relate the development of Dubos’s ecological ideas to his experimental practices and his career as a laboratory researcher. In (...)
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  17. Erratum to: René Dubos, tuberculosis, and the “ecological facets of virulence”.Mark Honigsbaum - 2017 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 39 (3):17.
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  18.  2
    The behavioural ecology of irrational behaviours.Philippe Huneman & Johannes Martens - 2017 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 39 (3):23.
    Natural selection is often envisaged as the ultimate cause of the apparent rationality exhibited by organisms in their specific habitat. Given the equivalence between selection and rationality as maximizing processes, one would indeed expect organisms to implement rational decision-makers. Yet, many violations of the clauses of rationality have been witnessed in various species such as starlings, hummingbirds, amoebas and honeybees. This paper attempts to interpret such discrepancies between economic rationality and biological rationality. After having distinguished two kinds of rationality we (...)
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  19. The beauty of sensory ecology.Otálora-Luna Fernando & Aldana Elis - 2017 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 39 (3):20.
    Sensory ecology is a discipline that focuses on how living creatures use information to survive, but not to live. By trans-defining the orthodox concept of sensory ecology, a serious heterodox question arises: how do organisms use their senses to live, i.e. to enjoy or suffer life? To respond to such a query the objective and emotional meaning of symbols must be revealed. Our program is distinct from both the neo-Darwinian and the classical ecological perspective because it does not focus on (...)
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  20.  1
    So far like the present period’: a reply to ‘C.H. Waddington’s differences with the creators of the Modern Evolutionary Synthesis: a Tale of Two Genes.Erik L. Peterson - 2017 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 39 (3):19.
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  21. How Mechanisms Explain Interfield Cooperation: Biological–Chemical Study of Plant Growth Hormones in Utrecht and Pasadena, 1930–1938.Caterina Schürch - 2017 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 39 (3):16.
    This article examines to what extent a particular case of cross-disciplinary research in the 1930s was structured by mechanistic reasoning. For this purpose, it identifies the interfield theories that allowed biologists and chemists to use each other’s techniques and findings, and that provided the basis for the experiments performed to identify plant growth hormones and to learn more about their role in the mechanism of plant growth. In 1930, chemists and biologists in Utrecht and Pasadena began to cooperatively study plant (...)
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  22.  14
    Darwinism in Metaethics: What If the Universal Acid Cannot Be Contained?Eleonora Severini & Fabio Sterpetti - 2017 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 39 (3):1-25.
    The aim of this article is to explore the impact of Darwinism in metaethics and dispel some of the confusion surrounding it. While the prospects for a Darwinian metaethics appear to be improving, some underlying epistemological issues remain unclear. We will focus on the so-called Evolutionary Debunking Arguments (EDAs) which, when applied in metaethics, are defined as arguments that appeal to the evolutionary origins of moral beliefs so as to undermine their epistemic justification. The point is that an epistemic disanalogy (...)
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  23. Catherine Larrère, Raphaël Larrère, Penser et agir avec la nature: Une enquête philosophique, éditions La Découverte, coll. Sciences humaines, France, 2015, 374 pp., €14.99. [REVIEW]Héloïse Varin - 2017 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 39 (3):24.
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  24.  2
    Ultimate and proximate explanations of strong reciprocity.Jack Vromen - 2017 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 39 (3):25.
    Strong reciprocity has recently been subject to heated debate. In this debate, the “West camp” :231–262, 2011), which is critical of the case for SR, and the “Laland camp” :1512–1516, 2011, Biol Philos 28:719–745, 2013), which is sympathetic to the case of SR, seem to take diametrically opposed positions. The West camp criticizes advocates of SR for conflating proximate and ultimate causation. SR is said to be a proximate mechanism that is put forward by its advocates as an ultimate explanation (...)
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  25.  2
    From Pleistocene to Holocene: the prehistory of southwest Asia in evolutionary context.Trevor Watkins - 2017 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 39 (3):22.
    In this paper I seek to show how cultural niche construction theory offers the potential to extend the human evolutionary story beyond the Pleistocene, through the Neolithic, towards the kind of very large-scale societies in which we live today. The study of the human past has been compartmentalised, each compartment using different analytical vocabularies, so that their accounts are written in mutually incompatible languages. In recent years social, cognitive and cultural evolutionary theories, building on a growing body of archaeological evidence, (...)
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  26. Nowhere to run, rabbit: the cold-war calculus of disease ecology.Warwick Anderson - 2017 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 39 (2):13.
    During the cold war, Frank Fenner and Francis Ratcliffe studied mathematically the coevolution of host resistance and parasite virulence when myxomatosis was unleashed on Australia’s rabbit population. Later, Robert May called Fenner the “real hero” of disease ecology for his mathematical modeling of the epidemic. While Ratcliffe came from a tradition of animal ecology, Fenner developed an ecological orientation in World War II through his work on malaria control —that is, through studies of tropical medicine. This makes Fenner at least (...)
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  27. From Working Collections to the World Germplasm Project: Agricultural Modernization and Genetic Conservation at the Rockefeller Foundation.Helen Anne Curry - 2017 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 39 (2).
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  28.  2
    Diverging views of epigenesis: the Wolff–Blumenbach debate.Andrea Gambarotto - 2017 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 39 (2):12.
    Johann Friedrich Blumenbach is widely known as the father of German vitalism and his notion of Bildungstrieb, or nisus formativus, has been recognized as playing a key role in the debates about generation in German-speaking countries around 1800. On the other hand, Caspar Friedrich Wolff was the first to employ a vitalist notion, namely that of vis essentialis, in the explanatory framework of epigenetic development. Is there a difference between Wolff’s vis essentialis and Blumenbach’s nisus formativus? How does this difference (...)
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  29. The Organism Strikes Back: Chlorella Algae and Their Impact on Photosynthesis Research, 1920s–1960s.Kärin Nickelsen - 2017 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 39 (2).
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  30. The invention of artificial fertilization in the eighteenth and nineteenth century.Barbara Orland - 2017 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 39 (2):11.
    Artificial insemination and other fertilization techniques are today considered central to the history of reproductive medicine. The medical treatment of infertile couples, however, constitutes just a small part of the whole story of artificial fertilization. Lazzaro Spallanzani in particular, said to have been the inventor of artificial insemination, did not develop this method for medical purposes. He belonged to a generation of naturalists to whom artificial insemination was part of a heterogeneous series of investigations that were undertaken to explore the (...)
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  31. Informing materials: drugs as tools for exploring cancer mechanisms and pathways.Vignola-Gagné Etienne, Keating Peter & Cambrosio Alberto - 2017 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 39 (2):10.
    This paper builds on previous work that investigated anticancer drugs as ‘informed materials’, i.e., substances that undergo an informational enrichment that situates them in a dense relational web of qualifications and measurements generated by clinical experiments and clinical trials. The paper analyzes the recent transformation of anticancer drugs from ‘informed’ to ‘informing material’. Briefly put: in the post-genomic era, anti-cancer drugs have become instruments for the production of new biological, pathological, and therapeutic insights into the underlying etiology and evolution of (...)
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  32. Leibniz, the Microscope and the Concept of Preformation.Alessandro Becchi - 2017 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 39 (1):4.
    In recent years a certain emphasis has been put by some scholars on Leibniz’s concern about empirical sciences and the relations between such concern and the development of his mature metaphysical system. In this paper I focus on Leibniz’s interest for the microscope and the astonishing discoveries that such instrument made possible in the field of the life sciences during the last part of the Seventeenth century. The observation of physical bodies carried out by the “magnifying glasses” revealed a matter (...)
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  33. Kant's Epigenesis: Specificity and Developmental Constraints.Boris Demarest - 2017 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 39 (1):3.
    In this paper, I argue that Kant adopted, throughout his career, a position that is much more akin to classical accounts of epigenesis, although he does reject the more radical forms of epigenesis proposed in his own time, and does make use of preformationist sounding terms. I argue that this is because Kant thinks of what is pre-formed as a species, not an individual or a part of an individual; has no qualm with the idea of a specific, teleological principle (...)
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