The Insights and Oversights of Molecular Genetics: The Place of the Evolutionary Perspective

PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1982:341 - 355 (1982)
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Abstract

A general case about the insights and oversights of molecular genetics is argued for by considering two specific cases: the first concerns the bearing of molecular genetics on Mendelian genetics, and the second concerns the bearing of molecular genetics on the replicability of the genetic material. As in the first case, it is argued that Mendel's law of segregation cannot be explained wholly in terms of molecular genetics--the law demands evolutionary scrutiny as well. In the second case, it is argued that an account of the replicability of the genetic material in terms of molecular genetics is not entirely independent of evolutionary considerations, in the sense that it raises further evolutionary questions. The limitations of the molecular-genetic approach in these cases point to the limitations of that approach in general.

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