Where Do You Get Your Protein? Or: Biochemical Realization


Authors
Tuomas E. Tahko
Bristol University
Abstract
Biochemical kinds such as proteins pose interesting problems for philosophers of science, as they can be studied from the points of view of both biology and chemistry. The relationship between the biological functions of biochemical kinds and the microstructures that they are related to is the key question. This leads us to a more general discussion about ontological reductionism, microstructuralism, and multiple realization at the biology-chemistry interface. On the face of it, biochemical kinds seem to pose a challenge for ontological reductionism and hence motivate a dual theory of chemical and biological kinds, a type of pluralism about natural kinds. But it will be argued that the challenge, which is based on multiple realization, can be addressed. The upshot is that there are reasonable prospects for ontological reductionism about biochemical kinds, which corroborates natural kind monism.
Keywords natural kinds  reduction  chemical kinds  biological kinds  reductionism  multiple realization  realization  microstructuralism  biological functions  proteins
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DOI 10.1093/bjps/axy044
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Physical Realization.Sydney Shoemaker - 2007 - Oxford University Press UK.
Natural Kindness.Matthew Slater - 2015 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 66 (2):375-411.
In Defense of Proper Functions.Ruth Garrett Millikan - 1989 - Philosophy of Science 56 (June):288-302.

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