Giulia Frezza
Università degli Studi di Roma "La Sapienza"
The paper analyzes the early theory building process of Thomas Hunt Morgan from the 1910s to the 1930s and the introduction of the invisible gene as a main explanatory unit of heredity. Morgan’s work marks the transition between two different styles of thought. In the early 1900s, he shifted from an embryological study of the development of the organism to a study of the mechanism of genetic inheritance and gene action. According to his contemporaries as well as to historiography, Morgan separated genetics from embryology, and the gene from the whole organism. Other scholars identified an underlying embryological focus in Morgan’s work throughout his career. Our paper aims to clarify the debate by concentrating on Morgan’s theory building—characterized by his confidence in the power of experimental methods, and carefully avoiding any ontological commitment towards the gene—and on the continuity of the questions to be addressed by both embryology and genetics.
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DOI 10.1007/s40656-018-0196-z
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Philosophy of Experimental Biology.Jacob Stegenga - 2009 - Erkenntnis 71 (3):431-436.
What Was Classical Genetics?C. Kenneth Waters - 2004 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 35 (4):783-809.
Mendel No Mendelian?Robert Olby - 1979 - History of Science 17 (1):53-72.

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