Genetic information: A metaphor in search of a theory

Philosophy of Science 68 (3):394-412 (2001)
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Abstract

John Maynard Smith has defended against philosophical criticism the view that developmental biology is the study of the expression of information encoded in the genes by natural selection. However, like other naturalistic concepts of information, this ‘teleosemantic’ information applies to many non-genetic factors in development. Maynard Smith also fails to show that developmental biology is concerned with teleosemantic information. Some other ways to support Maynard Smith’s conclusion are considered. It is argued that on any definition of information the view that development is the expression of genetic information is misleading. Some reasons for the popularity of that view are suggested.

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Paul Edmund Griffiths
University of Sydney

Citations of this work

The Ontic Account of Scientific Explanation.Carl F. Craver - 2014 - In Marie I. Kaiser, Oliver R. Scholz, Daniel Plenge & Andreas Hüttemann (eds.), Explanation in the special science: The case of biology and history. Dordrecht: Springer. pp. 27-52.
What is innateness?Paul E. Griffiths - 2001 - The Monist 85 (1):70-85.
Consumers Need Information: supplementing teleosemantics with an input condition.Nicholas Shea - 2007 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 75 (2):404-435.
Innateness and the sciences.Matteo Mameli & Patrick Bateson - 2006 - Biology and Philosophy 21 (2):155-188.

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