Genetic Determinism and the Innate-Acquired Distinction in Medicine

Medicine Studies (2):167-181 (2009)

Authors
Maria Kronfeldner
Central European University
Abstract
This article illustrates in which sense genetic determinism is still part of the contemporary interactionist consensus in medicine. Three dimensions of this consensus are discussed: kinds of causes, a continuum of traits ranging from monogenetic diseases to car accidents, and different kinds of determination due to different norms of reaction. On this basis, this article explicates in which sense the interactionist consensus presupposes the innate?acquired distinction. After a descriptive Part 1, Part 2 reviews why the innate?acquired distinction is under attack in contemporary philosophy of biology. Three arguments are then presented to provide a limited and pragmatic defense of the distinction: an epistemic, a conceptual, and a historical argument. If interpreted in a certain manner, and if the pragmatic goals of prevention and treatment are taken into account, then the innate?acquired distinction can be a useful epistemic tool. It can help, first, to understand that genetic determination does not mean fatalism, and, second, to maintain a system of checks and balances in the continuing nature?nurture debates.
Keywords genetic determinism  innateness  nature-nurture
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Reprint years 2009
DOI 10.1007/s12376-009-0014-8
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References found in this work BETA

Causes That Make a Difference.C. Kenneth Waters - 2007 - Journal of Philosophy 104 (11):551-579.
Innateness and the Sciences.Matteo Mameli & Patrick Bateson - 2006 - Biology and Philosophy 21 (2):155-188.

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Citations of this work BETA

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