Glue, verb and text metaphors in biology

Acta Biotheoretica 45 (1):1-15 (1997)

Metaphor influences the construction of biological models and theories and the analysis of its use can reveal important tools of thought. Some aspects of biological organisation are investigated through the analysis of metaphors associated with treating biosystems as a kind of text. In particular, the use of glue and verbs is considered. Some of the reasons why glue is important in the construction of hierarchies are pursued in the light of specific examples, and some of the conceptual links between glue in biology and other domains is discussed. Verbs are shown to be important in the construction of networks. Some of the relations between glue, verb and text are considered and the text metaphor is placed within a much broader context of ideas associated with form, relation and system. The paper concludes with comments on the nature of biological information and the need for extending or better understanding the verbal vocabulary.
Keywords Philosophy   Philosophy of Biology   Evolutionary Biology
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Reprint years 2004
DOI 10.1023/A:1000279221592
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