Philosophy of Science 67 (3):321 (2000)

Authors
Robert Richardson
University of Cincinnati
Abstract
Developmental biology has resurfaced in recent years, often without a clearly central role for the organism. The organism is pulled in divergent directions: on the one hand, there is an important body of work that emphasizes the role of the gene in development, as executing and controlling embryological change; on the other hand, there are more theoretical approaches under which the organism disappears as little more than an instance for testing biological generalizations. I press here for the ineliminability of the organism in developmental biology on explanatory grounds. I examine classical work concerned with growth and development, particularly in Drosophila and C. elegans. Some of this work is suggestive of modular development, and accordingly suggests a level below that of the organism as being explanatory. These are not the only type of case. There are other equally well-established results, which indicate greater integration in the developing organism. Though with a modular organization the organism can be thought of as made up of its constituent traits, and though the explanations of these traits may lie in terms of cells or genes, even with modular development the explanations of "genetic" differences require an appeal to the organism. With non-modular organization the organism has an even more central role. This does not mean that these genetic or cellular contributions are unreal in any way, or that development requires some sort of vitalistic contribution; but the genetic contributions make sense only as constituents of the organism, embedded in a larger organic context
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1086/392828
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 53,497
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Analytics

Added to PP index
2009-01-28

Total views
30 ( #330,105 of 2,348,159 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #510,741 of 2,348,159 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes