Acta Biotheoretica 63 (3):257-267 (2015)
AbstractThe building of a global model of carcinogenesis is one of modern biology’s greatest challenges. The traditional somatic mutation theory is now supplemented by a new approach, called the Tissue Organization Field Theory. According to TOFT, the original source of cancer is loss of tissue organization rather than genetic mutations. In this paper, we study the argumentative strategy used by the advocates of TOFT to impose their view. In particular, we criticize their claim of incompatibility used to justify the necessity to definitively reject SMT. First, we note that since it is difficult to build a non-ambiguous experimental demonstration of the superiority of TOFT, its partisans add epistemological and metaphysical arguments to the debate. This argumentative strategy allows them to defend the necessity of a paradigm shift, with TOFT superseding SMT. To do so, they introduce a notion of incompatibility, which they actually use as the Kuhnian notion of incommensurability. To justify this so-called incompatibility between the two theories of cancer, they move the debate to a metaphysical ground by assimilating the controversy to a fundamental opposition between reductionism and organicism. We show here that this argumentative strategy is specious, because it does not demonstrate clearly that TOFT is an organicist theory. Since it shares with SMT its vocabulary, its ontology and its methodology, it appears that a claim of incompatibility based on this metaphysical plan is not fully justified in the present state of the debate. We conclude that it is more cogent to argue that the two theories are compatible, both biologically and metaphysically. We propose to consider that TOFT and SMT describe two distinct and compatible causal pathways to carcinogenesis. This view is coherent with the existence of integrative approaches, and suggests that they have a higher epistemic value than the two theories taken separately
Similar books and articles
The Tissue Organization Field Theory of Cancer: A Testable Replacement for the Somatic Mutation Theory.Ana M. Soto & Carlos Sonnenschein - 2011 - Bioessays 33 (5):332-340.
Organicism and Reductionism in Cancer Research: Towards a Systemic Approach.Christophe Malaterre - 2007 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 21 (1):57 – 73.
Response to “In Defense of the Somatic Mutation Theory of Cancer”.Carlos Sonnenschein & Ana M. Soto - 2011 - Bioessays 33 (9):657-659.
Cancer and the Goals of Integration.Anya Plutynski - 2013 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences (4):466-476.
The Terrestrial Craddle of Life.F. Albarède & J. Blichert-Toft - 2009 - In Maryvonne Gérin & Marie-Christine Maurel (eds.), Origins of Life: Self-Organization and/or Biological Evolution? Edp Sciences. pp. 1--12.
TOFT Better Explains Experimental Results in Cancer Research Than SMT. [REVIEW]Stuart G. Baker - 2011 - Bioessays 33 (12):919-921.
Responsibility for Climate Change-the Human Rights Approach.Kristian Høyer Toft - forthcoming - Environmental Ethics.
Miranda Fricker, 'Epistemic Injustice – Power and the Ethics of Knowing'. [REVIEW]Kristian Høyer Toft - 2008 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 11 (1):117-119.
Review of Kaufmann, Bergenhotz: Genteknologisk Ordbog. [REVIEW]Annelise Grinsted & Bertha Toft - 1993 - Hermes 11:123-13.
GMOs and Global Justice: Applying Global Justice Theory to the Case of Genetically Modified Crops and Foods.K. Høyer Toft - 2012 - Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 25 (2):223-237.
Metaphysical Presuppositions and Scientific Practices: Reductionism and Organicism in Cancer Research.James A. Marcum - 2005 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 19 (1):31 – 45.
Added to PP
Historical graph of downloads
Citations of this work
Evidence Amalgamation, Plausibility, and Cancer Research.Marta Bertolaso & Fabio Sterpetti - 2019 - Synthese 196 (8):3279-3317.
SMT and TOFT: Why and How They are Opposite and Incompatible Paradigms.Mariano Bizzarri & Alessandra Cucina - 2016 - Acta Biotheoretica 64 (3):221-239.
Mapping the Continuum of Research Strategies.Matthew Baxendale - 2019 - Synthese 196 (11):4711-4733.
SMT and TOFT Integrable After All: A Reply to Bizzarri and Cucina.Baptiste Bedessem & Stphanie Ruphy - 2016 - Acta Biotheoretica 65 (1):81-85.
Revisiting D.W. Smithers’s “Cancer: An Attack on Cytologism”.Ana M. Soto & Carlos Sonnenschein - 2020 - Biological Theory 15 (4):180-187.
References found in this work
No references found.