Molecular Models of Life: Philosophical Papers on Molecular Biology

Bradford (2004)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

Despite the transformation in biological practice and theory brought about by discoveries in molecular biology, until recently philosophy of biology continued to focus on evolutionary biology. When the Human Genome Project got underway in the late 1980s and early 1990s, philosophers of biology -- unlike historians and social scientists -- had little to add to the debate. In this landmark collection of essays, Sahotra Sarkar broadens the scope of current discussions of the philosophy of biology, viewing molecular biology as a unifying perspective on life that complements that of evolutionary biology. His focus is on molecular biology, but the overriding question behind these papers is what molecular biology contributes to all traditional areas of biological research.Molecular biology -- described with some foresight in a 1938 Rockefeller Foundation report as a branch of science in which "delicate modern techniques are being used to investigate ever more minute details" -- and its modeling strategies apparently argue in favor of physical reductionism. Sarkar's first three chapters explore reductionism -- defending it, but cautioning that reduction to molecular interactions is not necessarily a reduction to genetics. The next sections of the book discuss function, exploring how functional explanations pose a problem for reductionism; the informational interpretation of biology and how it interacts with reductionism; and the tension between the unifying framework of molecular biology and the received framework of evolutionary theory. The concluding chapter is an essay in the emerging field of developmental evolution, exploring what molecular biology may contribute to the transformation of evolutionary theory as evolutionary theory takes into account morphogenetic development

Links

PhilArchive



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 92,075

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Naturalists, Molecular Biologists, and the Challenges of Molecular Evolution.Joel B. Hagen - 1999 - Journal of the History of Biology 32 (2):321 - 341.
The Death of Molecular Biology?Michel Morange - 2008 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 30 (1):31 - 42.
The Adaptive Radiation of Biological Explanation.Niall Shanks - 2001 - Idealistic Studies 31 (2/3):155-168.
Is the Neo-Darwinian Synthesis Robust Enough to Withstand the Challenge of Recent Discoveries in Molecular Biology and Molecular Evolution?John R. Jungck - 1982 - PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1982:322 - 328.
Mapping development or how molecular is molecular biology?Soraya de Chadarevian - 1999 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 22 (3):381-396.

Analytics

Added to PP
2014-02-06

Downloads
128 (#142,700)

6 months
22 (#122,900)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Sahotra Sarkar
University of Texas at Austin

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 Sciences: The Case of Biology and History. Springer Verlag. pp. 27-52.
Agential Teleosemantics.Tiago Rama - 2022 - Dissertation, Autonomous University of Barcelona
Function and Teleology.Justin Garson - 2008 - In Sahorta Sarkar & Anya Plutynski (eds.), Companion to the Philosophy of Biology. Blackwell. pp. 525-549.

View all 27 citations / Add more citations

References found in this work

No references found.

Add more references