Topoi 40 (3):577-586 (2020)

Davide Serpico
Jagiellonian University
Andrea Borghini
Università degli Studi di Milano
In this paper, we aim at rethinking the concept of obesity in a way that better captures the connection between underlying medical aspects, on the one hand, and an individual’s developmental history, on the other. Our proposal rests on the idea that obesity is not to be understood as a phenotypic trait or character; rather, obesity represents one of the many possible states of a more complex phenotypic trait that we call ‘energy metabolism.’ We argue that this apparently simple conceptual shift can help solve important theoretical misconceptions regarding the genetics, epigenetics, and development of obesity. In addition, we show that our proposal can be fruitfully paired with the concept of developmental channeling of a trait, which connects to the study of the plasticity and canalization of complex traits. Finally, we discuss the potential impact of our approach on the assessment, treatment, and social narratives of obesity.
Keywords Obesity  Genetics of obesity  Epigenetics of obesity  Definition of obesity  Developmental canalization  Obesity and public health
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Reprint years 2021
DOI 10.1007/s11245-020-09722-1
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What is Innateness?Paul E. Griffiths - 2001 - The Monist 85 (1):70-85.
Heritability.Stephen M. Downes & Lucas J. Matthews - 2019 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

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