Dna, inference, and information

Ulrich Stegmann
University of Aberdeen
This paper assesses Sarkar's ([2003]) deflationary account of genetic information. On Sarkar's account, genes carry information about proteins because protein synthesis exemplifies what Sarkar calls a ‘formal information system’. Furthermore, genes are informationally privileged over non-genetic factors of development because only genes enter into arbitrary relations to their products (in virtue of the alleged arbitrariness of the genetic code). I argue that the deflationary theory does not capture four essential features of the ordinary concept of genetic information: intentionality, exclusiveness, asymmetry, and causal relevance. It is therefore further removed from what is customarily meant by genetic information than Sarkar admits. Moreover, I argue that it is questionable whether the account succeeds in demonstrating that information is theoretically useful in molecular genetics. Introduction Sarkar's Information System The Pre-theoretic Features of Genetic Information 3.1 Intentionality 3.2 Exclusiveness 3.3 Asymmetry 3.4 Causal relevance Theoretical Usefulness Conclusion CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this?
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DOI 10.1093/bjps/axn041
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References found in this work BETA

The Concept of Information in Biology.John Maynard Smith - 2000 - Philosophy of Science 67 (2):177-194.
The Extended Replicator.Kim Sterelny, Kelly C. Smith & Michael Dickison - 1996 - Biology and Philosophy 11 (3):377-403.
On the Theoretical Role of "Genetic Coding".Peter Godfrey-Smith - 2000 - Philosophy of Science 67 (1):26-44.

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Citations of this work BETA

Inherited Representations Are Read in Development.Nicholas Shea - 2013 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 64 (1):1-31.
Varieties of Parity.Ulrich E. Stegmann - 2012 - Biology and Philosophy 27 (6):903-918.
Three Views of Theoretical Knowledge.W. Demopoulos - 2011 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 62 (1):177-205.

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