How practical know‐how contextualizes theoretical knowledge: Exporting causal knowledge from laboratory to nature

Philosophy of Science 75 (5):707-719 (2008)
C. Kenneth Waters
University of Calgary
Leading philosophical accounts presume that Thomas H. Morgan’s transmission theory can be understood independently of experimental practices. Experimentation is taken to be relevant to confirming, rather than interpreting, the transmission theory. But the construction of Morgan’s theory went hand in hand with the reconstruction of the chief experimental object, the model organism Drosophila melanogaster . This raises an important question: when a theory is constructed to account for phenomena in carefully controlled laboratory settings, what knowledge, if any, indicates the theory’s relevance to phenomena outside highly controlled settings? The answer, I argue, is found within the procedural knowledge embedded within laboratory practice. †To contact the author, please write to: Minnesota Center for Philosophy of Science, University of Minnesota, Department of Philosophy, 831 Heller Hall, 271 19th Ave., University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN 55455‐0310; e‐mail:
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DOI 10.1086/594516
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The Many Faces of Biological Individuality.Thomas Pradeu - 2016 - Biology and Philosophy 31 (6):761-773.
Synthetic Biology and Genetic Causation.Gry Oftedal & Veli-Pekka Parkkinen - 2013 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 44 (2):208-216.

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