What is the developmentalist challenge?

Philosophy of Science 65 (2):253-258 (1998)
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Kenneth C. Schaffner's paper is an important contribution to the literature on behavioral genetics and on genetics in general. Schaffner has a long record of injecting real molecular biology into philosophical discussions of genetics. His treatments of the reduction of Mendelian to molecular genetics first drew philosophical attention to the problems of detail that have fuelled both anti-reductionism and more sophisticated models of theory reduction. An injection of molecular detail into discussions of genetics is particularly necessary at the present time, when so many philosophers seem happy to discuss the philosophical and ethical implications of molecular biology using gene concepts derived from evolutionary biology ). Schaffner has long advocated the view that the philosophy of biology should be more than the philosophy of evolution. This paper shows how radically a picture of gene action derived from molecular biology undercuts the popular picture associated with a more evolutionary view of genes as units of heredity or as ‘difference-makers’ mediated by the ‘black box’ of development.



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Paul Edmund Griffiths
University of Sydney

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References found in this work

Philosophy of biological science.David L. Hull - 1974 - Englewood Cliffs, N.J.,: Prentice-Hall.
1953 and all that. A tale of two sciences.Philip Kitcher - 1984 - Philosophical Review 93 (3):335-373.
Approaches to reduction.Kenneth F. Schaffner - 1967 - Philosophy of Science 34 (2):137-147.

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