Toward a History of Epistemic Things: Synthesizing Proteins in the Test Tube

Stanford University Press (1997)
  Copy   BIBTEX


In this powerful work of conceptual and analytical originality, the author argues for the primacy of the material arrangements of the laboratory in the dynamics of modern molecular biology. In a post-Kuhnian move away from the hegemony of theory, he develops a new epistemology of experimentation in which research is treated as a process for producing epistemic things. A central concern of the book is the basic question of how novelty is generated in the empirical sciences. In addressing this question, the author brings French poststructuralist thinking—notably Jacques Derrida’s concepts of “différance” and “historiality”—to bear on the construction of epistemic things. Historiographical perspective shifts from the actors’ minds to their objects of manipulation. These epistemological and historical issues are illuminated in a detailed case study of a particular laboratory, that of the oncologist and biochemist Paul C. Zamecnik and his colleagues, located in a specific setting—the Collis P. Huntington Memorial Hospital of Harvard University at the Massachusetts General Hospital of Boston. The author traces how, between 1945 and 1965, this group developed an experimental system for synthesizing proteins in the test tube that put Zamecnik’s research team at the forefront of those who led biochemistry into the era of molecular biology



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 92,261

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

Toward a sociology of epistemic things.David Bloor - 2005 - Perspectives on Science 13 (3):285-312.
Catholic Teaching about Tube Feeding.Kevin McGovern - 2010 - Chisholm Health Ethics Bulletin 16 (2):8.
Intuitions in the test-tube.Joshua Knobe - 2004 - The Philosophers' Magazine 28:37-39.
Test Tube Conception.Allan Templeton - 1985 - Journal of Medical Ethics 11 (2):106-107.
Von ,listenwissenschaft' und ,epistemischen dingen'. Konzeptuelle annäherungen an altorientalische wissenspraktiken.Markus Hilgert - 2009 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 40 (2):277-309.


Added to PP

91 (#188,875)

6 months
20 (#132,777)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?