Macromolecular Pluralism

Philosophy of Science 76 (5):851-863 (2009)
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Abstract

Different chemical species are often cited as paradigm examples of structurally delimited natural kinds. While classificatory monism may thus seem plausible for simple molecules, it looks less attractive for complex biological macromolecules. I focus on the case of proteins that are most plausibly individuated by their functions. Is there a single, objective count of proteins? I argue that the vagaries of function individuation infect protein classification. We should be pluralists about macromolecular classification.

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Matthew Slater
Bucknell University

Citations of this work

Where Do You Get Your Protein? Or: Biochemical Realization.Tuomas E. Tahko - 2020 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 71 (3):799-825.
Messy Chemical Kinds.Joyce C. Havstad - 2018 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 69 (3):719-743.
Natural kinds.Emma Tobin & Alexander Bird - 2009 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Unity of Science.Tuomas E. Tahko - 2021 - Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Natural Kinds.Zdenka Brzović - 2018 - Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

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References found in this work

Functional analysis.Robert Cummins - 1975 - Journal of Philosophy 72 (November):741-64.
Functions.Larry Wright - 1973 - Philosophical Review 82 (2):139-168.
Scientific Essentialism.Lenny Clapp - 2002 - Philosophical Review 111 (4):589-594.

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