23 found
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  1. Beyond quantitative and qualitative traits: three telling cases in the life sciences.Davide Serpico - 2020 - Biology and Philosophy 35 (3):1-26.
    This paper challenges the common assumption that some phenotypic traits are quantitative while others are qualitative. The distinction between these two kinds of traits is widely influential in biological and biomedical research as well as in scientific education and communication. This is probably due to both historical and epistemological reasons. However, the quantitative/qualitative distinction involves a variety of simplifications on the genetic causes of phenotypic variability and on the development of complex traits. Here, I examine three cases from the life (...)
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  2. Crossing the Threshold: An Epigenetic Alternative to Dimensional Accounts of Mental Disorders.Davide Serpico & Valentina Petrolini - forthcoming - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science.
    Recent trends in psychiatry involve a transition from categorical to dimensional frameworks, in which the boundary between health and pathology is understood as a difference in degree rather than as a difference in kind. A major tenet of dimensional approaches is that no qualitative distinction can be made between health and pathology. As a consequence, these approaches tend to characterize such a threshold as pragmatic or conventional in nature. However, dimensional approaches to psychopathology raise several epistemological and ontological issues. First, (...)
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  3. Homeostatic Property Cluster Theory without Homeostatic Mechanisms: Two Recent Attempts and their Costs.Yukinori Onishi & Davide Serpico - 2021 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie (N/A):61-82.
    The homeostatic property cluster theory is widely influential for its ability to account for many natural-kind terms in the life sciences. However, the notion of homeostatic mechanism has never been fully explicated. In 2009, Carl Craver interpreted the notion in the sense articulated in discussions on mechanistic explanation and pointed out that the HPC account equipped with such notion invites interest-relativity. In this paper, we analyze two recent refinements on HPC: one that avoids any reference to the causes of the (...)
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  4. From Obesity to Energy Metabolism: Ontological Perspectives on the Metrics of Human Bodies.Davide Serpico & Andrea Borghini - 2020 - Topoi 40 (3):577-586.
    In this paper, we aim at rethinking the concept of obesity in a way that better captures the connection between underlying medical aspects, on the one hand, and an individual’s developmental history, on the other. Our proposal rests on the idea that obesity is not to be understood as a phenotypic trait or character; rather, obesity represents one of the many possible states of a more complex phenotypic trait that we call ‘energy metabolism.’ We argue that this apparently simple conceptual (...)
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  5. The Cyclical Return of the IQ Controversy: Revisiting the Lessons of the Resolution on Genetics, Race and Intelligence.Davide Serpico - 2021 - Journal of the History of Biology 54 (2):199-228.
    In 1976, the Genetics Society of America published a document entitled “Resolution of Genetics, Race, and Intelligence.” This document laid out the Society’s position in the IQ controversy, particularly that on scientific and ethical questions involving the genetics of intellectual differences between human populations. Since the GSA was the largest scientific society of geneticists in the world, many expected the document to be of central importance in settling the controversy. Unfortunately, the Resolution had surprisingly little influence on the discussion. In (...)
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  6.  24
    New historical and philosophical perspectives on quantitative genetics.Davide Serpico, Kate E. Lynch & Theodore M. Porter - 2023 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 97 (C):29-33.
    The aim of this virtual special issue is to bring together philosophical and historical perspectives to address long-standing issues in the interpretation, utility, and impacts of quantitative genetics methods and findings. Methodological approaches and the underlying scientific understanding of genetics and heredity have transformed since the field's inception. These advances have brought with them new philosophical issues regarding the interpretation and understanding of quantitative genetic results. The contributions in this issue demonstrate that there is still work to be done integrating (...)
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  7. The DSM-5 introduction of the Social (Pragmatic) Communication Disorder as a new mental disorder: a philosophical review.M. Cristina Amoretti, Elisabetta Lalumera & Davide Serpico - 2021 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 43 (4):1-31.
    The latest edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders included the Social Communication Disorder as a new mental disorder characterized by deficits in pragmatic abilities. Although the introduction of SPCD in the psychiatry nosography depended on a variety of reasons—including bridging a nosological gap in the macro-category of Communication Disorders—in the last few years researchers have identified major issues in such revision. For instance, the symptomatology of SPCD is notably close to that of Autism Spectrum Disorder. This (...)
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  8.  93
    Epistemological Pitfalls in the Proxy Theory of Race: The Case of Genomics-Based Medicine.Joanna Karolina Malinowska & Davide Serpico - forthcoming - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science.
    In this article, we discuss epistemological limitations relating to the use of ethnoracial categories in biomedical research as devised by the Office of Management and Budget’s institutional guidelines. We argue that the obligation to use ethnoracial categories in genomics research should be abandoned. First, we outline how conceptual imprecision in the definition of ethnoracial categories can generate epistemic uncertainty in medical research and practice. Second, we focus on the use of ethnoracial categories in medical genetics, particularly genomics-based precision medicine, where (...)
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  9.  93
    A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing: Idealisations and the aims of polygenic scores.Davide Serpico - 2023 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 102 (C):72-83.
    Research in pharmacogenomics and precision medicine has recently introduced the concept of Polygenic Scores (PGSs), namely, indexes that aggregate the effects that many genetic variants are predicted to have on individual disease risk. The popularity of PGSs is increasing rapidly, but surprisingly little attention has been paid to the idealisations they make about phenotypic development. Indeed, PGSs rely on quantitative genetics models and methods, which involve considerable theoretical assumptions that have been questioned on various grounds. This comes with epistemological and (...)
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  10.  64
    Averaged versus individualized: pragmatic N-of-1 design as a method to investigate individual treatment response.Davide Serpico & Mariusz Maziarz - 2023 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 13 (4):1-28.
    Heterogeneous treatment effects represent a major issue for medicine as they undermine reliable inference and clinical decision-making. To overcome the issue, the current vision of precision and personalized medicine acknowledges the need to control individual variability in response to treatment. In this paper, we argue that gene-treatment-environment interactions (G × T × E) undermine inferences about individual treatment effects from the results of both genomics-based methodologies—such as genome-wide association studies (GWAS) and genome-wide interaction studies (GWIS)—and randomized controlled trials (RCTs). Then, (...)
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  11. Where the standard approach in comparative neuroscience fails and where it works: General intelligence and brain asymmetries.Davide Serpico & Elisa Frasnelli - 2018 - Comparative Cognition and Behavior Reviews 13:95-98.
    Although brain size and the concept of intelligence have been extensively used in comparative neuroscience to study cognition and its evolution, such coarse-grained traits may not be informative enough about important aspects of neurocognitive systems. By taking into account the different evolutionary trajectories and the selection pressures on neurophysiology across species, Logan and colleagues suggest that the cognitive abilities of an organism should be investigated by considering the fine-grained and species-specific phenotypic traits that characterize it. In such a way, we (...)
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  12. Le basi dell’intelligenza. Due modi di ragionare su geni e ambiente.Davide Serpico - 2016 - PNEI News 5 (10):13-16.
  13. La differenza tra ereditarietà ed ereditabilità nello studio dei tratti psicologici.Davide Serpico - 2020 - Medicalive Magazine 6 (1):7-21.
    ITA: In questo articolo analizzerò la differenza tra il concetto di ereditarietà e quello di ereditabilità. In primo luogo, evidenzierò come i due concetti derivino storicamente da differenti tradizioni nello studio della variabilità fenotipica e del rapporto genotipo-fenotipo. Secondariamente, illustrerò gli aspetti teorici e metodologici alla base dei due concetti, che sono peraltro collegati a differenti aree delle scienze biologiche. Infine, spiegherò brevemente come si sia recentemente tentato, con molte difficoltà, di connettere lo studio dei meccanismi dell’ereditarietà allo studio dell’ereditabilità. (...)
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  14. Can the g Factor Play a Role in Artificial General Intelligence Research?Davide Serpico & Marcello Frixione - 2018 - In Davide Serpico & Marcello Frixione (eds.), Proceedings of the Society for the Study of Artificial Intelligence and Simulation of Behaviour 2018. pp. 301-305.
    In recent years, a trend in AI research has started to pursue human-level, general artificial intelli-gence (AGI). Although the AGI framework is characterised by different viewpoints on what intelligence is and how to implement it in artificial systems, it conceptualises intelligence as flexible, general-purposed, and capable of self-adapting to different contexts and tasks. Two important ques-tions remain open: a) should AGI projects simu-late the biological, neural, and cognitive mecha-nisms realising the human intelligent behaviour? and b) what is the relationship, if (...)
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  15. Introduction: Understanding Hunger.Andrea Borghini & Davide Serpico - 2021 - Topoi 40 (3):503-506.
  16. L’intelligenza tra generalità, integrazione e controllo cognitivo.Davide Serpico - 2022 - Rivista Internazionale di Filosofia e Psicologia 13 (1):66-71.
    ITA: In che modo il nostro cervello è in grado di produrre quel tipo di comportamento flessibile e volto a specifici scopi che chiamiamo intelligenza? Le differenze cognitive tra individui sono dovute a una varietà di abilità mentali o a una sola? Questo articolo discute gli elementi centrali della teoria dell’intelligenza generale proposta da John Duncan nel volume How intelligence happens, tradotto recentemente in italiano e corredato da un capitolo conclusivo inedito. Prendendo le mosse dalla ricerca di Charles Spearman sull’intelligenza (...)
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  17. Covid-19 and ageing: four alternative conceptual frameworks.Davide Serpico & M. Cristina Amoretti - 2021 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 43 (3):1-4.
    Ageing is one of the main risk factors for Covid-19. In this paper, we delineate four alternative conceptualisations of ageing, each of which determines different understandings of its causal role to the susceptibility to Covid-19 as well as to the severity of its symptoms and adverse health outcomes.
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  18. La riproduzione come fine ultimo degli organismi viventi: Genealogia di un paradigma economico.Davide Serpico, Luca Costa & Davide Rasino - 2014 - Naturalmente 27 (3):4-10.
    Mostrando le analogie tra il modello di Homo oeconomicus e quello che chiameremo Animal oeconomicum, nonché la genealogia del ragionamento “economico” applicato al comportamento animale, vengono messi in risalto gli impliciti e le debolezze di alcuni ragionamenti etologici frequenti; revisioni e critiche che hanno ridimensionato il concetto di Homo oeconomicus sono applicabili anche all’interpretazione raziocinante e calcolatrice del comportamento animale.
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  19.  76
    The Spirit of Cocktails: On the Conceptual Structure of Cocktail Recipes.Davide Serpico, M. Cristina Amoretti & Marcello Frixione - 2020 - Humana.Mente - Journal of Philosophical Studies 38 (13):37-59.
    In this paper, we discuss the conceptual structure of cocktail recipes. This topic involves engaging questions for philosophers and food theorists due to some peculiar characteristics of cocktail recipes, such as the fact that they are standardised by international associations but, nonetheless, vagueness in some elements of the recipes introduces a degree of variability between cocktails of the same type. Our proposal is that a classical theory of concepts is unable to account for such peculiar features. Thus, only a hybrid (...)
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  20.  19
    Filosofia della scienza: parole chiave.Maria Cristina Amoretti & Davide Serpico - 2022 - Rome: Carocci.
    Nella pratica scientifica ci sono molte questioni di tipo concettuale che possono trarre vantaggio da uno specifico sguardo filosofico. Per esempio, qual è la differenza tra scienza e pseudoscienza? Le teorie scientifiche sono in grado di fornire una descrizione vera del mondo? In cosa consiste la spiegazione scientifica? In che misura l’impresa scientifica è influenzata da valori etici, politici, economici o religiosi? Prediligendo un approccio tematico, il volume introduce alla comprensione dei principali problemi teorici della filosofia della scienza attraverso l’analisi (...)
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  21. L'intelligenza tra natura e cultura.Davide Serpico - 2022 - Turin: Rosenberg & Sellier.
    ENG: We all have our own ideas about what it is like to be intelligent. Indeed, even the experts disagree on this topic. This has generated diverse theories on the nature of intelligence and its genetic and environmental bases. Many scientific and philosophical questions thus remain unaddressed: is it possible to characterize intelligence in scientific terms? What do IQ tests measure? How is intelligence influenced by genetics, epigenetics, and the environment? What are the ethical and social implications of the research (...)
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  22. Proceedings of the Society for the Study of Artificial Intelligence and Simulation of Behaviour 2018.Davide Serpico & Marcello Frixione (eds.) - 2018
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  23.  27
    Book-review of V. Tripodi , Philosophy and Medicine, in: "Medicina e Storia", vol. IX-X, 2016. [REVIEW]Davide Serpico - 2019 - Rivista Internazionale di Filosofia e Psicologia 10 (1):94-97.