2007 – The Influence of Genetics on Philosophy of Science: Classical Genetics and the Structuralist View of Theories

  • “The Influence of Genetics on Philosophy of Science: Classical Genetics and the Structuralist View of Theories”, en Fagot-Largeault, A., Torres, J.M. y S. Rahman (eds.), The Influence of Genetics on Contemporary Thinking, Dordrecht: Springer, 2007, pp. 99-115.

Abstract
Taking as starting point the first textbook of classical genetics that clearly exemplifies all the features that Kuhn takes to be constitutive of a science textbook, Sinnott and Dunn’s (1925), as well as Darden’s (1991) and Schaffner’s (1980, 1986, 1993) analyses of the structure of biomedical and/or biological theories, I will discuss the problem of the existence of laws in biology. The framework of this discussion is provided by the structuralist conception of theories. The result of this analysis will be the identification of the fundamental law of classical genetics: the law of matching, which satisfies all weak necessary conditions for law-likeness that are postulated by the structuralist approach of theories, and the recognition of the so-called ‘Mendel’s Laws’ as special laws of classical genetics. This shows that the structuralist view is capable of providing an interesting perspective on genetics, which, in turn, has a positive effect on philosophy of science, because it shows we have a framework at hand in which important philosophical problems can fruitfully be addressed.

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