2005 – “Ejemplares, modelos y principios en la genética clásica”

  • “Ejemplares, modelos y principios en la genética clásica” (“Exemplars, Models and Principles in Classical Genetics”) (in Spanish), Scientiae Studia. Revista Latino-Americana de Filosofía e História da Ciência, 3(2) (2005): 185-203. ISSN: 1678-3166.

Resumen

Tomando como punto de partida el libro de Sinnott y Dunn, Principles of Genetics: An Elementary Text, with Problems, que podría ser considerado el primer libro de texto de genética clásica en sentido kuhniano, y el análisis de la estructura de las teorías biológicas y/o biomédicas realizado por Darden y Schaffner, discutiré el problema de la existencia de leyes fundamentales o principios-guía en la biología, a la luz del examen de la genética clásica llevado a cabo en el marco de la concepción estructuralista de las teorías científicas.
Palabras clave: libro de texto, teoría biológica, genética clásica, ejemplar, modelo, principio, ley fundamental, ley especial.

Abstract

Taking as starting point Kuhn’s analysis of science textbooks and its application to Sinnott and Dunn’s Principles of Genetics: An Elementary Text, with Problems (1925), it will be discussed the problem of the existence of laws in biology. In particular, it will be showed, in accordance with the proposals of Darden (1991) and Schaffner (1980, 1986, 1993), the relevance of the exemplars, diagrammatically or graphically represented, in the way in which is carried out the teaching and learning process of classical genetics, inasmuch as the information contained in them, indispensable for the right development of that process, exceeds the information contained in the “laws” linguistically articulated and presented in the textbooks. However, it will be maintained that the information is implicit in the law that according to the structuralist concept of fundamental law and the reconstruction of genetics presented by Balzer & Dawe (1990), and later developed by Balzer & Lorenzano (1997) and Lorenzano (1995, 2000, 2002a) could be considered the fundamental law of classical genetics,the law of matching, clearly identified in this paper.
Keywords: textbook, biological theory, classical genetics, exemplar, model, principle, fundamental law, special law.

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2014 – What is the Status of the Hardy-Weinberg Law within Population Genetics?

  • “What is the Status of the Hardy-Weinberg Law within Population Genetics?”, en Galavotti, M.C., Nemeth, E. y F. Stadler (eds.), European Philosophy of Science – Philosophy of Science in Europe and the Viennese Heritage, Vienna Circle Institute Yearbook 17, Dordrecht: Springer, 2014, pp. 159-172. ISBN 978-3-319-01898-0.

The aim of this paper is to further develop van Fraassen’s diagnosis, expanding a previous analysis of the fundamental law of classical genetics and the status of the so-called ‘Mendel’s laws’. According to this diagnosis the Hardy-Weinberg law: 1) cannot be considered as axiom (or fundamental law) for classical population genetics, since it is a law that describes an equilibrium that 2) holds only under certain special conditions, and 3) only determines a subclass of models, 4) whose generalized form (and fundamental law) being shading off into logical vacuity, and 5) more complex variants of the fundamental law (and of the Hardy-Weinberg law) can be “deduced” for more realistic assumptions.

In order to achieve this, I will use notions of the structuralist view of theories, a version of the semantic view of theories that is related to but different from that of van Fraassen’s. These are the notions of fundamental law (or guiding-principle), specialization, and special law.

Having as a background a structuralist reconstruction of classical population genetics, I will show why the Hardy-Weinberg law should not be in fact considered the fundamental law of such a theory, but a special law (and not even a “terminal” specialization, i.e. a “non-terminal” specialization).

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2007 – Exemplars, Models and Laws in Classical Genetics

  • “Exemplars, Models and Laws in Classical Genetics”, en Falguera, J.L., Martínez, M.C. and J.M. Sagüillo (eds.), Current Topics in Logic and Analytic Philosophy/Temas actuales de Lógica y Filosofía Analítica, Santiago de Compostela: Universidade de Santiago de Compostela, 2007, pp. 89-102.

Abstract

Taking as starting point Kuhn’s analysis of science textbooks and its application to Sinnott and Dunn’s (1925), it will be discussed the problem of the existence of laws in biology. In particular, it will be showed, in accordance with the proposals of Darden (1991) and Schaffner (1980, 1986, 1993), the relevance of the exemplars, diagrammatically or graphically represented, in the way in which is carried out the teaching and learning process of classical genetics, inasmuch as the information contained in them, indispensable for the right development of that process, exceeds the information contained in the “laws” linguistically articulated and presented in the textbooks. However, it will be maintained that the information is implicit in the law that according to the structuralist concept of fundamental law and the reconstruction of genetics presented by Balzer & Dawe (1990), and later developed by Balzer & Lorenzano (1997) and Lorenzano (1995, 2000, 2002a) could be considered the fundamental law of classical genetics,the law of matching, clearly identified in this paper.

Keywords: textbook, biological theory, classical genetics, exemplar, model, principle, fundamental law, special law.

Acceder a “Exemplars, Models and Laws in Classical Genetics”.

2001 – On Biological Laws and the Laws of Biological Sciences

  • “On Biological Laws and the Laws of Biological Sciences”, Revista Patagónica de Filosofía 2 (2001): 29-43.

The aim of the present paper is to contribute to the discussion on the laws of biology. In this respect two of the arguments against the existence of laws in biology are reconstructed and discussed, namely, the one based on their non-universality (Smart 1963) and the one based on their the evolutionary contingency (Beatty 1995). Then, the distinction between natural laws or laws of nature and scientific laws or laws of science is introduced and the consequent distinction between biological laws and the laws of biological sciences. Finally, the topic is discussed from the point of view of the structuralist conception of scientific theories, hand in hand with the distinction between fundamental and special laws, and the reconstruction of genetics made by Balzer and Dawe (1990), further developed by Lorenzano (1995, 2000, 2002), and by Balzer and Lorenzano (2000), in particular the reconstruction of the fundamental law of fit.