Genetics and Reductionism

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Cambridge University Press, Oct 13, 1998 - Nature - 246 pages
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With the advent of the Human Genome Project there have been many claims for the genetic origins of complex human behavior including insanity, criminality, and intelligence. But what does it really mean to call something "genetic"? This is the fundamental question that Sahotra Sarkar's book addresses. This important book clarifies the meaning of the term "genetic," shows how molecular studies have affected genetics, and provides the philosophical background necessary to understand the debates over the Human Genome Project. It will be of particular interest to professionals and students in the philosophy of science, the history of science, and the social studies of science, medicine, and technology.
 

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Contents

Introduction
1
11 Whats genetic?
3
12 Alleles loci and traits a note on biological terminology
5
13 Explanation and reduction
9
14 Determinism and prediction
10
15 Outline
13
Types of reduction Formal issues
16
21 Formal and substantive issues
18
44 Conceptual problems associated with H
82
45 Problems of estimation
90
46 The abuse of H
91
Appendix 41 Theory
93
Appendix 42 Analysis of the model of Table 441
97
Reduction and classical genetics
101
51 Mendels laws
104
52 Biometry and mendelism
105

22 Ontological and epistemological questions
20
23 Theories versus mechanisms
24
24 The form of explanation
29
25 The form of the connections
32
26 Supervenience
37
Types of reduction Substantive issues
39
31 Explanation
41
32 Substantive criteria and types of reduction
43
33 Fundamentalism
46
34 Approximations
48
35 Hierarchical organization
53
36 Wholes and parts
55
37 Epistemological eliminativism
60
38 Ontological eliminativism
62
39 Reduction versus construction
64
310 Reduction and scientific method
65
311 The value of reductions
67
312 The unity of science
68
The obsession with heritability
71
41 Definitions
76
Nature nurture and reduction
78
43 The use of h
81
53 Segregation analysis
109
54 Linkage analysis
116
55 Caveats
123
56 Reduction
127
57 New directions
132
Reduction and molecular biology
136
61 The molecularization of biology
137
62 Examples
142
63 Approximations and the physics of macromolecules
146
64 The status of genetics
150
65 The molecular definition of a gene
156
66 Classical and molecular genetics
159
67 The decline of dominance
168
68 Conflations
174
Concluding polemics
175
71 Gene organism and environment
176
72 Whats genetic?
181
73 Conclusions
187
Notes
191
References
223
Index
242
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