Philosophy of Molecular Biology


The revolution in molecular biology has made the debate between reductionism and antireductionism in the philosophy of biology a pressing concern among biologists. The adoption of either of these two positions has important implications for the research programme of biology.

Keywords: reductionism; antireductionism; explanation; methodology; physicalism

Further Reading

Dawkins R (1982) The Extended Phenotype. San Fransisco: WH Freeman.

Feyerabend P (1964) Reduction, empiricism and laws. In: Minnesota Studies in the Philosophy of Science, vol. III. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Hull D (1974) The Philosophy of Biological Science. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice‐Hall.

Hull D (1989) Science as a Process. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Kitcher P (1984) 1953 and all that: a tale of two sciences. Philosophical Review 93: 335–373.

Mayr E (1982) The Growth of Biological Thought. Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press.

Nagel E (1961) The Structure of Science. New York: Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovitch.

Rosenberg A (1985) The Structure of Biological Science. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Schaffner K (1993) Discovery and Explanation in Biology and Medicine. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Sober E (1993) The Philosophy of Biology. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.

Stryer L (1983) Biochemistry. San Francisco: WH Freeman.

Waters K (1990) Why the antireductionist consensus won’t survive: the case of classical mendelian genetics. In: PSA 1990. East Lansing, MI: The Philosophy of Science Association.

Wright L (1976) Teleological Explanation. Berkeley: University of California Press.

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How to Cite close
Rosenberg, Alexander(Apr 2001) Philosophy of Molecular Biology. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. [doi: 10.1038/npg.els.0003448]