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Philosophy of Developmental Biology

Weber, Marcel (2022) Philosophy of Developmental Biology. Cambridge Elements in the Philosophy of Biology . Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK. ISBN 978-1-009-18415-1

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Abstract

The history of developmental biology is interwoven with debates as to whether mechanistic explanations of development are possible or whether alternative explanatory principles or even vital forces need to be assumed. In particular, the demonstrated ability of embryonic cells to tune their developmental fate precisely to their relative position and the overall size of the embryo was once thought to be inexplicable in mechanistic terms. Taking a causal perspective, this Element examines to what extent and how developmental biology, having turned molecular about four decades ago, has been able to meet the vitalist challenge. It focuses not only on the nature of explanations but also on the usefulness of causal knowledge – including the knowledge of classical experimental embryology – for further scientific discovery. It also shows how this causal perspective allows us to understand the nature and significance of some key concepts, including organizer, signal and morphogen. This title is also available as Open Access on Cambridge Core.


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Item Type: Open Access Book
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Weber, Marcelmarcel.weber@unige.ch
Keywords: Developmental biology Mechanism Vitalism Causality Explanation Experiment Organizer Morphogen Causal specificity Signal Embryonic induction
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Biology > Developmental Biology
General Issues > Causation
General Issues > Experimentation
General Issues > Explanation
General Issues > Models and Idealization
General Issues > Reductionism/Holism
Depositing User: Prof. Marcel Weber
Date Deposited: 29 Apr 2022 03:41
Last Modified: 29 Apr 2022 03:41
Item ID: 20509
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Official URL: https://www.cambridge.org/core/elements/philosophy...
DOI or Unique Handle: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108954181
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Biology > Developmental Biology
General Issues > Causation
General Issues > Experimentation
General Issues > Explanation
General Issues > Models and Idealization
General Issues > Reductionism/Holism
Date: 16 March 2022
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/20509

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