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The Fearless Vampire Conservator: Phillip Kitcher and Genetic Determinism

Griffiths, Paul E (2002) The Fearless Vampire Conservator: Phillip Kitcher and Genetic Determinism. [Preprint]

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    Genetic determinism is the idea that many significant human characteristics are rendered inevitable by the presence of certain genes. The psychologist Susan Oyama has famously compared arguing against genetic determinism to battling the undead. Oyama suggests that genetic determinism is inherent in the way we currently represent genes and what genes do. As long as genes are represented as containing information about how the organism will develop, they will continue to be regarded as determining causes no matter how much evidence exists to the contrary. Philip Kitcher has strongly disputed Oyama's diagnosis, arguing that the conventional interactionist perspective on development is the correct framework for understanding the role of the genes in development. While acknowledging the legitimacy of many of Kitcher's observations, I believe that Oyama's view is substantially correct. In this paper I provide several lines of support for support the Oyama diagnosis.

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    Item Type: Preprint
    Keywords: genes genetic determinism susan oyama phillip kitcher richard lewontin genetic information bioethics developmental systems theory developmental psychobiology
    Subjects: Specific Sciences > Biology > Developmental Biology
    Specific Sciences > Biology > Molecular Biology/Genetics
    Specific Sciences > Medicine > Biomedical Ethics
    Depositing User: Professor Paul Edmund Griffiths
    Date Deposited: 28 May 2002
    Last Modified: 13 Sep 2015 11:10
    Item ID: 652

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