In debates between holism and reductionism in biology, from the early twentieth century to more recent re-enactments involving genetic reductionism, developmental systems theory or systems biology, the role of chance - the presence of theories invoking chance as a strong explanatory principle - is hardly ever acknowledged. Conversely, Darwinian models of chance and selection (Dennett, 1995; Kupiec, 1996, 2009) sit awkwardly with reductionist and holistic concepts, which they alternately challenge or approve of. I suggest that the juxtaposition of chance and the holism-reductionism pair (at multiple levels, ontological and methodological, pertaining to the vision of scientific practice as well as to the foundations of a vision of Nature, implicit or explicit) allows the theorist to shed some new light on these perennial tensions in the conceptualisation of Life.

In debates between holism and reductionism in biology, from the early twentieth century to more recent re-enactments involving genetic reductionism, developmental systems theory or systems biology, the role of chance - the presence of theories invoking chance as a strong explanatory principle - is hardly ever acknowledged. Conversely, Darwinian models of chance and selection (Dennett, 1995; Kupiec, 1996, 2009) sit awkwardly with reductionist and holistic concepts, which they alternately challenge or approve of. I suggest that the juxtaposition of chance and the holism-reductionism pair (at multiple levels, ontological and methodological, pertaining to the vision of scientific practice as well as to the foundations of a vision of Nature, implicit or explicit) allows the theorist to shed some new light on these perennial tensions in the conceptualisation of Life. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.

Chance between holism and reductionism: Tensions in the conceptualisation of Life

Wolfe, charles
2012

Abstract

In debates between holism and reductionism in biology, from the early twentieth century to more recent re-enactments involving genetic reductionism, developmental systems theory or systems biology, the role of chance - the presence of theories invoking chance as a strong explanatory principle - is hardly ever acknowledged. Conversely, Darwinian models of chance and selection (Dennett, 1995; Kupiec, 1996, 2009) sit awkwardly with reductionist and holistic concepts, which they alternately challenge or approve of. I suggest that the juxtaposition of chance and the holism-reductionism pair (at multiple levels, ontological and methodological, pertaining to the vision of scientific practice as well as to the foundations of a vision of Nature, implicit or explicit) allows the theorist to shed some new light on these perennial tensions in the conceptualisation of Life.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/10278/3719567
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