Journal Article

Genomic Programs as Mechanism Schemas: A Non-Reductionist Interpretation

Tudor M. Baetu

in The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science

Published on behalf of British Society for the Philosophy of Science

Volume 63, issue 3, pages 649-671
Published in print September 2012 | ISSN: 0007-0882
Published online February 2012 | e-ISSN: 1464-3537 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/bjps/axr042
Genomic Programs as Mechanism Schemas: A Non-Reductionist Interpretation

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In this article, I argue that genomic programs are not substitutes for multi-causal molecular mechanistic explanations of inheritance, but abstract representations of the same sort as mechanism schemas already described in the philosophical literature. On this account, the program analogy is not reductionistic and does not ignore or underestimate the active contribution of epigenetic elements to phenotypes and development. Rather, genomic program representations specifically highlight the genomic determinants of inheritance and their organizational features at work in the wider context of the mechanisms of genome expression.

1Introduction

2What is a Genomic Program?

3Objections to the Program Analogy

4Genomic Programs as Abstract Representations of the Mechanisms of Genome Expression

5Answers to the Objections Presented in Section 3

  5.1Programs consist of sets of instructions processed by a specific hardware

  5.2Mechanistic elements represented by and abstracted from genomic program representations

  5.3The scope, limits, and shortcomings of the program analogy

6Conclusion

Journal Article.  8145 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Philosophy of Science ; Science and Mathematics

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