If you need an accessible version of this item please contact JSTOR User Support

On the Possibility of Directed Mutations in Bacteria: Statistical Analyses and Reductionist Strategies

Sahotra Sarkar
PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association
Vol. 1990, Volume One: Contributed Papers (1990), pp. 111-124
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/192697
Page Count: 14
  • Download PDF
  • Cite this Item

You are not currently logged in.

Access your personal account or get JSTOR access through your library or other institution:

login

Log in to your personal account or through your institution.

If you need an accessible version of this item please contact JSTOR User Support
On the Possibility of Directed Mutations in Bacteria: Statistical Analyses and Reductionist Strategies
Preview not available

Abstract

The ongoing controversy about the possibility of directed mutations in bacteria is examined for its methodological, and thereby philosophical, implications. The method of fluctuation analysis, widely used to investigate whether mutations are random or directed, is described and subjected to a conceptual critique which shows that it cannot decide whether some mutations are directed while most are random. In this context, recent experiments that exploit this possibility to suggest that directed mutations occur in bacteria are described. Interpretive and experimental responses to such claims are briefly analyzed. Finally it is argued that mere statistical analysis, such as fluctuation analysis, cannot resolve this dispute. What will probably be required is an investigation of mechanisms of mutagenesis, an investigation that is intrinsically reductive.

Page Thumbnails

  • Thumbnail: Page 
[111]
    [111]
  • Thumbnail: Page 
112
    112
  • Thumbnail: Page 
113
    113
  • Thumbnail: Page 
114
    114
  • Thumbnail: Page 
115
    115
  • Thumbnail: Page 
116
    116
  • Thumbnail: Page 
117
    117
  • Thumbnail: Page 
118
    118
  • Thumbnail: Page 
119
    119
  • Thumbnail: Page 
120
    120
  • Thumbnail: Page 
121
    121
  • Thumbnail: Page 
122
    122
  • Thumbnail: Page 
123
    123
  • Thumbnail: Page 
124
    124