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Why the Anti-Reductionist Consensus Won't Survive: The Case of Classical Mendelian Genetics

C. Kenneth Waters
PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association
Vol. 1990, Volume One: Contributed Papers (1990), pp. 125-139
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/192698
Page Count: 15
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Why the Anti-Reductionist Consensus Won't Survive: The Case of Classical Mendelian Genetics
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Abstract

Philosophers now treat the relationship between classical genetics and molecular biology as a paradigm of nonreduction and this example is playing an increasingly prominent role in debates about the reducibility of theories in other sciences. This paper shows that the anti-reductionist consensus about genetics will not withstand serious scrutiny. In addition to defusing the main anti-reductionist objections, this critical analysis uncovers tell-tale signs of a significant reduction in progress. It also identifies philosophical issues relevant to gaining a better understanding of what is now happening in genetics and of what we might expect to happen in other sciences.

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