, Volume 21, Issue 2, pp 507-508
Date: 06 Dec 2011

Michel Morange: La vie, l’évolution et l’histoire

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The biologist and historian of science Michel Morange is internationally renown for his History of Molecular Biology (1998 [1994]), which has been translated into several languages, as well as for numerous articles on the history and epistemology of the twentieth century life sciences. His new book La vie, l’évolution et l’histoire, the title of which could be considered as a wink to a book by historian of medicine Mirko Grmek, highlights still another facet of the complex relations between history and science, now focusing on the notion of time itself, and in that respect on historicity in (and of) today’s life sciences.

Drawing on numerous examples from evo-devo, synthetic biology and evolutionary medicine, Morange revisits Ernst Mayr’s now-classic distinction between evolutionary and functional biology, the latter being often conceived of as rather a-temporal. 150 years after the publication of On the Origin of Species, Morange argues that today’s life sciences are still deeply disun ...