Towards a Useful Philosophy of Biochemistry: Sketches and Examples
- Cite this article as:
- Strand, R. Foundations of Chemistry (1999) 1: 269. doi:10.1023/A:1009994005739
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Scientific development influences philosophical thought, and vice versa. If philosophy is to be of any use to the production, evaluation or application of biochemical knowledge, biochemistry will have to explicate its needs. This paper concentrates on the need for a philosophical analysis of methodological challenges in biochemistry, above all the problematic relation between in vitro experiments and the desire for in vivo knowledge. This problem receives much attention within biochemistry, but the focus is on practical detail. It is discussed how a theoretical analysis can go beyond a naïve understanding of scientific success and failure in such cases. Several examples are presented to elucidate this issue, including the methodological implications of the precautionary principle, the possible interplay between theoretical methodology of biochemistry and the science studies, and the methodological complexities related to experimental protocol standardisation and use of instruments and kits.