Acta Biotheoretica

, Volume 66, Issue 3, pp 243–250 | Cite as

A Possible Role for Philosophy: Bridging the Conceptual Divide in Cancer Research

Marta Bertolaso: Philosophy of Cancer: A Dynamic and Relational View, Springer, Dordrecht, 2016, 190 pp, ISBN: 978-94-024-0863-8
  • Silvia CaianielloEmail author
Book Review

There is an impasse in cancer research. Even the moderate optimism which prompted the journal Science in 2006 to celebrate a “glass half-full”, based on the rational expectation that the rapid progress in the “molecular description” of cancer would boost up success in its treatment, has found no corroboration in the epidemiological data as captured 10 years later. In the 2016 National Health Statistics Report for the USA, cancer exhibits a depressingly dull straight line from 1958 to 2014, the most unvaried one compared to other pathologies—such as heart diseases, formerly the primary cause of death, and now contending with cancer for this sad primacy (NCHS 2017, p. 18). Robert Weinberg, a pioneer of the molecular genetics of cancer, has lately given voice to the frustration that, notwithstanding the identification of an increasing number of molecular players, we still “lack the conceptual paradigms and computational strategies for dealing with cancer’s endless complexity” (Weinberg 2014...


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Istituto per la Storia del Pensiero Filosofico e Scientifico Moderno, Consiglio Nazionale delle RicercheNaplesItaly

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