Andrew S. Reynolds, The Third Lens: Metaphor and the Creation of Modern Cell Biology (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2018), 272 pp., $30.00 Paper, ISBN: 9780226563121

  • Karl S. MatlinEmail author
Book Review

In twenty-first century biology, there is renewed interest in the cell, driven by a more detailed appreciation of the complexity of living systems and the realization that insights provided by DNA sequences are limited. Among historians and philosophers of biology, this new era has led to critical reevaluation of some of the premises of molecular biology and reexamination of the history of cell studies and the role of the cellular perspective in explaining biological phenomena. The Third Lens, by Andrew Reynolds, is a good example of these trends. The book, which is subtitled Metaphor and the Creation of Modern Cell Biology, is really two books in one. The first is an episodic history of cell biology that ranges from the origin of the cell theory in the 1830s to the contemporary development of synthetic biology, organized around the metaphors that characterized each period. The second is an ongoing discussion about the roles of metaphors in cell biology that is threaded through each...


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© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Committee on Conceptual and Historical Studies of ScienceThe University of ChicagoChicagoUSA

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