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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

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Notes

  1. 1.

    See Weinberg (1985): “invisible, submicroscopic agents … can explain, at one essential level, the complexity of life”.

  2. 2.

    It must be however remarked that the discovery of TSG, shocking as it initially was, didn’t actually but confirm the original insight by Boveri, as remarked by H. Harris (see Boveri 2008, with Harris’ introduction; Coffman 2006). In the same paper, Boveri raises an interesting concern: “My own view is that the assumption that there is a specific inhibitory apparatus is less probable than the idea that the total chromosome complex of a tissue cell is so attuned to the influences of the rest of the body that, so long as there is no change in these influences, cell division is restrained. Cell division, it seems to me, takes place when a change in the environment has such an impact on the chromosome complex that it loses its customary equilibrium” (Boveri 2008). Boveri seems to have still much to say about a multilevel understanding of cancer’s causality, while his canonization as the pioneer of molecular-genetic reductionism in cancer research may have been the outcome of a too hasty “intertheoretical reduction” between the chromosome theory of heredity and molecular genetics.

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Correspondence to Silvia Caianiello.

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Caianiello, S. A Possible Role for Philosophy: Bridging the Conceptual Divide in Cancer Research. Acta Biotheor 66, 243–250 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10441-018-9326-y

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