Biology and Philosophy

, Volume 12, Issue 4, pp 445–470

Reductionism Redux: Computing the Embryo

  • Alex Rosenberg


This paper argues that the consensus physicalist antireductionism in the philosophy of biology cannot accommodate the research strategy or indeed the recent findings of molecular developmental biology. After describing Wolpert‘s programmatic claims on its behalf, and recent work by Gehring and others to identify the molecular determinants of development, the paper attempts to identify the relationship between evolutionary and developmental biology by reconciling two apparently conflicting accounts of bio-function – Wright‘s and Nagel‘s (as elaborated by Cummins). Finally, the paper seeks a way of defending the two central theses of physicalist antireductionism in the light of the research program of molecular developmental biology, by sharply reducing their metaphysical force.

molecular development biology physicalist antireductionism homeo boxes explanation causation ontology 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alex Rosenberg
    • 1
  1. 1.Honors ProgramUniversity of GeorgiaAthensUSA

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