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History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences

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https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/28726213/how-mechanisms-explain-interfield-cooperation-biological-chemical-study-of-plant-growth-hormones-in-utrecht-and-pasadena-1930-1938
#1
Caterina Schürch
This article examines to what extent a particular case of cross-disciplinary research in the 1930s was structured by mechanistic reasoning. For this purpose, it identifies the interfield theories that allowed biologists and chemists to use each other's techniques and findings, and that provided the basis for the experiments performed to identify plant growth hormones and to learn more about their role in the mechanism of plant growth. In 1930, chemists and biologists in Utrecht and Pasadena began to cooperatively study plant growth...
September 2017: History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/28677044/ren%C3%A3-dubos-tuberculosis-and-the-ecological-facets-of-virulence
#2
Mark Honigsbaum
Reflecting on his scientific career toward the end of his life, the French-educated medical researcher René Dubos presented his flowering as an ecological thinker as a story of linear progression-the inevitable product of the intellectual seeds planted in his youth. But how much store should we set by Dubos's account of his ecological journey? Resisting retrospective biographical readings, this paper seeks to relate the development of Dubos's ecological ideas to his experimental practices and his career as a laboratory researcher...
September 2017: History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/28631189/marco-solinas-from-aristotle-s-teleology-to-darwin-s-genealogy-the-stamp-of-inutility-palgrave-macmillan-basingstoke-2015-200%C3%A2-pp-95-00-hardcover
#3
Bernardino Fantini
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
September 2017: History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/28612293/nowhere-to-run-rabbit-the-cold-war-calculus-of-disease-ecology
#4
Warwick Anderson
During the cold war, Frank Fenner (protégé of Macfarlane Burnet and René Dubos) and Francis Ratcliffe (associate of A. J. Nicholson and student of Charles Elton) studied mathematically the coevolution of host resistance and parasite virulence when myxomatosis was unleashed on Australia's rabbit population. Later, Robert May called Fenner the "real hero" of disease ecology for his mathematical modeling of the epidemic. While Ratcliffe came from a tradition of animal ecology, Fenner developed an ecological orientation in World War II through his work on malaria control (with Ratcliffe and Ian Mackerras, among others)-that is, through studies of tropical medicine...
June 2017: History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/28537008/diverging-views-of-epigenesis-the-wolff-blumenbach-debate
#5
Andrea Gambarotto
Johann Friedrich Blumenbach (1752-1840) is widely known as the father of German vitalism and his notion of Bildungstrieb, or nisus formativus, has been recognized as playing a key role in the debates about generation in German-speaking countries around 1800. On the other hand, Caspar Friedrich Wolff (1734-1794) was the first to employ a vitalist notion, namely that of vis essentialis, in the explanatory framework of epigenetic development. Is there a difference between Wolff's vis essentialis and Blumenbach's nisus formativus? How does this difference influence their overall understanding of the epigenetic process? The paper aims to provide an answer to these questions through the analysis of a little-known document, which contributes to shed light on a crucial chapter of the German life sciences in the late eighteenth-century, namely the decisive phase of the process that led to the formalization of biology as a unified field of inquiry at the beginning of the nineteenth century...
June 2017: History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/28523637/the-invention-of-artificial-fertilization-in-the-eighteenth-and-nineteenth-century
#6
Barbara Orland
Artificial insemination and other fertilization techniques are today considered central to the history of reproductive medicine. The medical treatment of infertile couples, however, constitutes just a small part of the whole story of artificial fertilization. Lazzaro Spallanzani (1729-1799) in particular, said to have been the inventor of artificial insemination, did not develop this method for medical purposes. He belonged to a generation of naturalists to whom artificial insemination was part of a heterogeneous series of investigations that were undertaken to explore the natural history of animal generation...
June 2017: History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/28523636/informing-materials-drugs-as-tools-for-exploring-cancer-mechanisms-and-pathways
#7
Etienne Vignola-Gagné, Peter Keating, Alberto Cambrosio
This paper builds on previous work that investigated anticancer drugs as 'informed materials', i.e., substances that undergo an informational enrichment that situates them in a dense relational web of qualifications and measurements generated by clinical experiments and clinical trials. The paper analyzes the recent transformation of anticancer drugs from 'informed' to 'informing material'. Briefly put: in the post-genomic era, anti-cancer drugs have become instruments for the production of new biological, pathological, and therapeutic insights into the underlying etiology and evolution of cancer...
June 2017: History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/28516427/the-organism-strikes-back-chlorella-algae-and-their-impact-on-photosynthesis-research-1920s-1960s
#8
Kärin Nickelsen
Historians and philosophers of twentieth-century life sciences have demonstrated that the choice of experimental organism can profoundly influence research fields, in ways that sometimes undermined the scientists' original intentions. The present paper aims to enrich and broaden the scope of this literature by analysing the career of unicellular green algae of the genus Chlorella. They were introduced for the study of photosynthesis in 1919 by the German cell physiologist Otto H. Warburg, and they became the favourite research objects in this field up to the 1960s...
June 2017: History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/28439821/epigenesis-and-the-rationality-of-nature-in-william-harvey-and-margaret-cavendish
#9
Benjamin Goldberg
The generation of animals was a difficult phenomenon to explain in the seventeenth century, having long been a problem in natural philosophy, theology, and medicine. In this paper, I explore how generation, understood as epigenesis, was directly related to an idea of rational nature. I examine epigenesis-the idea that the embryo was constructed part-by-part, over time-in the work of two seemingly dissimilar English philosophers: William Harvey, an eclectic Aristotelian, and Margaret Cavendish, a radical materialist...
June 2017: History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/28357814/before-hierarchy-the-rise-and-fall-of-stephen-jay-gould-s-first-macroevolutionary-synthesis
#10
Max W Dresow
Few of Stephen Jay Gould's accomplishments in evolutionary biology have received more attention than his hierarchical theory of evolution, which postulates a causal discontinuity between micro- and macroevolutionary events. But Gould's hierarchical theory was his second attempt to supply a theoretical framework for macroevolutionary studies-and one he did not inaugurate until the mid-1970s. In this paper, I examine Gould's first attempt: a proposed fusion of theoretical morphology, multivariate biometry and the experimental study of adaptation in fossils...
June 2017: History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/28321799/from-working-collections-to-the-world-germplasm-project-agricultural-modernization-and-genetic-conservation-at-the-rockefeller-foundation
#11
Helen Anne Curry
This paper charts the history of the Rockefeller Foundation's participation in the collection and long-term preservation of genetic diversity in crop plants from the 1940s through the 1970s. In the decades following the launch of its agricultural program in Mexico in 1943, the Rockefeller Foundation figured prominently in the creation of world collections of key economic crops. Through the efforts of its administrators and staff, the foundation subsequently parlayed this experience into a leadership role in international efforts to conserve so-called plant genetic resources...
June 2017: History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/28220399/leibniz-the-microscope-and-the-concept-of-preformation
#12
Alessandro Becchi
In recent years a certain emphasis has been put by some scholars on Leibniz's concern about empirical sciences and the relations between such concern and the development of his mature metaphysical system. In this paper I focus on Leibniz's interest for the microscope and the astonishing discoveries that such instrument made possible in the field of the life sciences during the last part of the Seventeenth century. The observation of physical bodies carried out by the "magnifying glasses" revealed a matter swarming everywhere with life and activity, contrary to the cartesian and atomistic view of matter as something sterile and passive...
March 2017: History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/28205138/kant-s-epigenesis-specificity-and-developmental-constraints
#13
Boris Demarest
In this paper, I argue that Kant adopted, throughout his career, a position that is much more akin to classical accounts of epigenesis, although he does reject the more radical forms of epigenesis proposed in his own time, and does make use of preformationist sounding terms. I argue that this is because Kant (1) thinks of what is pre-formed as a species, not an individual or a part of an individual; (2) has no qualm with the idea of a specific, teleological principle or force underlying generation, and conceives of germs and predispositions as specific constraints on such a principle or force...
March 2017: History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/28039574/the-organism-as-reality-or-as-fiction-buffon-and-beyond
#14
Boris Demarest, Charles T Wolfe
In this paper, we reflect on the connection between the notions of organism and organisation, with a specific interest in how this bears upon the issue of the reality of the organism (or in contrast the status of these notions as constructs, whether heuristic or otherwise scientifically useful). We do this by presenting the case of Buffon, who developed complex views about the relation between the notions of "organised" and "organic" matter. We argue that, contrary to what some interpreters have suggested, these notions are not orthogonal in his thought...
March 2017: History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/27943119/reconsidering-alternative-transportation-systems-to-reach-academic-conferences-and-to-convey-an-example-to-reduce-greenhouse-gas-emissions
#15
Mauro Fois, Alba Cuena-Lombraña, Trevor Fristoe, Giuseppe Fenu, Gianluigi Bacchetta
Scientists are typically responsible for greater greenhouse gas emissions than the general population. These 'extra' emissions are largely due to frequent travel, often by airplane, to professional and academic meetings. In the following commentary, we explore how employing mixed modes of transportation, particularly by prioritizing train travel, can significantly reduce the environmental costs associated with attending conferences. Estimating travel distances for attendants to recent meetings, we demonstrate that the proposed strategy has the potential to decrease emissions, even when considering exotic, remote (and potentially enticing) locations...
December 2016: History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/27910006/william-d-hamilton-s-brazilian-lectures-and-his-unpublished-model-regarding-wynne-edwards-s-idea-of-natural-selection-with-a-note-on-pluralism-and-different-philosophical-approaches-to-evolution
#16
Emanuele Coco
In 1975, the English evolutionist William Donald Hamilton (1936-2000) held in Brazil a series of lectures entitled "Population genetics and social behaviour". The unpublished notes of these conferences-written by Hamilton and recently discovered at the British Library-offer an opportunity to reflect on some of the author's ideas about evolution. The year of the conference is particularly significant, as it took place shortly after the applications of the Price equation with which Hamilton was able to build a model that included several levels of selection...
December 2016: History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/27885570/neo-darwinists-and-neo-aristotelians-how-to-talk-about-natural-purpose
#17
Peter Woodford
This paper examines the points of disagreement between Neo-Darwinian and recent Neo-Aristotelian discussions of the status of purposive language in biology. I discuss recent Neo-Darwinian "evolutionary" treatments and distinguish three ways to deal with the philosophical status of teleological language of purpose: teleological error theory, methodological teleology, and Darwinian teleological realism. I then show how "non-evolutionary" Neo-Aristotelian approaches in the work of Michael Thompson and Philippa Foot differ from these by offering a view of purposiveness grounded in life-cycle patterns, rather than in long-term evolutionary processes or natural selection...
December 2016: History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/27854053/epigenetics-ambiguities-and-implications
#18
Karola Stotz, Paul Griffiths
Everyone has heard of 'epigenetics', but the term means different things to different researchers. Four important contemporary meanings are outlined in this paper. Epigenetics in its various senses has implications for development, heredity, and evolution, and also for medicine. Concerning development, it cements the vision of a reactive genome strongly coupled to its environment. Concerning heredity, both narrowly epigenetic and broader 'exogenetic' systems of inheritance play important roles in the construction of phenotypes...
December 2016: History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/27854052/laws-of-organization-and-chemical-analysis-blainville-and-m%C3%A3-ller
#19
François Duchesneau
When "general physiology" emerged as a basic field of research within biology in the early nineteenth century, Henri Ducrotay de Blainville (1777-1850) on the one hand and Johannes Peter Müller (1801-1858) on the other appealed to chemical analysis to account for the properties and operations of organisms that were observed to differ from what was found in inorganic compounds. Their aim was to establish laws of vital organization that would be based on organic chemical processes, but would also be of use to explain morphological and functional differences among life forms...
December 2016: History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/27854051/denise-phillips-and-sharon-kingsland-eds-new-perspectives-on-the-history-of-life-sciences-and-agriculture-springer-international-publishing-2015-vii%C3%A2-%C3%A2-509%C3%A2-pp-%C3%A2-181-89-hardcover
#20
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