Titel: Making Sense of Life: Explaining Biological Development with Models, Metaphors, and Machines
Autor/en: Evelyn Fox Keller
HARVARD UNIV PR
Oktober 2003 - kartoniert - 388 Seiten
What do biologists want? If, unlike their counterparts in physics, biologists are generally wary of a grand, overarching theory, at what kinds of explanation do biologists aim? How will we know when we have "made sense" of life? Such questions, Evelyn Fox Keller suggests, have no simple answers. Explanations in the biological sciences are typically provisional and partial, judged by criteria as heterogeneous as their subject matter. It is Keller's aim in this bold and challenging book to account for this epistemological diversity--particularly in the discipline of developmental biology.
Preface Introduction PART ONE Models: Explaining Development without the Help of Genes 1. Synthetic Biology and the Origin of Living Form 2. Morphology as a Science of Mechanical Forces 3. Untimely Births of a Mathematical Biology PART TWO Metaphors: Genes and Developmental Narratives 4. Genes, Gene Action, and Genetic Programs 5. Taming the Cybernetic Metaphor 6. Positioning Positional Information PART THREE Machines: Understanding Development with Computers, Recombinant DNA, and Molecular Imaging 7. The Visual Culture of Molecular Embryology 8. New Roles for Mathematical and Computational Modeling 9. Synthetic Biology Redux-Computer Simulation and Artificial Life Conclusion: Understanding Development Notes References Index
Evelyn Fox Keller is Professor of History and Philosophy of Science at MIT. She is the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship and numerous honorary degrees.
Making Sense of Life is about the importance of recognizing [the] tight connection between the use of language in the social domain and how it produces biological "understanding"...The central arguments of Making Sense of Life are made with grace and authority. Those who are unsettled by them, and who wish to take issue with Keller, could not ask for a more accomplished and eloquent adversary. -- Lisa Jardine New Scientist 20020510 Keller writes beautifully, explains exquisitely, does a really good job of showing how today's four-dimensional color gene-product-marked embryo pictures, available to all on the Web, have answered most of the old questions...and how they have generated a whole new set: about artificial life, about complex systems and emergence, about what we want to understand development for...I hope she finds a new generation of biology students, as well as historians, who'll appreciate her subtle thinking; this book makes sense of embryology at last. -- Jack Cohen Biologist 20021201 Evelyn Fox Keller, once a mathematical physicist but now primarily a historian of biology, has analyzed the varied attempts of 20th-century biologists to provide an explanation for the nature and origin of life...Keller's achievement is to historicize 20th-century biological concepts, so that we can begin to see that they are not inevitable, springing directly from a realization of "how nature is", but rather are culturally located, and shaped by complex social forces. -- Steven Rose Lancet 20030208