The Role of Reductionism in the Development of Molecular Biology: Peripheral or Central?

Fuerst J.A. (1982) The Role of Reductionism in the Development of Molecular Biology: Peripheral or Central?. Social Studies of Science, 12 2: 241-278. doi:10.1177/030631282012002003


Author Fuerst J.A.
Title The Role of Reductionism in the Development of Molecular Biology: Peripheral or Central?
Journal name Social Studies of Science   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1460-3659
Publication date 1982
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1177/030631282012002003
Volume 12
Issue 2
Start page 241
End page 278
Total pages 38
Subject 1202 Building
3300 Social Sciences
1207 History and Philosophy of Science
Abstract It has been claimed that `reductionism' (broadly understood as a belief in explanation of biological phenomena wholly in physical and chemical terms) has been only of peripheral significance to the development of molecular biology, and even that various forms of non- or anti-reductionism have been important in that development. To examine these claims, this paper investigates the problems of analytical approaches to reductionism and reviews the early scientific and institutional history of molecular biology with respect to the role of reductionist assumptions. It is argued that for complete historical and sociological understanding of the role of philosophical assumptions in molecular biology, reductionism must be considered as a belief system more complex than that implied by any one definition of `reduction' derived from philosophical analysis. It is concluded from the historical review that reductionism was of central significance to the development of molecular biology, since it was central to institutions financially supporting and promoting early molecular biology, and to all the heuristically significant scientific areas of the emerging molecular biological speciality.
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Unknown

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collection: Scopus Import
 
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 21 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 15 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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