Above the Gene, Beyond Biology: Toward a Philosophy of Epigenetics

Above the Gene, Beyond Biology: Toward a Philosophy of Epigenetics

by Jan Baedke


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Epigenetics is currently one of the fastest-growing fields in the sciences. Epigenetic information not only controls DNA expression but links genetic factors with the environmental experiences that influence the traits and characteristics of an individual. What we eat, where we work, and how we live affects not only the activity of our genes but that of our offspring as well. This discovery has imposed a revolutionary theoretical shift on modern biology, especially on evolutionary theory. It has helped to uncover the developmental processes leading to cancer, obesity, schizophrenia, alcoholism, and aging, and to facilitate associated medial applications such as stem cell therapy and cloning.

Above the Gene, Beyond Biology explores how biologists in this booming field investigate and explain living systems. Jan Baedke offers the first comprehensive philosophical discussion of epigenetic concepts, explanations, and methodologies so that we can better understand this “epigenetic turn” in the life sciences from a philosophical perspective.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780822945215
Publisher: University of Pittsburgh Press
Publication date: 05/29/2018
Edition description: 1
Pages: 296
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Jan Baedke is assistant professor in the Department of Philosophy I, Ruhr University Bochum, Germany.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xi

Introduction. What Is Epigenetics? 1

1 How Epigenetics Deals With Biological Complexity 13

2 Challenges Of Epigenetics In Light Of The Extended Evolutionary Synthesis 41

3 Causal Explanation 90

4 Mechanistic Explanation 129

5 Assessing The Explanatory Power of Epigenetics 168

Conclusion. A Philosophy of Epigenetics 201

Notes 217

References 245

Index 301

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