Behaving: What's Genetic, What's Not, and Why Should We Care?

Behaving: What's Genetic, What's Not, and Why Should We Care?

by Kenneth F. Schaffner


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Behaving: What's Genetic, What's Not, and Why Should We Care? by Kenneth F. Schaffner

Behaving presents an overview of the recent history and methodology of behavioral genetics and psychiatric genetics, informed by a philosophical perspective. Kenneth F. Schaffner addresses a wide range of issues, including genetic reductionism and determinism, "free will," and quantitative and molecular genetics. The latter covers newer genome-wide association studies (GWAS) that have produced a paradigm shift in the subject, and generated the problem of "missing heritability." Schaffner also presents cases involving pro and con arguments for genetic testing for IQ and for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

Schaffner examines the nature-nurture controversy and Developmental Systems Theory using C. elegans or "worm" studies as a test case, concluding that genes are special and provide powerful tools, including "deep homology," for investigating behavior. He offers a novel account of biological knowledge emphasizing the importance of models, mechanisms, pathways, and networks, which clarifies how partial reductions provide explanations of traits and disorders.

The book also includes examinations of personality genetics and of schizophrenia and its etiology, alongside interviews with prominent researchers in the area, and discusses debates about psychosis that led to changes in the DSM-5 in 2013.

Schaffner concludes by discussing additional philosophical implications of the genetic analyses in the book, some major worries about "free will," and arguments pro and con about why genes and DNA are so special. Though genes are special, newer perspectives presented in this book will be needed for progress in behavioral genetics- perspectives that situate genes in complex multilevel prototypic pathways and networks. With a mix of optimism and pessimism about the state of the field and the subject, Schaffner's book will be of interest to scholars in the history and philosophy of science, medicine, and psychiatry.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780195171402
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publication date: 05/02/2016
Pages: 304
Product dimensions: 6.40(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Kenneth F. Schaffner (Ph.D., Columbia, 1967; M.D., University of Pittsburgh, 1986) is Distinguished University Professor of History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Pittsburgh. His research on the foundations and methodology of behavioral and psychiatric genetics has been supported by the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, and the Guggenheim Foundation.

Table of Contents

List of Figures and Tables
Preface and Acknowledgements

1. Behaving: Its Nature and Nurture (Part 1)
2. Behaving: Its Nature and Nurture (Part 2)
3. Genes, Behavior, and the Developmentalist Challenge: One Process, Indivisible?
4. What's a Worm Got to Do with It? - Model Organisms and Deep Homology
5. Reduction: The Cheshire Cat Problem and a Return to Roots
6. Human Behavioral Genetics: Personality Studies, Depression, Gene-Environment Interplay, and the Revolutionary Results of GWAS
7. Schizophrenia Genetics: Experimental and Theoretical Approaches
8. What's Genetic, What's Not, and Why Should We Care?
9. Summary and Conclusion


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