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Philosophy of Science
The applicability of Nagel's concept of theory reduction, and related concepts of reduction, to the reduction of genetics to molecular biology is examined using the lactose operon in Escherichia coli as an example. Geneticists have produced the complete nucleotide sequence of two of the genes which compose this operon. If any example of reduction in genetics should fit Nagel's analysis, the lactose operon should. Nevertheless, Nagel's formal conditions of theory reduction are inapplicable in this case. Instead, it is argued that genetics has been partially reduced to molecular biology in the sense of token-token reduction.
Kimbrough, S. O. (1979). On the Reduction of Genetics to Molecular Biology. Philosophy of Science, 46 (3), 389-406. http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/288883
Date Posted: 27 November 2017
This document has been peer reviewed.