Operations, Information and Decisions Papers

Document Type

Journal Article

Date of this Version

9-1979

Publication Source

Philosophy of Science

Volume

46

Issue

3

Start Page

389

Last Page

406

DOI

10.1086/288883

Abstract

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.

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Date Posted: 27 November 2017

This document has been peer reviewed.