Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences Journal Impact Factor & Information

Publisher: Elsevier

Journal description

In recent years Studies in History and Philosophy of Science has seen a remarkable increase in submissions of high calibre articles in the fields of the history, sociology, and philosophy of biological and biomedical sciences. Elsevier Science Ltd and the Editors are delighted to present a new journal in an exciting and rapidly expanding area of science studies.Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences is devoted to historical, sociological, philosophical and ethical aspects of the life and environmental sciences, of the sciences of mind and behaviour, and of the medical and biomedical sciences and technologies. The period covered is from the middle of the nineteenth century (the time of the so-called "laboratory revolution" in medicine and the life sciences) to the present.Our editorial policy follows that of the parent journal, Studies in History and Philosophy of Science: contributions are from a wide range of countries and cultural traditions; we encourage both specialist articles, and articles combining historical, philosophical, and sociological approaches; and we favour works of interest to scientists and medics as well as to specialists in the history, philosophy and sociology of the sciences.The Editors invite original contributions in the field of the new journal. All articles and volunteered essay-reviews will be blind refereed. Contributions and proposals should be sent to Dr Marina Frasca-Spada, Associate Editor, Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, Department of History and Philosophy of Science, University of Cambridge, Free School Lane, Cambridge CB2 3RH, UK, E-mail: mfs10@cam.ac.uk

Current impact factor: 0.00

Impact Factor Rankings

Additional details

5-year impact 0.00
Cited half-life 0.00
Immediacy index 0.00
Eigenfactor 0.00
Article influence 0.00
Website Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences website
Other titles Studies in history and philosophy of biological and biomedical sciences, Studies in history and philosophy of science
ISSN 1879-2499
OCLC 39204052
Material type Periodical, Internet resource
Document type Journal / Magazine / Newspaper, Internet Resource

Publisher details

Elsevier

  • Pre-print
    • Author can archive a pre-print version
  • Post-print
    • Author can archive a post-print version
  • Conditions
    • Pre-print allowed on any website or open access repository
    • Voluntary deposit by author of authors post-print allowed on authors' personal website, arXiv.org or institutions open scholarly website including Institutional Repository, without embargo, where there is not a policy or mandate
    • Deposit due to Funding Body, Institutional and Governmental policy or mandate only allowed where separate agreement between repository and the publisher exists.
    • Permitted deposit due to Funding Body, Institutional and Governmental policy or mandate, may be required to comply with embargo periods of 12 months to 48 months .
    • Set statement to accompany deposit
    • Published source must be acknowledged
    • Must link to journal home page or articles' DOI
    • Publisher's version/PDF cannot be used
    • Articles in some journals can be made Open Access on payment of additional charge
    • NIH Authors articles will be submitted to PubMed Central after 12 months
    • Publisher last contacted on 18/10/2013
  • Classification
    ​ green

Publications in this journal

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: In the 1960s, "developmental biology" became the dominant term to describe some of the research that had previously been included under the rubrics of embryology, growth, morphology, and physiology. As scientific societies formed under this new label, a new discipline took shape. Historians, however, have a number of different perspectives on what changes led to this new field of developmental biology and how the field itself was constituted during this period. Using the General Embryological Information Service, a global index of post-World War II development-related research, we have documented and visualized significant changes in the kinds of research that occurred as this new field formed. In particular, our analysis supports the claim that the transition toward developmental biology was marked by a growth in new topics and forms of research. Although many historians privilege the role of molecular biology and/or the molecularization of biology in general during this formative period, we have found that the influence of molecular biology is not sufficient to account for the wide range of new research that constituted developmental biology at the time. Overall, our work creates a robust characterization of the changes that occurred with regard to research on growth and development in the decades following World War II and provides a context for future work on the specific drivers of those changes. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
    Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 06/2015; 53:1-15. DOI:10.1016/j.shpsc.2015.04.004
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: This paper considers two objections to explanations that appeal to mechanisms to explain biological phenomena. Marom argues that the time-scale on which many phenomena occur is scale-free. There is also reason to suspect that the network of interacting entities is scale-free. The result is that mechanisms do not have well-delineated boundaries in nature. I argue that bounded mechanisms should be viewed as entities scientists posit in advancing scientific hypotheses. In positing such entities, scientists idealize. Such idealizations can be highly productive in developing and improving scientific explanations even if the hypothesized mechanisms never precisely correspond to bounded entities in nature. Mechanistic explanations can be reconciled with scale-free constitution and dynamics even if mechanisms as bounded entities don't exist. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
    Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 05/2015; DOI:10.1016/j.shpsc.2015.03.006
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: In this paper, I respond to four common semantic and metaphysical objections that philosophers of race have launched at scholars who interpret recent human genetic clustering results in population genetics as evidence for biological racial realism. I call these objections 'the discreteness objection', 'the visibility objection', 'the very important objection', and 'the objectively real objection.' After motivating each objection, I show that each one stems from implausible philosophical assumptions about the relevant meaning of 'race' or the nature of biological racial realism. In order to be constructive, I end by offering some advice for how we can productively critique attempts to defend biological racial realism based on recent human genetic clustering results. I also offer a clarification of the relevant human-population genetic research. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
    Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 05/2015; DOI:10.1016/j.shpsc.2015.04.003
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The phenomenon of biology provides a prime example for a naturally occurring complex system. The approach to this complexity reflects the tension between a reductionist, reverse-engineering stance, and more abstract, systemic ones. Both of us are reductionists, but our observations challenge reductionism, at least the naive version of it. Here we describe the challenge, focusing on two universal characteristics of biological complexity: two-way microscopic-macroscopic degeneracy, and lack of time scale separation within and between levels of organization. These two features and their consequences for the praxis of experimental biology, reflect inherent difficulties in separating the dynamics of any given level of organization from the coupled dynamics of all other levels, including the environment within which the system is embedded. Where these difficulties are not deeply acknowledged, the impacts of fallacies that are inherent to naive reductionism are significant. In an era where technology enables experimental high-resolution access to numerous observables, the challenge faced by the mature reductionist-identification of relevant microscopic variables-becomes more demanding than ever. The demonstrations provided here are taken from two very different biological realizations: populations of microorganisms and populations of neurons, thus making the lesson potentially general. Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier Ltd.
    Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 04/2015; DOI:10.1016/j.shpsc.2015.03.007
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Philosophers of biology disagree about an adequate explication of the concept of function. Instead of perpetuating the debate on the level of in principle-arguments, this paper aims first at reconstructing functional talk in the biological research papers of Marom and Braun, which focus on two different kinds of evolving networks, and in discussing the ontological consequences which the authors draw from their results. Marom investigates evolving neural networks controlling Braitenberg vehicles. Braun observes the evolutionary rearrangement or "rewiring" of the genetic network of genetically modified yeast on a short time scale. In both cases, the parameters under investigation are defined in functional terms. However, both authors report striking differences in the structures that realize one and the same function, as well as striking differences in the function of identical structures. From this, they construct an argument against reductionism. The second aim of my paper is an inquiry into the epistemic legitimacy of this conclusion. This requires addressing critically several concepts on which Marom and Braun's argument is built. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
    Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 04/2015; DOI:10.1016/j.shpsc.2015.03.009
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: This article surveys the European discovery and early ideas about orangutans followed by the contrasting experiences with these animals of the co-founders of evolution by natural selection, Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace. The first non-human great ape that both of them interacted with was the orangutan. They were both profoundly influenced by what they saw, but the contexts of their observations could hardly be more different. Darwin met orangutans in the Zoological Gardens in London while Wallace saw them in the wild in Borneo. In different ways these observations helped shape their views of human evolution and humanity's place in nature. Their findings played a major role in shaping some of the key questions that were pursued in human evolutionary studies during the rest of the nineteenth century. Copyright © 2015 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.. All rights reserved.
    Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 04/2015; 21. DOI:10.1016/j.shpsc.2015.02.006
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Our goal in this paper is to articulate a precise concept of at least a certain kind of disease-mongering, showing how pharmaceutical marketing can commercially exploit certain diseases when their best definition is given through the success of a treatment in a clinical trial. We distinguish two types of disease-mongering according to the way they exploit the definition of the trial population for marketing purposes. We argue that behind these two forms of disease-mongering there are two well-known problems in the statistical methodology of clinical trials (the reference class problem and the distinction between statistical and clinical significance). Overcoming them is far from simple. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
    Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 04/2015; 51:11-18. DOI:10.1016/j.shpsc.2015.02.007
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The latest edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the D.S.M.-5, was published in May 2013. In the lead up to publication, radical changes to the classification were anticipated; there was widespread dissatisfaction with the previous edition and it was accepted that a "paradigm shift" might be required. In the end, however, and despite huge efforts at revision, the published D.S.M.-5 differs far less than originally envisaged from its predecessor. This paper considers why it is that revising the D.S.M. has become so difficult. The D.S.M. is such an important classification that this question is worth asking in its own right. The case of the D.S.M. can also serve as a study for considering stasis in classification more broadly; why and how can classifications become resistant to change? I suggest that classifications like the D.S.M. can be thought of as forming part of the infrastructure of science, and have much in common with material infrastructure. In particular, as with material technologies, it is possible for "path dependent" development to cause a sub-optimal classification to become "locked in" and hard to replace. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
    Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 03/2015; 51:1-10. DOI:10.1016/j.shpsc.2015.03.001
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: A considerable number of studies in epidemiology and biomedicine investigate the etiology of complex diseases by considering (self-identified) race as a relevant variable and focusing on the differences in risk among racial groups in the United States; they extensively draw on a genetic hypothesis-viz. the hypothesis that differences in the risk of complex diseases among racial groups are largely due to genetic differences covarying with genetic ancestry-that appears highly problematic in the light of both current biological evidence and the theory of human genome evolution. Is this reason for dismissing self-identified races? No. An alternative promising use of self-identified races exists, and ironically is suggested by those studies that investigate the etiology of complex diseases without focusing on racial differences. These studies provide a large amount of empirical evidence supporting the primacy of the contribution of non-genetic as opposed to genetic factors to the risk of complex diseases. We show that differences in race-or, better, in racial self-identification-may be critically used as proxies for differences in risk-related exposomes and epigenomes in the context of the United States. Self-identified race is what we need to capture the complexity of the effects of present and past racism on people's health and investigate risk-related external and internal exposures, gene-environment interactions, and epigenetic events. In fact patterns of racial self-identifications on one side, and patterns of risk-related exposomes and epigenomes on the other side, constantly coevolve and tend to match each other. However, there is no guarantee that using self-identified races in epidemiology and biomedical research will be beneficial all things considered: special attention must be paid at balancing positive and negative consequences. Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier Ltd.
    Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 03/2015; DOI:10.1016/j.shpsc.2015.02.004
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Marjorie Grene (1910-2009) and David Hull (1935-2010) were among the most influential voices in late twentieth-century philosophy of biology. But, as Grene and Hull pointed out in published discussions of one another's work over the course of nearly forty years, they disagreed strongly on fundamental issues. Among these contested issues is the role of what is sometimes called "typology" and "typological thinking" in biology. In regard to taxonomy and the species problem, Hull joined Ernst Mayr's construal of typological thinking as a backward relic of pre-Darwinian science that should be overcome. Grene, however, treated the suspicion of typological thinking that characterized Hull's views, as well as those of other architects of the New Evolutionary Synthesis, as itself suspicious and even unsustainable. In this paper I review three debates between Grene and Hull bearing on the question of the validity of so-called typological thinking in biology: (1) a debate about the dispensability of concepts of "type" within evolutionary theory, paleontology, and taxonomy; (2) a debate about whether species can be adequately understood as individuals, and thereby independently of those forms of thinking Hull and Mayr had construed as "typological"; and (3) a debate about the prospects of a biologically informed theory of human nature. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
    Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 03/2015; 50:13-25. DOI:10.1016/j.shpsc.2015.01.015
  • Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 01/2015; 49. DOI:10.1016/j.shpsc.2014.12.002
  • Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 12/2014; 49. DOI:10.1016/j.shpsc.2014.11.001
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The Aschheim–Zondek reaction is generally regarded as the first reliable hormone test for pregnancy and as a major product of the ‘heroic age’ of reproductive endocrinology. Invented in Berlin in the late 1920s, by the mid 1930s a diagnostic laboratory in Edinburgh was performing thousands of tests every year for doctors around Britain. In her classic history of antenatal care, sociologist Ann Oakley claimed that the Aschheim–Zondek test launched a ‘modern era’ of obstetric knowledge, which asserted its superiority over that of pregnant women. This article reconsiders Oakley’s claim by examining how pregnancy testing worked in practice. It explains the British adoption of the test in terms less of the medicalisation of pregnancy than of clinicians’ increasing general reliance on laboratory services for differential diagnosis. Crucially, the Aschheim–Zondek reaction was a test not directly for the fetus, but for placental tissue. It was used, less as a yes-or-no test for ordinary pregnancy, than as a versatile diagnostic tool for the early detection of malignant tumours and hormonal deficiencies believed to cause miscarriage. This test was as much a product of oncology and the little-explored world of laboratory services as of reproductive medicine.
    Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 09/2014; 47. DOI:10.1016/j.shpsc.2013.12.002
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Through their ability to reveal and record abnormal chromosomes, whether inherited or accidentally altered, chromosomal studies, known as karyotyping, became the basis upon which medical genetics was constructed. The techniques involved became the visual evidence that confirmed a medical examination and were configured as a material culture for redefining health and disease, or the normal and the abnormal, in cytological terms. I will show that the study of foetal cells obtained by amniocentesis led to the stabilisation of karyotyping in its own right, while also keeping pregnant women under the vigilant medical eye. In the absence of any other examination, prenatal diagnosis by foetal karyotyping became autonomous from the foetal body. Although medical cytogenetics was practiced on an individual basis, data collected about patients over time contributed to the construction of population figures regarding birth defects. I study this complex trajectory by focussing on a Unit for Cytogenetics created in 1962 at the Clínica de la Concepción in Madrid. I incorporate the work and training of the clinicians who created the unit, and worked there as well as at other units in the large new hospitals of the national health care system built in Madrid during the mid-1960s and early 1970s.
    Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 09/2014; 47(A):142-157. DOI:10.1016/j.shpsc.2014.05.014
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Using the conceptual tools of philosopher of science Ludwik Fleck, I argue that the reframing of autism as a neurodevelopmental spectrum disorder is constrained by two governing 'styles of thought' of contemporary psychiatry. The first is the historically conditioned 'readiness for directed perception' of, and thinking in terms of, ontologically distinct diseases. The clinical gaze of mental health professionals, the bureaucratic needs of health administration, the clinical and scientific utility of disease categories, and the practices of autism-oriented advocacy groups all imply a bias toward thinking about autism and related disorders as ontologically distinct psychiatric and scientific entities. Second, within the 'neuromolecular style of thought', mental disorders are more and more located at the neurobiological levels of the brain. In autism research, one of the biggest challenges is the identification of autism's neurobiological singularity. However, at a moment when biological and categorical approaches toward autism face serious empirical difficulties, a balance is established that holds together these two styles of thought. With a need to account for some of the most persistent uncertainties and conflicts in autism research, namely ubiquitous heterogeneity and a failure to identify disease specific biomarkers, the reframing of autism as a neurodevelopmental spectrum disorder satisfies the scientific, institutional and socio-political needs for stability and homogenization.
    Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 05/2014; 46C:65-78. DOI:10.1016/j.shpsc.2014.04.002
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: For more than a century, geneticists have consistently identified the origins of their science with Gregor Mendel's experiments on peas. Mendelism, they have said, demonstrated at long last that biological inheritance was not, as had so often been supposed, "blending," but particulate. Many historians of biology continue to interpret the conflict of biometricians and Mendelians at the start of the twentieth century in these terms, identifying biometry with the (incorrect) blending mechanism. But this view of blending is history as war by other means. While Francis Galton's contrast between blended and alternate inheritance had become familiar by 1905, he and his interpreters understood the two forms as differing outcomes of breeding, not as rival theories. Only a few biologists in this period went beyond blending as a description of results of breeding to a blending mechanism, and these were not biometricians. Recognizing this, we can see also that statistical methods and models were central to evolutionary genetics right from the start. The evolutionary synthesis, while reshaping their role, did not create it.
    Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 05/2014; DOI:10.1016/j.shpsc.2014.02.003