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

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    • Author can archive a pre-print version
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    • 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
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Publications in this journal

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: There have been attempts to subsume Charles Darwin's theory of evolution under either one of two distinct intellectual traditions: early Victorian natural science and its descendants in political economy (as exemplified by Herschel, Lyell, or Malthus) and the romantic approach to art and science emanating from Germany (as exemplified by Humboldt and Goethe). In this paper, it will be shown how these traditions may have jointly contributed to the design of Darwin's theory. The hypothesis is that their encounter created a particular tension in the conception of his theory which first opened up its characteristic field and mode of explanation. On the one hand, the domain of the explanandum was conceived of under a holistic and aesthetic view of nature that, in its combination with refined techniques of observation, was deeply indebted to Humboldt in particular. On the other hand, Darwin fashioned explanations for natural phenomena, so conceived, in order to identify their proper causes in a Herschelian spirit. The particular interaction between these two traditions in Darwin, it is concluded, paved the way for a transfer of the idea of causal laws to animate nature while salvaging the romantic idea of a complex, teleological and harmonious order of 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 08/2015; 53:53-61. DOI:10.1016/j.shpsc.2015.07.003
  • Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 07/2015; DOI:10.1016/j.shpsc.2015.07.001
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    ABSTRACT: To be effective, a medical intervention must improve one's health by targeting a disease. The concept of disease, though, is controversial. Among the leading accounts of disease-naturalism, normativism, hybridism, and eliminativism-I defend a version of hybridism. A hybrid account of disease holds that for a state to be a disease that state must both (i) have a constitutive causal basis and (ii) cause harm. The dual requirement of hybridism entails that a medical intervention, to be deemed effective, must target either the constitutive causal basis of a disease or the harms caused by the disease (or ideally both). This provides a theoretical underpinning to the two principle aims of medical treatment: care and cure. 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 07/2015; DOI:10.1016/j.shpsc.2015.06.005
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    ABSTRACT: Measuring the effectiveness of medical interventions faces three epistemological challenges: the choice of good measuring instruments, the use of appropriate analytic measures, and the use of a reliable method of extrapolating measures from an experimental context to a more general context. In practice each of these challenges contributes to overestimating the effectiveness of medical interventions. These challenges suggest the need for corrective normative principles. The instruments employed in clinical research should measure patient-relevant and disease-specific parameters, and should not be sensitive to parameters that are only indirectly relevant. Effectiveness always should be measured and reported in absolute terms (using measures such as 'absolute risk reduction'), and only sometimes should effectiveness also be measured and reported in relative terms (using measures such as 'relative risk reduction')-employment of relative measures promotes an informal fallacy akin to the base-rate fallacy, which can be exploited to exaggerate claims of effectiveness. Finally, extrapolating from research settings to clinical settings should more rigorously take into account possible ways in which the intervention in question can fail to be effective in a target population. 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 07/2015; DOI:10.1016/j.shpsc.2015.06.003
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    ABSTRACT: The British biologist A.D. Darbishire (1879-1915) responded to the rediscovery in 1900 of Mendel's theory of heredity by testing it experimentally, first in Oxford, then in Manchester and London. He summarised his conclusions in a textbook 'Breeding and the Mendelian Discovery' (1911), in which he questioned whether Mendelism alone could explain all aspects of practical breeding experience. Already he had begun to think about an alternative theory to give greater emphasis to the widely held conviction among breeders regarding the inheritance of characteristics acquired during an individual's life. Redefining heredity in terms of a germ-plasm based biological memory, he used vocabulary drawn partly from sources outside conventional science, including the metaphysical/vitalistic writings of Samuel Butler and Henri Bergson. An evolving hereditary memory fitted well with the conception of breeding as a creative art aimed at greater economic efficiency. For evolution beyond human control he proposed a self-modifying process, claiming it to surpass in efficiency the chancy mechanism of natural selection proposed by Darwin. From his writings, including early chapters of an unfinished book entitled 'An Introduction to a Biology', we consider how he reached these concepts and how they relate to later advances in understanding the genome and the genetic programme. 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 07/2015; 53:16-39. DOI:10.1016/j.shpsc.2015.06.001
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    ABSTRACT: There is an ongoing "methodological revolution" in epidemiology, according to some commentators. The revolution is prompted by the development of a conceptual framework for thinking about causation here referred to as the Potential Outcomes Approach (POA), and the mathematical apparatus of directed acyclic graphs that accompanies it. But over and above the mathematics, a number of striking theses about causation are evident, for example: that a cause is something that makes a difference; that a cause is something that humans can intervene on; and that causal knowledge enables one to predict under hypothetical suppositions. This is especially remarkable in a discipline that has variously identified factors such as race and sex as determinants of health, since it has the consequence that factors of this kind cannot be treated as causes either as usefully or as meaningfully as was previously supposed. In this paper I seek to explain the significance of this movement in epidemiology, to understand its commitments, and to evaluate them. 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 07/2015; DOI:10.1016/j.shpsc.2015.06.004
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    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
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    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
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    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
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    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
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    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
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    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
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    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
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    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
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    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