Lessons from the Living Cell: The Limits of Reductionism

Lessons from the Living Cell: The Limits of Reductionism

Books / Hardcover

BooksScienceLife SciencesBiology

BooksScienceLife SciencesCell Biology

ISBN: 0071378200 / Publisher: Mcgraw-Hill, September 2001

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Reductionism is an extraordinarily fruitful scientific tradition that has been with us since the Greeks, when Democritus first proposed that all matter is made of unseen atoms. Its central belief is that a system can be understood when it is reduced to its most fundamental elements - its constituent parts. In an extreme form, however, this way of looking at nature loses a sense of the whole while arduously squinting at its smallest pieces.As we enter the Genomic Age, many molecular biologists are optimistic that one day we will be able to know "a protozoan or a peacock" through its DNA alone. In this book, experimental biologist Stephen Rothman asserts that such a way of understanding will never be possible, and that hope that it will be is misplaced. He maintains that to oversubscribe to reductionism is to misuse this venerable tradition, to heighten the danger of stifling new ideas and to impede progress. Read More
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