Tuesday, 7 December 2010
Representing the Theory of Classical Genetics with Special Attention to Causation
Visiting Fellow (CPS)
Ghent University, Centre for Logic and Philosophy of Science
12:05 pm, 817R Cathedral of Learning
Abstract: What is the theory of classical genetics and how should we represent it? Answers to these questions have been given by Darden (1991), Balzer & Lorenzano (2000) and Kitcher (1989). Interesting though these answers are, they share one important shortcoming: the concept of causation plays no role of importance (‘causation’ is either absent or epiphenomenal).
I will propose a new account in which ‘causation’ is fruitfully ingrained. First, I will briefly substantiate the need for taking causation into account in a reconstruction of classical genetics. Second, I will represent classical genetics by means of interrelated sets of causal Bayes nets. To that end, I will start from T.H. Morgan’s Theory of the Gene (1926/1928) and draw partly upon the accounts mentioned above. In the third part, I will glance through some advantages of the proposed account. I will focus on exemplars, the logical structure of classical genetics, unification and explanation, pragmatic laws, and experiments.