An Account of reductionism in biology; practices of molecular biology as instruments

2016
Altınok, Ozan Altan
This work primarily aims to clarify the subject of reduction and reductionism especially in the domain of reduction of classical biology to molecular biology. As a part of a larger project that tries to understand sciences as a manifold of practices. Reduction in science has been one of the most fundamental subjects in philosophy of science. This work brings a novel approach to reduction from a non-idealist perspective. The previous discussions on reduction has been debated under theory reduction, while this work tries to give account of reduction in science retaining a pragmatic posture that is centered around practices of science but not theories. Focusing philosophy of science on real scientific practices rather than solely theories is stance I share with Ian Hacking. Through this investigation, this work outlines the basic features of classical biology and molecular biology in general, and tries to point out the difficulties that the traditional, idealistic reductionist account creates, accusing them of being unable to account for real scientific progress in the sciences of biology and molecular biology. While doing that, this work also tries to sketch the metaphysical backgrounds of reductionist programmes, finally putting them in their proper places in scientific inquiries.