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"Incidence, Essence, and Developmental Systems: Biologos in Action", a lecture by Susan Oyama (John Jay College, CUNY)

Date: 04/03/13
Time: 4:00 pm
Audience: Public
Sponsored By: Provost's Special Event Funding, CAS, Psychology Department, Philosophy Department
Location: LC 108
Contact: Giordana Grossi, x2674,
Web Site:

Biologos, the language of languageĀ (information, transcription, translation, etc.) that dominates contemporary gene-talk, is problematic in several ways. Among other things, it supports covert forms of preformationism and essentialism, even though both are supposed to have been banished from biology. By implying that the DNA contains representations of the organism, Biologos works against attempts to deal effectively with nature-nurture contrasts, as well as ongoing attempts to synthesize development with evolution. I argue that the concept of the developmental system offers a fruitful alternative to this complex of deeply traditional habits of thought.