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The Concept of Function in Molecular Biology

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A Theoretical Framework and a Case Study

di Miguel Ramon Fuentes

Analecta Gregoriana 326

2016, pp. 432

The question that probably emerges when the title of this work is read is if it is possible to establish any relation between philosophy and a scientific discipline such as molecular biology.

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A Theoretical Framework and a Case Study

di Miguel Ramon Fuentes

Analecta Gregoriana 326

2016, pp. 432

The common opinion, shared even by many renowned biologists and philosophers, is that each of these disciplines has go its own without taking into account the results of the other. However, the relation between science and philosophy is nowadays one of the most challenging topics, where philosophers and biologists meet and each other to better understand what life is and how it works.
Philosophical concepts such as information, causality, semiotics and function can be seen as instruments for a philosophical approach to biological topics. The aim of this work is to see if, studying a biological example in depth, there are elements that fit with the informational paradigm that is proposed as a philosophical framework. Biology has been considered as a discipline in which objects can be reduced to the laws of physics and chemistry. A different approach can be seen in this work. The philosophy of Charles Sanders Peirce can help us to see biological systems as informational systems, where molecules are more than their chemical structure, indeed, the cell can deal with them from a semiotic point of view; that is, treating them as signs that stand for other molecules or processes, allowing the system to canalize all this information to its own benefit.

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