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Archives of 2022 in english

  1. How should we think scientifically about biological objects?

    • M Montévil
    • en
    • Seminar of the History, Philosophy and Biology Teaching Lab
    • History, Philosophy and Biology Teaching Lab, Universidade Federal da Bahia

    Scholars used Aristotelian reasoning in combination with theology to understand living beings, leading to natural theology, where god was the guarantee of biological norms. Transformism, notably Darwin, provided an alternative to this view; however, this alternative had to be acknowledged by scientists…

  2. C2: Historicity, biological organizations and their disruptions

    In biology, despite the elements exposed in the previous session, the epistemology of physics remains pervasive. For example, mathematical models are typically designed and analyzed like in physics, from population genetic to biological morphogenesis. Then, we should rethink theorizing in biology to…

  3. C1: What is this animal? How the past does (and does not) define the present in biology

    In biology, the question of origins often refers to the origin of life; however, it is far broader and, in a sense, has far more pervasive ramifications. All organisms carry differences and can be the beginning of a new lineage. This perspective is central to the phylogenetic classification of living…

  4. Conceptual and Theoretical Specifications for Accuracy in Medicine

    Conceptual and Theoretical Specifications for Accuracy in Medicine

    Personalized Medicine in the Making: Philosophical Perspectives from Biology to Healthcare

    We question some aspects of medicine from the perspective of theoretical biology, on the one hand, and the technological and social dimension of health and disease on the other hand.


    Technological developments in genomics and other -omics originated the idea that precise measurements would lead to better therapeutic strategies. However, precision does not entail accuracy. Scientific accuracy requires a theoretical framework to understand the meaning of measurements, the nature of causal relationships, and potential intrinsic limitations of knowledge. For example, a precise measurement of initial positions in classical mechanics is useless without initial velocities; it is not an accurate measurement of the initial condition. Conceptual and theoretical accuracy is required for precision to lead to the progress of knowledge and rationality in action. In the search for accuracy in medicine, we first outline our results on a theory of organisms. Biology is distinct from physics and requires a specific epistemology. In particular, we develop the meaning of biological measurements and emphasize that variability and historicity are fundamental notions. However, medicine is not just biology; we articulate the historicity of biological norms that stems from evolution and the idea that patients and groups of patients generate new norms to overcome pathological situations. Patients then play an active role, in line with the philosophy of Georges Canguilhem. We argue that taking this dimension of medicine into account is critical for theoretical accuracy.

    Keywords: Normativity, Organization, Personalized Medicine, Technology, theoretical biology

    Montévil, Maël. 2022. “Conceptual and Theoretical Specifications for Accuracy in Medicine.” In Personalized Medicine in the Making: Philosophical Perspectives from Biology to Healthcare, edited by Chiara Beneduce and Marta Bertolaso, 47–62. Human Perspectives in Health Sciences et Technology. Springer International Publishing. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-74804-3_3
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