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May 2001


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Chris Young <[log in to unmask]>
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Intl Soc for the Hist Phil and Soc St of Biol <[log in to unmask]>
Tue, 29 May 2001 08:41:10 -0500
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'Organism' - Historical and Philosophical Issues

Guest editorial by: Mathias Gutmann, Eva M. Neumann-Held (both: 
Universitaet Marburg, Institut fuer Philosophie, Germany) and Christoph 
Rehmann-Sutter (Institut fr Geschichte und Epistemologie der Medizin, 
Universitaet Basel, Switzerland) 
email contact: [log in to unmask]; 
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We hereby like to announce the publication of a special issue of _Theory 
in Biosciences_ (TIB, Urban & Fischer Verlag, ISSB 1431-7613) (Volume 
119, 3-4, 2000) on the topic "Organism - Historical and Philosophical 
Issues". This issue comprises seven articles, which explore historical, 
theoretical, methodological and ethical aspects of the significance of 
"the organism" for biological theories.
The collection of the presented papers goes back to an open workshop at 
the last meeting of the ISHPSSB society at Oaxaca, Mexico (July 7 - 11, 
1999). The idea for the workshop - and later for the publication of the 
presentations in TIB - was born on grounds of the increasing awareness 
that New Synthesis Darwinism is not sufficient to provide an 
all-covering theoretical framework for the whole of "modern biology". In 
contrast to Darwinism, developmental biology has traditionally demanded 
to focus on an *organism-centered foundation* of biology.
However, it remains an open question whether there the emphasis on the 
organism is due to specific aspects of the objects of research of 
developmental biology - and thereby systematically contingent -, or 
whether the focus on the organism points to general theoretical 
requirements or even to its ontological reality. It seems obvious, for 
example, that for the aim of developmental research the organism is a 
necessary prerequisite. On the other hand, it is not clear whether the 
same is true for other biological disciplines. Molecular biological 
disciplines seem not to require any specific consideration of "the 
organism" for their work (although they might need more comprehensive 
frameworks than only a focus on biochemical or cell levels can supply). 
In their approaches the organism is nothing but a phenotypic by-product 
of molecular interactions.

Robert Perlman: "The Concept of the organism in Physiology"
Linda Van Speybroeck: "The Organism: A Crucial Genomic Context in 
Molecular Epigenetics?"
Kepa Ruiz-Mirazo, Arantza Etxeberria, Alvaro Moreno and Jess Ibez: 
"Organisms and their Place in Biology" 
Charbel Nio E.-Hani and Claus Emmeche: "On some Theoretical Grounds for 
an Organism-Centered Biology".
Mathias Gutmann and Eva M. Neumann-Held: "The Theory of Organism and the 
Culturalist Foundation of Biology".
Fernando Moya: "Epistemology of Living Organisms in Aristotele's 
Christoph Rehmann-Sutter: "Biological Organisms and the Ethics of the 
Human-Nature Relationship".

The publishers of _Theory in Biosciences_ welcome explicitly any further 
discussions, critical comments  and articles on the topics, which are 
planned to be published in one of the forthcoming issues.  All articles 
have to undergo standard review procedures and should be written in 
English. For further information, see: