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How Practical Know-How Contextualizes Theoretical Knowledge: Exporting Causal Knowledge from Laboratory to Nature

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 January 2022

Abstract

Leading philosophical accounts presume that Thomas H. Morgan's transmission theory can be understood independently of experimental practices. Experimentation is taken to be relevant to confirming, rather than interpreting, the transmission theory. But the construction of Morgan's theory went hand in hand with the reconstruction of the chief experimental object, the model organism Drosophila melanogaster. This raises an important question: when a theory is constructed to account for phenomena in carefully controlled laboratory settings, what knowledge, if any, indicates the theory's relevance to phenomena outside highly controlled settings? The answer, I argue, is found within the procedural knowledge embedded within laboratory practice.

Type
Research Article
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Copyright © The Philosophy of Science Association

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Footnotes

I would like to thank the audience at the 2006 meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association for helpful comments.

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