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Macromolecular Pluralism

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 January 2022

Abstract

Different chemical species are often cited as paradigm examples of structurally delimited natural kinds. While classificatory monism may thus seem plausible for simple molecules, it looks less attractive for complex biological macromolecules. I focus on the case of proteins that are most plausibly individuated by their functions. Is there a single, objective count of proteins? I argue that the vagaries of function individuation infect protein classification. We should be pluralists about macromolecular classification.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © The Philosophy of Science Association

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Footnotes

I am grateful for comments on early drafts of this article from audiences at the 2007 Northwest Philosophy Conference, the 2008 PSA biennial meeting, and the 2008 Eastern APA. I would particularly like to thank Moira Howes and William Goodwin (my commentators at the NPC and APA, respectively) and Hasok Chang, Robin Hendry, and Jonathan Tsou for comments and questions that improved this essay.

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