Title How Scientific Progress Occurs
Subtitle Incrementalism and the Life Sciences
Author Elof Axel Carlson
ISBN 9781621822974
List price USD 57.00
Price outside India Available on Request
Original price
Binding Hardbound
No of pages 210
Book size 152 x 228 mm
Publishing year 2018
Original publisher Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press
Published in India by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press
Exclusive distributors Viva Books Private Limited
Sales territory India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal, .
Status New Arrival
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The idea of a paradigm shift was initially presented in Thomas Kuhn’s influential book The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (1962). Kuhn used this concept—the creation of a new world-view—to explain how scientific progress develops, specifically in the physical sciences. But does this concept also apply to the biological sciences? Noted geneticist and science historian Elof Carlson explores this question in this book. Carlson had originally posed this question to Kuhn in the early 1970s, asking why paradigm shifts were rare or nonexistent in the life sciences. Kuhn’s response was that the physical sciences depended more on theory than biology did and that biology was largely descriptive.

How Scientific Progress Occurs: Incrementalism and the Life Sciences examines how progress in the life sciences occurs. Detailed narratives of the development of the fields of, for example, cell theory, gene theory, mutation, evolution, and several others, are presented as evidence. And because of the interconnection of the life sciences, cognate fields and shared tools that they may use are also considered. Carlson concludes that progress in the life sciences occurs by a process that he calls “incrementalism,” which is analogous to Kuhn’s “normal science”—but in Carlson’s view is raised to a more significant level. As he states in this book, “Scientists are not solving a jigsaw puzzle. Most of the time they have no idea where innovation will lead and the paradigm, if it exists, is a constantly changing one, not a photograph on a box propped up on the table for us to look at.” This insightful journey exploring progress in the life sciences will appeal to historians of science, student, and working scientists, as well as philosophers of science.





Chapter 1: Paradigm Shifts, Incrementalism, or Both?

Chapter 2: The Cell: From Empty Boxes to Coordinated Organelles

Chapter 3: The Theory of the Gene: From Abstract Point to Nucleotide Sequence

Chapter 4: Mutation: From Fluctuating Variations to Base Alterations

Chapter 5: The Life Cycle: From Spontaneous Origin to Simple and Complex Stages

Chapter 6: The Molecular Basis of Life: From Vitalism to Organic Molecules to Macromolecules

Chapter 7: Sex Determination: From Wild Guesses to Reproductive Biology

Chapter 8: Genotype and Phenotype Relations: From Variations to Genetic Modifiers to Epigenetics

Chapter 9: Microbial Life: From Invisible Spores to Germs and Prokaryotic Organisms

Chapter 10: Embryology: From Philosophic Forms to Epigenetic Organogenesis

Chapter 11: Cell Organelles: From Cell Theory to Cell Biology

Chapter 12: Evolution: From Guesswork to Natural Selection to Molecular Phylogeny

Chapter 13: How Does Science Usually Work?


1: There Is More to Scientific Revolutions Than Paradigm Shifts and Incrementalism

2: An Incrementalist Timeline of the Cell Theory

Figure Credits


Target Audience:

A must read for student and historians of science  and working scientists, as well as philosophers of science who wants to  explore progress in the life sciences.

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