Metaphysics: the proverbial elephant in the room
AbstractThe increasing number of reports on the irreproducibility of epidemiological and experimental data has motivated explanations addressing its sociological and ethical implications. Regrettably, philosophical and theoretical issues such as the construction of objectivity or the role of theory have not been addressed in those reports. These issues are central to the practice of scientific research. The uncritical acceptance of ideas borrowed from mathematical theories of information and associated ideologies force interpretations of experimental results attributing a privileged causal role to molecules and to genes. In order to avoid these shortcomings, biologists should make explicit their metaphysical assumptions and the theoretical principles that guide their research.
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