Philosophy of Molecular Medicine : Foundational Issues in Research and Practice book cover
1st Edition

Philosophy of Molecular Medicine
Foundational Issues in Research and Practice

ISBN 9781138940673
Published November 9, 2016 by Routledge
296 Pages

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Book Description

Philosophy of Molecular Medicine: Foundational Issues in Theory and Practice aims at a systematic investigation of a number of foundational issues in the field of molecular medicine. The volume is organized around four broad modules focusing, respectively, on the following key aspects: What are the nature, scope, and limits of molecular medicine? How does it provide explanations? How does it represent and model phenomena of interest? How does it infer new knowledge from data and experiments? The essays collected here, authored by prominent scientists and philosophers of science, focus on a handful of mainstream topics in the philosophical literature, such as causation, explanation, modeling, and scientific inference. These previously unpublished contributions shed new light on these traditional topics by integrating them with problems, methods, and results from three prominent areas of contemporary biomedical science: basic research, translational and clinical research, and clinical practice.

Table of Contents


Giovanni Boniolo and Marco J. Nathan


Part 1: Nature, Origins, and Scope

Chap. 1: Molecular medicine: the clinical method enters the lab. What tumor heterogeneity and primary tumor culture teach us

Giovanni Boniolo

Chap. 2: Personalized Medicine: Historical Roots of a Medical Model

Mariacarla Gadebusch Bondio and Francesco Spöring

Chap. 3: From the concept of genetic disease to the geneticization of diseases: analyzing and solving the paradox of contemporary medical genetics

Marie Darrason


Part 2: Explanation

Chap. 4: Molecular complexity: Why has psychiatry not been revolutionized by genomics (yet)?

Maël Lemoine

Chap. 5: How cancer spreads: reconceptualizing a disease

Katherine E. Liu, Alan C. Love, and Michael Travisano

Chap. 6: Evolutionary Perspectives on Molecular Medicine: Cancer from an Evolutionary Perspective

Anya Plutynski


Part 3: Representation and Modeling

Chap. 7: Towards a Notion of Intervention in Big-Data Biology and Molecular Medicine

Federico Boem and Emanuele Ratti

Chap. 8: Pathways to the clinic: cancer stem cells and challenges for translational research

Melinda Bonnie Fagan

Chap. 9: Counterfactual Reasoning in Molecular Medicine

Marco J. Nathan


Part 4: Inference

Chap. 10: Forms of Extrapolation in Molecular Medicine

Pierre-Luc Germain and Tudor Baetu

Chap. 11: Testing Oncological Treatments in the Era of Personalized Medicine

David Teira

Chap. 12: Opportunities and challenges of molecular epidemiology

Federica Russo and Paolo Vineis

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Giovanni Boniolo (degrees in Physics and in Philosophy) is Professor of Philosophy of Science and Medical Humanities at the Università di Ferrara, and Anna Boyksen Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study, Technische Universität München. He has published 13 books (plus 12 books edited) and about 200 research articles.

Marco J. Nathan is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the University of Denver. His work has been published in various philosophical and scientific venues, including Noûs, Philosophy of Science, British Journal for Philosophy of Science, Nephrology Dialysis and Transplantation, Biology and Philosophy, and Synthese.


Philosophy of Molecular Medicine offers 12 insightful chapters of philosophical and historical reflections on foundational issues in molecular medicine. This edited volume offers a rich introduction to and discussion of important philosophical issues that arise at the interface of basic science, clinical research, and clinical practice.
-Sara Green, Springer