Egenis and Centre for Medical History Joint Seminar with Professor Bernardino Fantini 'Reading and writing the book of life: Linguistic metaphors in the history of genomics and biotechnologies'
SpeakersProfessor Bernardino Fantini, Institut d'Histoire de la Médecine et de la Santé, Université de Genève.
University of Exeter,Egenis,Byrne House,St Germans Road,Exeter, EX4 4PJ
Room no: GF7,
Time: 3:30 - 5:00 PM
Abstract: Since the very beginning of the 'molecular revolution' in the early '50s, genetics and genomics made intensive use of metaphors based on language and communication. The epistemological status of these metaphors is rather problematic. In same cases, they are used as simple models or images, as rhetorical tools, but in other contexts they play a fundamental role in the explanatory structure. Furthermore, if terms such as 'information', 'code', 'messages', 'sequences' or 'control' are purely metaphorical, how can they be acted upon with biotechnologies ?
The paper will explore historically the construction of the language of molecular biology, analyse the epistemological status of the linguistic metaphors and suggest that information in biology should be considered as a specific form of causality.