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The Manipulability of What? The History of G-Protein Coupled Receptors

Barwich, Ann-Sophie and Bschir, Karim (2017) The Manipulability of What? The History of G-Protein Coupled Receptors. Biology & Philosophy. ISSN 1572-8404

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Abstract

This paper tells the story of G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs), one of the most important scientific objects in contemporary biochemistry and molecular biology. By looking at how cell membrane receptors turned from a speculative concept into a central element in modern biochemistry over the past 40 years, we revisit the role of manipulability as a criterion for entity realism in wet-lab research. The central argument is that manipulability as a condition for reality becomes meaningful only once scientists have decided how to conceptually coordinate measurable effects distinctly to a specific object. We show that a scientific entity, such as GPCRs, is assigned varying degrees of reality throughout different stages of its discovery. The criteria of its reality, we further claim, cannot be made independently of the question about how this object becomes a standard by which the reality of neighbouring elements of enquiry is evaluated.


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Item Type: Published Article or Volume
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Barwich, Ann-Sophieab4221@columbia.edu0000-0003-0123-9366
Bschir, Karimbschir@phil.gess.ethz.ch0000-0001-5368-5638
Keywords: Scientific Realism; Instrumental Intervention; Cell Signaling Mechanism; Biochemistry; Pharmacology; Wet-Lab Research
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Biology > Molecular Biology/Genetics
Specific Sciences > Chemistry
General Issues > Experimentation
General Issues > History of Philosophy of Science
General Issues > History of Science Case Studies
General Issues > Realism/Anti-realism
Depositing User: Dr. Ann-Sophie Barwich
Date Deposited: 04 Mar 2018 02:57
Last Modified: 04 Mar 2018 02:57
Item ID: 14424
Journal or Publication Title: Biology & Philosophy
Publisher: Springer
DOI or Unique Handle: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10539-017-9608-9
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Biology > Molecular Biology/Genetics
Specific Sciences > Chemistry
General Issues > Experimentation
General Issues > History of Philosophy of Science
General Issues > History of Science Case Studies
General Issues > Realism/Anti-realism
Date: 19 December 2017
ISSN: 1572-8404
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/14424

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