The practical value of biological information for research

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2 Scopus citations


Many philosophers are skeptical about the scientific value of the concept of biological information. However, several have recently proposed a more positive view of ascribing information as an exercise in scientific modeling. I argue for an alternative role: guiding empirical data collection for the sake of theorizing about the evolution of semantics. I clarify and expand on Bergstrom and Rosvall's suggestion of taking a "diagnostic" approach that defines biological information operationally as a procedure for collecting empirical cases. The more recent modeling-based accounts still perpetuate a theory-centric view of scientific concepts, which motivated philosophers' misplaced skepticism in the first place.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)175-194
Number of pages20
JournalPhilosophy of Science
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2014
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History
  • Philosophy
  • History and Philosophy of Science


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