Mittwoch, 25. Januar 2017, 15:15 - 17:00 iCal

Putting the gene in its place

The resurgence of organismic thinking in developmental biology (Guest Lecture by Dr. Johannes Jäger)

UZA II/Rotunde, Besprechungszimmer 2H360
Althanstraße 14 (Eingang via Josef-Holaubek-Platz), 1090 Wien


During the second half of the 20th Century, biological research has become increasingly dominated by reductionist thinking. This trend is exemplified by the strong gene-centered focus of fields such as developmental and evolutionary biology. Unfortunately, reductionism is completely inadequate as an ontological foundation for the life sciences, and we are now beginning to feel the consequences of its severe conceptual limitations. Luckily, a solution to this problem has always been at hand: long before the rise of reductionism, organicism provided a suitable framework for the study of living systems. It acknowledges the special organizational characteristics and ontological status of organisms, without falling into the trap of a mystical vitalism. Since the turn of the century, we see an encouraging revival of various organicist traditions in different fields of biology. In this talk, I intend to trace some of the roots of this revival through the dark ages of molecular biology, and to provide an overview over some crucial contributions that illustrate how organicist thinking can lead to a deeper and more satisfying understanding and appreciation of the phenomenon of life.

Dr. Johannes Jäger is the scientific director of the KLI in Klosterneuburg.


Doktoratskolleg "Naturwissenschaften im historischen, philosophischen und kulturellen Kontext"


Mag. Mag. Mag. Ramon Pils, DipTrans
Institut für Geschichte
01 4277 40872