Essay Review ID: CBB684419484

Metaphors and Other Slippery Creatures (2019)


What are cells? How are they related to each other and to the organism as a whole? These questions have exercised biology since Schleiden and Schwann (1838–1839) first proposed cells as the key units of structure and function of all living things. But how do we try to understand them? Through new technologies like the achromatic microscope and the electron microscope. But just as importantly, through the metaphors our culture has made available to biologists in different periods and places. These two new volumes provide interesting history and philosophy of the development of cell biology. Reynolds surveys the field's changing conceptual structure by examining the varied panoply of changing metaphors used to conceptualize and explain cells – from cells as empty boxes, as building blocks, to individual organisms, to chemical factories, and through many succeeding metaphors up to one with great currency today: cells as social creatures in communication with others in their community. There is some of this approach in the Visions edited collection as well. But this collection also includes rich material on the technologies used to visualize cells and their dialectical relationship with the epistemology of the emerging distinct discipline of cell biology. This volume centres on, but is not limited to, ‘reflections inspired by [E.V.] Cowdry's [1924 volume] General Cytology’; it benefits from a conference on the Cowdry volume as well as a 2011 Marine Biological Lab/Arizona State University workshop on the history of cell biology.

Review Of

Book Karl S. Matlin; Jane Maienschein; Manfred D. Laubichler (2018) Visions of Cell Biology: Reflections Inspired by Cowdry's "General Cytology". unapi

Book Reynolds, Andrew S. (2018) The Third Lens: Metaphor and the Creation of Modern Cell Biology. unapi

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Authors & Contributors
Anderson, Rebecca
Reynolds, Andrew S.
Samantha Killmore
Fasolo, Aldo
James Drown
Mary Beilby
Historical Records of Australian Science
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences
History of Science
Endeavour: Review of the Progress of Science
Cellular biology
Philosophy of biology
Metaphors; analogies
Walker, Norman Alan (1929–2013)
Haeckel, Ernst
Time Periods
20th century
21st century
19th century
University of Sydney

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