The Philosophy In and Of Epigenetics

Due to the significant attention being devoted to epigenetics across so many scientific disciplines, the science behind epigenetic processes is being worked out in greater and greater detail all the time. However, the elaboration of the philosophical implications of epigenetics is still in its infancy. Epigenetics posits a number of unique ontologies which fundamentally challenge many of the cornerstone concepts of Western thought: In addition to the science-based challenges epigenetics presents to many of the fundamental tenets of both genetics and evolutionary theory, epigenetics also challenges the conventional separations between the internal and the external (e.g., human and nature), past and present, and cause and effect. These challenges from epigenetics – especially because they emanate from a basis in science – present a number of interesting philosophical conundrums that have yet to be addressed. Discussions of these more philosophical questions will be categorized under “Philosophy” and can be found below or by using the Categories list located on the righthand margin of this blog.

Radical Bodies: The Political Biology of the Enlightenment and Contemporary Political Theory

The Immanent Self: Epigenetics, Modern Liberalism and Spinoza

Epigenetics and Adaptation: The Ethics of Evolution

The Reception of Epigenetics: More like Mendel or Darwin?

The Trans-ideological Potential of Epigenetics

The History of Epigenetics and the Science of Social Progress

Epigenetics and Ideology

The True Political Impact of Epigenetics

Epigenetics, ethics and the evolution of science

Epigenetics and the Extended Synthesis

The Genetics of the Ethics of the Science of Genetics

Epigenetics Minority Report Part I: Epigenetics, blame, precrime and politics

Epigenetics as a Political Revolution?

More Than Just Science I: The Challenges of Epigenetics to our Traditional Ethics

More Than Just Science II: The Challenges of Epigenetics to our Traditional Ethics

More Than Just Science III: The Challenges of Epigenetics to our Traditional Ethics

More Than Science IV: The Challenges of Epigenetics to our Traditional Ethics

Epigenetics as a Bridge Between the Natural and the Social Sciences?

Epigenetics By Any Other Name? What Epigenetics Should and Should Not Be

Epigenetics and Environmental Ethics I

Epigenetics and Environmental Ethics II: The Ancient Greeks and the Romans

Epigenetics and Environmental Ethics III: Genetics and the Rise of Christianity

Epigenetics and Environmental Ethics IV: Did Aristotle and Aquinas Discover DNA

History Part I: A Brief History of Epigenetics

History Part II: Epigenetics and the Politics of Science

History Part III: Epigenetics and the Dustbin of History

Epigenetics and Two of its Cold War Casualties

Epigenetics Before Epigenetics Was Cool?

The Epigenetic Evolution of Genetics (and Epigenetics)

How is Epigenetics Different from Genetics?

2 thoughts on “The Philosophy In and Of Epigenetics

  1. Delighted to find this opportunity to know about Epigenetics.I am a Prof.interested in History & Philosophy of Biology.Work in National Institute of Advanced Studies, IISC,Bangalore. Would like to keep in touch.Regards, Narasimhan.


    1. Thank you for contacting me. I am pleased you found my blog and are interested in my focus on the history, politics and ethical implications of epigenetics. I have posted a lot of material on the history and philosophy of epigenetics, so browse around and see what catches your eye. Leave comments or questions if you have any for me. I also post work on these aspects of epigenetics from others, so let me know if you have any work of your own that you’d like me to post on this site. Keep checking in for additional material as I post it, or follow this blog and/or my epigenetics-focused Twitter feed @EpigeneticsGuy to receive updates.

      Thank you again,



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