Advertisement

Should Biology History Offer Theses?

Overall, I find Gary Freeman's review of the book I edited, Defining Biology, (The Scientist, November 17, 1986) to be a reasonable one that endorses the value of these essays from the 1890s. I do find his claim that "the propounding of a thesis is a disease that is endemic to the history of biology business" quite odd. Is Freeman suggesting that history should give just "one damn thing after another," as it has sometimes been accused of doing? And is this mandate peculiar to history or also to

By | February 9, 1987

Overall, I find Gary Freeman's review of the book I edited, Defining Biology, (The Scientist, November 17, 1986) to be a reasonable one that endorses the value of these essays from the 1890s. I do find his claim that "the propounding of a thesis is a disease that is endemic to the history of biology business" quite odd. Is Freeman suggesting that history should give just "one damn thing after another," as it has sometimes been accused of doing? And is this mandate peculiar to history or also to hold for biology itself?

I would argue for the value ofputting forth informed theses in both disciplines. I would also maintain that the story told in my book about the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) is well documented in archival and published sources. When an institution begins with a strong, autocratic director and a bunch of junior researchers, it should not be at all surprising that that one individual dictates the direction and character of the place. Thus, C.O. Whitman directed the MBL for its first decade and shaped its research program.

—Jane Maienschein
Dept. of Philosophy
Arizona State University
Tempe, AZ 85287

Advertisement

Follow The Scientist

icon-facebook icon-linkedin icon-twitter icon-vimeo icon-youtube
Advertisement

Stay Connected with The Scientist

  • icon-facebook The Scientist Magazine
  • icon-facebook The Scientist Careers
  • icon-facebook Neuroscience Research Techniques
  • icon-facebook Genetic Research Techniques
  • icon-facebook Cell Culture Techniques
  • icon-facebook Microbiology and Immunology
  • icon-facebook Cancer Research and Technology
  • icon-facebook Stem Cell and Regenerative Science
Advertisement
Horizon Discovery
Horizon Discovery
Advertisement
The Scientist
The Scientist
Life Technologies