The proletarianization of biological thought.

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Co auteur : Carlos Sonnenschein

Carlos Sonnenschein : 

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Soto, A.M., and Sonnenschein, C. the proletarianization of biological thought, Philosophy World Democracy 2021.

Abstract: Unlike the proletarianization of artisans, the proletarianization of biologists did not start by a technique driven simpliftcation of laboratory work, but by the way of theory. This conceptual impoverishment started with the idea that biology could be reduced to chemistry and physics, and that cells and organisms are analogous to machines, including computers. Proletarianization was further achieved by simplified laboratory practices introduced by commercial assay kits producing numerical outputs. As a consequence, scientists concentrated their efforts on generating immense amounts of data. Now, they willingly transfer the task of generating hypotheses to computers and “data scientists”. We posit that this theoretical impoverishment can be corrected using an organicist perspective for the construction of relevant and precise biological theories.

Additional sources of proletarianization are current managerial practices that restrict scientific judgement like the use of bibliometrics to evaluate scientific output and the acceleration of work
under pressure to publish massively and rapidly for the sake of personal career advancement. A critical engagement towards theory construction may lead scientists to overcome and eliminate these proletarianizing factors.