Who is the Scientist Subject? Affective History of the Gene

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This book explores two disparate sets of debates in the history and philosophy of the life sciences: the history of subjectivity in shaping objective science and the history of dominance of reductionism in molecular biology. It questions the dominant conception of the scientist-subject as a neo-Kantian ideal self – that is, the scientist as a unified and wilful, self-determined, self-regulated, active and autonomous, rational subject wilfully driven by social and scientific ethos – in favour of a narrative that shows how the microcosm of reductionism is sustained, adopted, questioned, or challenged in the creative struggles of the scientist-subject. The author covers a century-long history of the concept of the gene as a series of "pioneering moments" through an engagement with life-writings of eminent scientists to show how their ways of being and belonging relate with the making of the science. The scientist-self is theorized as fundamentally a feeling, experiencing, and suffering subject split between the conscious and unconscious and constitutive of personality aspects that are emotional/psychological, "situated" (cultural and ideological), metaphysical, intersubjective, and existential at the same time.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationLondon
Number of pages186
ISBN (Electronic)9780429489860
ISBN (Print)9781138570337
Publication statusPublished - 2018


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