Crucial stem cell experiments? Stem cells, uncertainty, and single-cell experiments

Citation data:

THEORIA. An International Journal for Theory, History and Foundations of Science, ISSN: 0495-4548, Vol: 30, Issue: 2, Page: 183-205

Publication Year:
2015
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Repository URL:
http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/12146
DOI:
10.1387/theoria.12707
Author(s):
Melinda Bonnie Fagan
Publisher(s):
UPV/EHU Press, Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea / Universidad del PaĆ­s Vasco
Tags:
Arts and Humanities
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article description
I have previously argued that stem cell experiments cannot demonstrate that a single cell is a stem cell (Fagan 2013a, b). Laplane and others dispute this claim, citing experiments that identify stem cells at the singlecell level. This paper rebuts the counterexample, arguing that the alleged 'crucial stem cell experiments' do not measure self-renewal for a single cell, do not establish a single cell's differentiation potential, and, if interpreted as providing results about single cells, fall into epistemic circularity. I then discuss the source of the dispute, locating it in differences between philosophical and experimental perspectives.

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