KLI Colloquia are informal, public talks that are followed by extensive dissussions. Speakers are KLI fellows or visiting researchers who are interested in presenting their work to an interdisciplinary audience and discussing it in a wider research context. We offer three types of talks:

1. Current Research Talks. KLI fellows or visiting researchers present and discuss their most recent research with the KLI fellows and the Vienna scientific community.

2. Future Research Talks. Visiting researchers present and discuss future projects and ideas togehter with the KLI fellows and the Vienna scientific community.

3. Professional Developmental Talks. Experts about research grants and applications at the Austrian and European levels present career opportunities and strategies to late-PhD and post-doctoral researchers.

  • The presentation language is English.
  • If you are interested in presenting your current or future work at the KLI, please contact the Scientific Director or the Executive Manager.

Event Details

Sophie Veigl
KLI Colloquia
The Inheritance of Small RNAs – A Case for Theoretical Pluralism?
Sophie VEIGL (University of Vienna)
2018-04-26 15:00 - 2018-04-26 16:30
Organized by KLI

Topic description / abstract:

Scientific Pluralism has become an increasingly popular term in the philosophy of science and in the philosophy of biology in particular. Likewise, the field of epigenetics combined with the resurrection of Lamarck and a so-called renaissance of heresy is one of the most debated topics within the study of evolution and inheritance. In my talk, I will explore whether cutting-edge discoveries in the study of inheritance make a case for theoretical pluralism. In particular, I will bring forward arguments that small RNAs deliver acquired information to subsequent generations governed by a DNA-independent mechanism. I will argue that on the mechanistic level small RNAs operate through a “Lamarckian” use/disuse paradigm. In addition to establishing theoretical plurality, I will try to make sense of how to relate such complimentary theories – are they alternatives – or integrable?


Biographical note:

Sophie Veigl is a fellow at the DK The Sciences in Historical, Philosophical and Cultural Contexts. She studied Microbiology and Genetics, Immunology, History and Philosophy of Science as well as Comparative Literature at the University of Vienna. She worked as a guest researcher at Tel Aviv University and the University of Cambridge as well as at the Gurdon Institute. One central question that motivates her research is how and to which ends should philosophers of science be normative about their fields of study? In her current research project she investigates whether certain species of RNA can act as alternative trajectories of inheritance, and whether that constitutes a case for theoretical pluralism. In addition, she works closely together with leading researchers in RNA inheritance to test how resonant her claims are with the notions of the relevant actors.