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This radical book by Nobel laureate Monod is an important intellectual event. Chance and Necessity is a philosophical statement whose intention is to sweep away as both false and dangerous the animist conception of man that has dominated virtually all Western worldviews from primitive cultures to those of dialectical materialists. He bases his argument on the evidence of m This radical book by Nobel laureate Monod is an important intellectual event. Chance and Necessity is a philosophical statement whose intention is to sweep away as both false and dangerous the animist conception of man that has dominated virtually all Western worldviews from primitive cultures to those of dialectical materialists. He bases his argument on the evidence of modern biology, which indisputably shows, that man is the product of chance genetic mutation. With the unrelenting logic of the scientist, he draws upon what we now know (and can theorize) of genetic structure to suggest an new way of looking at ourselves. He argues that objective scientific knowledge, the only reliable knowledge, denies the concepts of destiny or evolutionary purpose that underlie traditional philosophies. He contends that the persistence of those concepts is responsible for the intensifying schizophrenia of a world that accepts, and lives by, the fruits of science while refusing to face its moral implications. Dismissing as "animist" not only Plato, Hegel, Bergson and Teilhard de Chardin but Spencer and Marx as well, he calls for a new ethic that will recognize the distinction between objective knowledge and the realm of values--an ethic of knowledge that can, perhaps, save us from our deepening spiritual malaise, from the new age of darkness he sees coming. Preface Of strange objects Vitalisms and animisms Maxwell's demons Microscopic cybernetics Molecular ontogenesis Invariance and perturbations Evolution The frontiers The kingdom and the darkness Appendixes


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This radical book by Nobel laureate Monod is an important intellectual event. Chance and Necessity is a philosophical statement whose intention is to sweep away as both false and dangerous the animist conception of man that has dominated virtually all Western worldviews from primitive cultures to those of dialectical materialists. He bases his argument on the evidence of m This radical book by Nobel laureate Monod is an important intellectual event. Chance and Necessity is a philosophical statement whose intention is to sweep away as both false and dangerous the animist conception of man that has dominated virtually all Western worldviews from primitive cultures to those of dialectical materialists. He bases his argument on the evidence of modern biology, which indisputably shows, that man is the product of chance genetic mutation. With the unrelenting logic of the scientist, he draws upon what we now know (and can theorize) of genetic structure to suggest an new way of looking at ourselves. He argues that objective scientific knowledge, the only reliable knowledge, denies the concepts of destiny or evolutionary purpose that underlie traditional philosophies. He contends that the persistence of those concepts is responsible for the intensifying schizophrenia of a world that accepts, and lives by, the fruits of science while refusing to face its moral implications. Dismissing as "animist" not only Plato, Hegel, Bergson and Teilhard de Chardin but Spencer and Marx as well, he calls for a new ethic that will recognize the distinction between objective knowledge and the realm of values--an ethic of knowledge that can, perhaps, save us from our deepening spiritual malaise, from the new age of darkness he sees coming. Preface Of strange objects Vitalisms and animisms Maxwell's demons Microscopic cybernetics Molecular ontogenesis Invariance and perturbations Evolution The frontiers The kingdom and the darkness Appendixes

30 review for Chance and Necessity: An Essay on the Natural Philosophy of Modern Biology

  1. 5 out of 5

    Manny

    As far as I can make out from a little background reading, the origin of this book came in 1948. Jacques Monod, a highly distinguished molecular biologist who would later win the 1965 Nobel Prize, was asked by his friend Albert Camus to write a critique of Lysenkoism; at the time this was officially declared by Stalin as holy writ to which all right-thinking Marxists had to subscribe on pain of excommunication. Monod, appalled at Lysenko's mendacious pseudo-scientific nonsense, tore it to pieces As far as I can make out from a little background reading, the origin of this book came in 1948. Jacques Monod, a highly distinguished molecular biologist who would later win the 1965 Nobel Prize, was asked by his friend Albert Camus to write a critique of Lysenkoism; at the time this was officially declared by Stalin as holy writ to which all right-thinking Marxists had to subscribe on pain of excommunication. Monod, appalled at Lysenko's mendacious pseudo-scientific nonsense, tore it to pieces. But I get the impression that he then thought a great deal about how things had got to this point, and discussed the ideas with Camus and other people. The eventual result was Le hasard et la nécessité, which came out nearly 20 years later. Monod was evidently a very deep thinker. If you want to pin Lysenkoism on someone, the obvious culprit is Lysenko himself, and the next most obvious is his protector Stalin. Monod wasn't satisfied with blaming Stalin, or even Marx. He looks at the philosophical basis of Marxism, which, he persuasively argues, is really just another example of what he refers to as "animism": the belief that the world is somehow infused with a purpose. For a Christian, that purpose comes from God, and for a Marxist it comes from the dialectical interpretation of history. Monod thinks that Christianity, Marxism and all other "animist" philosophies are equally off-target. In the main body of the text, he presents a brilliantly condensed account of how his work in molecular biology led him to this position; although the book was written in the late 60s, his line of reasoning still comes across as extremely convincing. Monod starts by considering the similarities and differences between three general kinds of things: living creatures, artifacts, and "natural objects". He shows how difficult it is to frame clear rules to distinguish them, and concludes that there is in fact no hard-and-fast difference separating a living creature from a crystal. In both cases, the patterns and symmetries we see come from the mathematical nature of the underlying molecular structures; crystal lattices in one case, DNA in the other. The real difference is that living creatures are vastly more complicated. Monod goes on to elaborate this correspondance, and shows how the processes by which living creatures reproduce are fundamentally similar, at a molecular level, to those that make a crystal grow. He spends a good deal of time explaining the fascinating details of how enzymes, the complex proteins involved in the process of DNA replication, are both created by the DNA and also used by it to perform this task. He shows how these enzymes are to all intents and purposes wonderfully ingenious machines, which give every appearance of having been designed to serve highly specific purposes; but, just when you think he's contradicted himself, he goes on to demonstrate that their structure reveals they can only be the product of blind chance. There is no one running the show: not God, History, the Life Force or anything else. As Lucretius said a couple of thousand years earlier, there is just atoms and void. After the long segue into molecular biology, Monod concludes by looping back to his starting point. Nothing in the universe, he says, gives it external purpose. We are the ones who give it purpose, based on our billions of years of inherited molecular experience; we must keep our objectivity, and be careful not to confuse facts and values. As an Existentialist sermon, I have never seen it done better. Chapeau, Monsieur.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Adam

    Jacques Monod won the Nobel Prize in 1965 for his work elucidating the molecular mechanisms of DNA replication. His book Chance and Necessity is an investigation of life as a contingent process governed largely by chance, at all levels, from the molecular to the evolutionary to the very fact of life itself, and what this fact means for us practically, morally and spiritually, as modern humans. The definition of life he puts forth in this book -- those systems possessing teleonomy, autonomous mor Jacques Monod won the Nobel Prize in 1965 for his work elucidating the molecular mechanisms of DNA replication. His book Chance and Necessity is an investigation of life as a contingent process governed largely by chance, at all levels, from the molecular to the evolutionary to the very fact of life itself, and what this fact means for us practically, morally and spiritually, as modern humans. The definition of life he puts forth in this book -- those systems possessing teleonomy, autonomous morphogenesis, and reproductive invariance -- is still the best I have ever heard, and I am ashamed that my teachers never taught it to me in high school. Or college. Or grad school. The beauty of the book is that it situates the science of biology and the reality of the evolutionary process within its larger philosophical, historical, and conceptual contexts. Chapter 2, "Vitalisms and Animisms", is worth the price alone. Monod dismantles every flavor of mysticism and historicist scientism in clear, devastating prose. He discusses how Marxism took Hegel's idealist dialectical order, an order in which the only authentic reality was mind, and applied it to the physical world, proceeding to "effect the animist projection in the most blatant manner and with all its consequences, the scrapping of the postulate of objectivity being the first." He castigates Engels, who was forced to reject the Second Law of Thermodynamics as impossible because it violated the principles of dialectical materialism. Many have quibbled with his use of the term 'animism' as overly broad -- nonetheless it expresses a real conceptual condition which has plagued almost every thread of human thought throughout the ages. No ideologue, Monod admits that objectivity itself has no objective premises, that it is in fact a moral position. He also laments the split in the modern psyche between our reliance on objective knowledge for practical progress and on the older animist systems of values for our moral beliefs. In later chapters on evolution and language, Monod examines the roots of human intraspecific violence and our instinctive need for teleological explanations of our existence (read: religion). The book is of course an argument for objectivity, as he puts it "because of its prodigious power of performance", and others (notably Feyerabend) have rightly taken him to task on this point. But interestingly one gets the sense that Monod feels great wonder at the irreducible complexity of the world we inhabit -- intellectually, morally, and spiritually -- and at least to me this lent his concluding remarks an ambivalence which goes far beyond his words. It is true that at the time this book was published (1970) it was considered 'shocking' because of its claim to have shown exactly how life evolved from purely chance procedures. Many have enumerated the gaps in the science of the day on which he based his arguments, although most of the criticism I've seen on this point falls under the "dark corners of our knowledge" rubric, the type of pedantic denialism founded on a false understanding of what science tells us and how it does so, and a lack of appreciation for the true depth and breadth of evidence supporting the theory of the spontaneous biogenesis and evolution of life on this planet. Nothing we've learned since Monod published this book does anything but bolster his position.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Minh Nhật

    đọc đuợc phần đầu với phần cuối, phần giữa kiến thức hóa-sinh học cũng sâu(hơn mức cấp 3 nhiều) nên tạm lướt. vấn đề được đặt ra và kết lại cũng hay, cũng là vấn đề mình đang quan tâm nhất. là từ ngàn xưa mối quan hệ giữa chân lý khách quan và các diễn ngôn về giá trị, làm cơ sở cho luật pháp, , đạo đức, các trật tự và các thực hành xã hội được người xưa "gói gém" trong các giao ước hữu linh dựa trên cơ sở tôn giáo. nhưng từ sự nổi lên của khoa học hiện đại, quá chú trọng khía cạnh chân lý khách đọc đuợc phần đầu với phần cuối, phần giữa kiến thức hóa-sinh học cũng sâu(hơn mức cấp 3 nhiều) nên tạm lướt. vấn đề được đặt ra và kết lại cũng hay, cũng là vấn đề mình đang quan tâm nhất. là từ ngàn xưa mối quan hệ giữa chân lý khách quan và các diễn ngôn về giá trị, làm cơ sở cho luật pháp, , đạo đức, các trật tự và các thực hành xã hội được người xưa "gói gém" trong các giao ước hữu linh dựa trên cơ sở tôn giáo. nhưng từ sự nổi lên của khoa học hiện đại, quá chú trọng khía cạnh chân lý khách quan và bỏ rơi khía cạnh giá trị đã phá vỡ giao ước đó và làm cho những sợ hãi, âu lo vốn đã được giải quyết ổn thỏa bằng các giao ước tâm linh quay lại ám ảnh đời sống con người. nhìn nhận như thế thì có thể gọi đó là sự tha hóa, suy đồi, vô đạo của con người/xã hội hiện đại. Tới đây thì ắt hẳn tham vọng là phải để xuất một giải pháp để nối liền 2 khía cạnh đều cực kì quan trọng của đời con người kia lại, tác giả đề xuất cái gọi là đạo lý của sự hiểu biết. rất tiết nhưng thật sự chỉ có thể cho 3* thôi :3

  4. 5 out of 5

    Bob Nichols

    Monod argues that all of the Earth’s biosphere (which he believes is a unique event in the cosmos via a random coming together of the right molecules and milieu), comes down to DNA that directs protein formation and the building blocks of life. Except for mutations, which are "chance" occurrences that go through the screen of natural selection, DNA is replicated invariantly, and this constitutes the “necessity” part of Monod’s argument. DNA’s information for the proteins is directed. As opposed Monod argues that all of the Earth’s biosphere (which he believes is a unique event in the cosmos via a random coming together of the right molecules and milieu), comes down to DNA that directs protein formation and the building blocks of life. Except for mutations, which are "chance" occurrences that go through the screen of natural selection, DNA is replicated invariantly, and this constitutes the “necessity” part of Monod’s argument. DNA’s information for the proteins is directed. As opposed to a teleological pulling toward some end product, Monod calls this directional vector teleonomic. Direction is built into the chemicals so that body structure and behavior operate in a highly defined way (they are “endowed with a purpose or project”). The end products of this are all the various life forms in our biosphere. This teleonomic principle stands in contrast, Monod argues, with vitalism and animism. Vitalism (Bergson) has life infused with a mysterious impulse that is void of any predetermined purpose. Animist philosophy (Leibniz, Hegel, Teilhard de Chardin, Marx) sees a progressive unfolding of purpose in evolution, leading to its highest expression in man. Animism in this sense, Monod states, is a “projection into inanimate nature of man’s awareness of the intensely teleonomic functioning of his own central nervous system.” In Monod’s perspective, these philosophic approaches stand in contrast with his teleonomic view of the biosphere that rests on the objective foundation of science. Objective knowledge is, he argues, value free except for the epistemological value of objective knowledge itself. In addition to his teleonomic principle, Monod makes some interesting observations when he applies his objective knowledge to human affairs. He believes that language was the key selective adaptation that led to the evolution of mind. Bipedalism freed the hands to hunt. Hunting gave our ancestral line a survival advantage that began our cognitive trajectory. Hunting required cooperation and group cohesion and these required language and cognition structures that supported sophisticated communication-based interaction. Language was the key for the development of our cognition, including most importantly the capacity for simulation. We could act out the strategy for a hunt in our minds, which made us very effective hunters. Monod believes this cognitive development created universal language structures (a la Chomsky) and mental categories (the innate ideas of Descartes; the a priori categories of Kant) and probably created other innate capacities as well (emotions?). This innateness, he argues, stands in direct contrast to all empiricist philosophy. Applying his objective knowledge approach to contemporary issues, Monod believes his so-called ethic of knowledge leads to socialism and a concern that human breeding practices lead to genetically-based upper and lower class divisions as well as to the reproduction of “genetic cripples.” He supports some sort of genetic engineering that improves the species by increasing the reliance on logic and science as the basis for decision-making within a meme-like environment where ideas are freely and openly debated. Monod is particularly impressive in the way he boils all life down to DNA’s invariant nature and its direction to proteins. In a summary statement, he writes that “once incorporated in the DNA structure, the accident…will be mechanically and faithfully replicated and translated….Even today a good many distinguished minds seem unable to accept or even to understand that from a source of noise natural selection alone and unaided could have drawn all the music of the biosphere. In effect natural selection operates upon the products of chance and can feed nowhere else; but it operates in a domain of very demanding conditions, and from this domain chance is barred.” A good part of Monod’s philosophical discussion is critical of Marxian dialectics that have the progressive unfolding of history being driven by external, environmental conditions. In contrast, Monod describes the permanent, invariant nature of the organism, at its life core. This view does not negate the dialectic. Rather, it places the thesis part of the dialectic squarely within the organism. The dialectical process begins with life, seeking to live and to live well. We are the initiators of action in the environment that the environment in turn acts upon and both result in our transformation as a species and as individuals. Where Monod goes astray, and considerably so, is his belief in a value-free ethic of knowledge. This leads him into some very value-laden pronouncements about how society ought to be organized. The foremost problem with that approach is his belief that cognitive sophistication alone is sufficient to solve our survival and life problems. It is interesting that nowhere in this book does Monod talk about human motivation and our emotional make up. Yet we have ample examples of intelligent people whose intelligence is driven by self-serving ends. Monod seems to presume that intelligence, alone, leads to the promotion of the good of the whole (socialism), but such promotion does not happen unless there’s an underlying motivation to make it so. Interestingly, Monod’s notes our long history of killing each other based on our tribal nature. Unfortunately, this tribal tendency might be deeply embedded in our species as one of those innate structures that Monod elsewhere indicates might be present, making it fairly immune to cognitive regulation. If true, a system of checks and balances for the organization of society might better reflect the realities of human nature than, say, relying on rational argument and pleas for reason. Peace does not come from good will and rationality alone.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Magdalena

    Chi afferma che il contenuto di questo saggio sia una ripetizione delle nozioni contenute nei manuali di biologia molecolare, non mi trova d'accordo. E' vero: Monod abbozza alcune nozioni fondamentali della biologia, tracciando una breve descrizione dei processi di replicazione e traduzione, ma lo fa in una maniera essenziale e funzionale agli obiettivi della sua opera, volendo dare un supporto chimico alle argomentazioni che introduce sin dal primo capitolo, centrali nella sua trattazione: la r Chi afferma che il contenuto di questo saggio sia una ripetizione delle nozioni contenute nei manuali di biologia molecolare, non mi trova d'accordo. E' vero: Monod abbozza alcune nozioni fondamentali della biologia, tracciando una breve descrizione dei processi di replicazione e traduzione, ma lo fa in una maniera essenziale e funzionale agli obiettivi della sua opera, volendo dare un supporto chimico alle argomentazioni che introduce sin dal primo capitolo, centrali nella sua trattazione: la replicazione per l''invarianza riproduttiva'' e la traduzione per la ''teleonomia'', che assieme alla ''morfogenesi autonoma'', rappresentano le tre caratteristiche che tracciano una linea di separazione tra il vivente e il non vivente. E' da qui che parte l'argomentazione di Monod, che illustra alcuni paradossi della Biologia, come il fatto di contraddire il principio di oggettività della Natura (ossia il rifiuto di pervenire ad una conoscenza vera mediante qualsiasi interpretazione di fenomeni in termine di cause finali, di progetto), essendo l'esistenza del vivente guidata proprio dalla realizzazione di un progetto. Monod offre uno sguardo nuovo e fresco su alcune questioni basilari della biologia, riuscendo insegnare qualcosa anche agli esperti del settore e svelando, quindi, una profonda conoscenza e passione per la materia. Offre, infine, una visione cruda del rapporto della società moderna con la scienza, ribadendo come l'antico vincolo animistico con la Natura è da tempo spezzato: bisogna, oggi, mettere al centro dell'esistenza umana la consapevolezza della solitudine siderale dell'uomo nell'Universo e la necessità di una nuova etica che non rimanga indietro, alla luce della folle corsa del progresso scientifico. Sebbene il livello della trattazione non sia omogeneo e la brevità del saggio riveli, a mio parere, il bisogno di un approfondimento più sostanzioso di ogni capitolo, la profondità del pensiero dell'uomo e scienziato Monod e l'acutezza di alcune sue considerazioni, indubbiamente geniali, giustifica la valutazione a 5 stelle di questo libro.

  6. 5 out of 5

    The Magician Read

    Un ouvrage très pointu, ardu, et peu abordable, j'ai eu beaucoup de mal à le lire, j'ai carrément zappé quelques pages, et je ne pense pas que je suis prête à le relire prochainement, très complexe à suivre et nécessite des bases solides en biologie moléculaire, sinon l'auteur est un peu trop extrémiste, avec une vision du monde et de l'humain purement matérialiste ! Je passe ! Un ouvrage très pointu, ardu, et peu abordable, j'ai eu beaucoup de mal à le lire, j'ai carrément zappé quelques pages, et je ne pense pas que je suis prête à le relire prochainement, très complexe à suivre et nécessite des bases solides en biologie moléculaire, sinon l'auteur est un peu trop extrémiste, avec une vision du monde et de l'humain purement matérialiste ! Je passe !

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jlawrence

    Molecular biologist and Nobel-winner Monod takes a look at the philosophical significance of evolution and the genetic code. At the core of the book is a resolution of the contradiction between the seemingly goal-oriented nature of evolution (and definitely goal-oriented nature of organisms) and the essential randomness and chance underlying evolution's mechanics. In other words, he makes an strong argument against what is today called 'intelligent design.' Along the way he covers tricky aspects Molecular biologist and Nobel-winner Monod takes a look at the philosophical significance of evolution and the genetic code. At the core of the book is a resolution of the contradiction between the seemingly goal-oriented nature of evolution (and definitely goal-oriented nature of organisms) and the essential randomness and chance underlying evolution's mechanics. In other words, he makes an strong argument against what is today called 'intelligent design.' Along the way he covers tricky aspects of the distinction between artificial and natural and covers the workings of proteins and the transmission of the genetic code. He also, while discussing major gaffes made by assuming the universe is goal-driven, amusingly dismantles dialectical materialism. In the last portion of the book Monod gives some highly speculative musing on the birth of human culture and language, and then gives a hard look at the harsh tension between objective knowledge and religious-humanistic ethics and values. He proposes an intriguing 'ethic of knowledge' as a solution, but unfortunately his sketch of this ethic is all too brief, given the profound weight it would have to carry. Still, overall the book is a fascinating and passionate essay by a scientist looking deeply into the implications of his field of study.

  8. 4 out of 5

    ferrigno

    È un saggio importante per l'epoca in cui è stato scritto. Risente dell'esistenzialismo sartriano. È molto prolisso sulla parte biologica e salta alle conclusioni filosofiche quando il lettore è ormai stremato e annoiato. Il ruolo del caso è descritto in modo fuorviante, il "caso" ha importanza decisamente marginale nei saggi sull'evoluzione di Dawkins, Gould e Pievani. Vecchiotto e si sente. È un saggio importante per l'epoca in cui è stato scritto. Risente dell'esistenzialismo sartriano. È molto prolisso sulla parte biologica e salta alle conclusioni filosofiche quando il lettore è ormai stremato e annoiato. Il ruolo del caso è descritto in modo fuorviante, il "caso" ha importanza decisamente marginale nei saggi sull'evoluzione di Dawkins, Gould e Pievani. Vecchiotto e si sente.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Luca Broggi

    È un saggio chiaro, essenziale e diretto. Le idee sono illustrate con ricercata chiarezza e non c'è mai dubbio su cosa l'autore intendesse con un'affermazione. Monod dimostra una fiducia ammirevole e esemplare nel metodo scientifico e anzi conclude il saggio chiarendo la relazione tra etica e conoscenza in maniera lucida. È un saggio chiaro, essenziale e diretto. Le idee sono illustrate con ricercata chiarezza e non c'è mai dubbio su cosa l'autore intendesse con un'affermazione. Monod dimostra una fiducia ammirevole e esemplare nel metodo scientifico e anzi conclude il saggio chiarendo la relazione tra etica e conoscenza in maniera lucida.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Daniele Monterotti

    Fondamentale

  11. 5 out of 5

    Erwin Maack

    "No dia em que, dissemos nós, o Australantropo ou qualquer um dos seus congêneres chegou a comunicar não mais uma experiência concreta e atual, mas um conteúdo de uma experiência subjetiva, de uma "simulação" pessoal, nascia um bom reino: o das ideias. Uma evolução nova, a da cultura, tornava-se possível. A evolução física do Homem devia prosseguir por muito tempo ainda, só que doravante estreitamente associada à da linguagem, sofrendo profundamente a sua influência, que subvertia as condições d "No dia em que, dissemos nós, o Australantropo ou qualquer um dos seus congêneres chegou a comunicar não mais uma experiência concreta e atual, mas um conteúdo de uma experiência subjetiva, de uma "simulação" pessoal, nascia um bom reino: o das ideias. Uma evolução nova, a da cultura, tornava-se possível. A evolução física do Homem devia prosseguir por muito tempo ainda, só que doravante estreitamente associada à da linguagem, sofrendo profundamente a sua influência, que subvertia as condições da seleção. O homem moderno é o produto dessa simbiose evolutiva. Em qualquer outra hipótese ele é incompreensível, indecifrável. Todo ser vivo é também um fóssil. Traz em si, e até na estrutura microscópica de suas proteínas, os traços, senão os estigmas, de sua ascendência. Isso é muito mais verdadeiro para o Homem do que para qualquer outra espécie anima, em virtude da dualidade, física e "ideal", da evolução de que é o herdeiro". (página 155)

  12. 4 out of 5

    Leo W.

    Hasn't aged well. Hasn't aged well.

  13. 5 out of 5

    DoctorM

    A classic meditation on evolution and the idea of randomness in natural selection. Thoughtful and beautifully-written. Very much the slim volume that made me fascinated with evolutionary biology.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Frank Ashe

    The ethic of knowledge - to subjectively take an objective stance in the search for knowledge as the foundation of your ethical system.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Enrique Oviedo

    Imprescindible en muchos sentidos: didáctico y filosófico. Tras leer varios libros donde se describen los mecanismos de la replicación genética, la génesis de las proteínas y la acción de las enzimas, por fin he encontrado el lugar donde los conceptos se muestran de manera clara y sencilla encajando a la perfección. Por otro lado, el análisis de la confrontación entre las corrientes filosófico-éticas y la Ciencia, es brillante. Es impresionante la forma de desmontar la aproximación de las religion Imprescindible en muchos sentidos: didáctico y filosófico. Tras leer varios libros donde se describen los mecanismos de la replicación genética, la génesis de las proteínas y la acción de las enzimas, por fin he encontrado el lugar donde los conceptos se muestran de manera clara y sencilla encajando a la perfección. Por otro lado, el análisis de la confrontación entre las corrientes filosófico-éticas y la Ciencia, es brillante. Es impresionante la forma de desmontar la aproximación de las religiones a la Ciencia y, de manera particular, el destrozo que hace del materialismo dialéctico, base pseudocientífica del marxismo. Cuesta entender cómo este libro no es preponderante en cuanto a referencias frente a "El gen egoísta", libro 6 años posterior y que bebe de manera descarada de Monod. Incluso el concepto de meme es claramente apuntado, aunque no bautizado. Animo sin duda a la lectura de este clásico.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Shane

    A powerful account of a universe without teleology. Essential reading for anybody interested in exploring a novel philosophy for our civilisation, in light of the incredible insights garnered by science.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Kerem Cankocak

    Jacques Monod kitabına yapay ve doğal arasındaki ayrımı sorgulamakla başlar. Burdan canlı cansız ayrımına geçer. Amacı, evrende önceden tasarlanmış bir düzen olup olmadığını sorgulamaktır. Monod’ya göre canlıları cansızlardan ayıran temel özelliklerin başında teleonomi gelir. Genetik olayların anlamlı oluşu ve amaca uygunluğu, bir organizmada bulunan bir yapı ya da işlevin evrimsel bir avantaj olması gereğine bağlılığı düşüncesi olarak özetleyebileceğimiz teleonomi, canlıların sanki bir amaca hi Jacques Monod kitabına yapay ve doğal arasındaki ayrımı sorgulamakla başlar. Burdan canlı cansız ayrımına geçer. Amacı, evrende önceden tasarlanmış bir düzen olup olmadığını sorgulamaktır. Monod’ya göre canlıları cansızlardan ayıran temel özelliklerin başında teleonomi gelir. Genetik olayların anlamlı oluşu ve amaca uygunluğu, bir organizmada bulunan bir yapı ya da işlevin evrimsel bir avantaj olması gereğine bağlılığı düşüncesi olarak özetleyebileceğimiz teleonomi, canlıların sanki bir amaca hizmet eder gibi görünmelerine neden olur. Ancak Monod bir kavrama daha dikkat çeker: değişmezlik! Değişmezlik zorunlu olarak teleonomiden önce gelir. Darwin’in ortaya koymuş olduğu üzere, git gide daha da teleonomik olan yapıların ortaya çıkışlarının, gelişimlerinin ve zamanla incelik kazanmalarının bir nedeni vardır. Bu neden, bir yapının önceden zaten değişmezlik özelliğini barındırması sonucu “rastlantı oyununu muhafaza edebilmesinden” kaynaklanan bir düzen bozukluğuna bağlıdır; çünkü bu yapı, bunların etkilerini doğal seçilim oyununa tâbi kılar. Modern bilimin dayandığı nesnellik olgusunu görmezden gelen düşünürlerin animizm batağına saplandığını söyler Monod. Doğada içkin bir ereksellik arama çabalarının da animizmden kurtulamadığını vurgulayan Monod, Rastlantı ve Zorunluluk'ta daha çok “[Diyalektik materyalizmde] insan düşüncesi tarafından yansıtılan dış dünyanın değişim yasalarını bulan” Marksizmin animist yönü ile hesaplaşır. Kendisini de sosyalist olarak tanımlayan Monod, sosyalizmi diyalektik materyalizm ve tarihsel materyalizm gibi yanlış öncüllerden kurtarmaya çalışır. Ancak animizm Marksizme özgü bir hastalık değildir Monod'ya göre; ilk insanlardan bu yana binlerce yıldır animist düşünceler hakimdir. Günümüzde artık Marksizm oldukça dönüşüm geçirdi, Engelsci diyalektik materyalizm artık çok sınırlı çevreler dışında büyük bir etkiye sahip değil. Ama buradaki boşluğu başka animist düşünceler doldurdu; kapımızda artık daha büyük bir tehlike var. Monod'un işaret ettiği bilim düşmanlığı 1970'lere göre daha da yaygınlaşmış durumda. Ülkemizde evrim gerçeği eğitim programlarından çıkartılıyor. Bütün toplumlarda mistik ve bilim dışı düşünceye olan ilgi arttı. Oysa modern toplumlar bilimin keşfettiği zenginlikleri ve güçleri çoktan kabul ettiler; fakat bilimin en derin mesajını dinlemediler: ''[Modern toplumlar] Bilim’e borçlu olduğu tüm zenginliklerin keyfini sürerken, toplumlarımız bilimin kendisi tarafından kökten çürütülmüş değer sistemlerini yaşamaya ve öğretmeye devam etmekteler.''. Modern toplumlardaki bu ikiyüzlülüğe dikkat çeken Monod'ya göre insanlar bir yandan bilimin sağladığı bütün olanakları kullanırken, öte yandan bilimden çıkan mantıksal sonucu, maddenin kendiliğinden rastlantısal macerasının getirdiği sonucu, özetle bu evrenin bizim için tasarlanmadığı sonucunu kabul etmek istemiyorlar. Bilimin bu soğuk katılığı onları rahatsız ediyor. İnsanlar ''inanmak'' istiyorlar, hayatlarının bir anlamı olması gereğine olan inanç insanları rahatlatıyor. Eski animist bağlardan tamamen kurtulmak için yeni bir etiğe, ‘bilgi etiğine” ihtiyaç duyulduğunu söyler Monod: “Bu belki bir ütopyadır fakat tutarsız bir rüya değildir. Bu kendini yalnızca mantıksal tutarlığından kaynaklanan bir güçten ötürü dayatan bir fikirdir. Gerçeklik arayışının zorunlu olarak götürdüğü sonuçtur. Eski anlaşma feshedilmiştir; insan içinde rastlantısal olarak bulunduğu Evren’in devasa umursamazlığında yalnız olduğunu en sonunda biliyor.” Kerem Cankoçak

  18. 4 out of 5

    Miguel Teles

    Muito interessante, tanto para os leigos no assunto, tendo aqui uma fonte simples e clara para compreender os mecanismos básicos da vida, a base da biologia molecular; seja numa maneira de alguem já com conhecimentos em biologia rever os mecanismos, ganhar novos conceitos como a tríade apresentada para definir um ser vivo (teleonomia, morfogénese autónoma e reprodução invariante - distinguindo-o de um ser artificial), e contactar com várias temáticas filosóficas abordadas ao longo do livro. Sendo Muito interessante, tanto para os leigos no assunto, tendo aqui uma fonte simples e clara para compreender os mecanismos básicos da vida, a base da biologia molecular; seja numa maneira de alguem já com conhecimentos em biologia rever os mecanismos, ganhar novos conceitos como a tríade apresentada para definir um ser vivo (teleonomia, morfogénese autónoma e reprodução invariante - distinguindo-o de um ser artificial), e contactar com várias temáticas filosóficas abordadas ao longo do livro. Sendo um livro de 1970, e apesar de escrito por um biólogo que revolucionou a biologia nessa década (Jacques Monod, Prémio Nobel da Fisiologia/Medicina em 1965) o que está nele demonstrado é apenas a pequena parte, ou o início, do que hoje temos conhecimento, fruto de 40 anos de sucessivas descobertas e actividade científica contínua e prolífica. O livro consiste, então, na demonstração das descobertas cruciais e centrais que deram um novo rumo à biologia, revolucionando a sua vertente molecular. Com grande claridade e simplicidade Monod descreve o papel essencial das proteínas, as suas propriedades químicas e as suas acções a vários níveis micro e macromoleculares, demonstrando assim o seu papel central na distinção entre seres artificiais e seres vivos (apresentando-nos uma interessante definição dos últimos, com base nos conceitos de teleonomia, morfogénese autónoma e reprodução invariante, que define e demonstra nos papéis das proteínas e do ADN), o código genético e a forma de transmissão da informação nele contida, e a teoria da evolução. Além desta vertente mais científica e lúdica, Monod aborda também questões filosóficas, desmistificando antigas teorias que tentaram responder à questão do segredo da vida, as teorias vitalistas e as teorias animistas (que têm em comum defenderem a hipótese de que uma força superior imaterial governa e anima o Universo - o Destino, um ou vários Deuses, o Karma, ou até a Dialética). Com base nas descobertas feitas naquela década Monod conclui que a vida é regrada por um par, que parecendo paradoxal, coexiste nos seres vivos, desde os organismo mais simples até aos mais complexos: Necessidade, ou seja, a existência de uma natureza teleonómica (i.e., com uma finalidade) dos seres vivos e da sua evolução, fim esse o de assegurar a transmissão da sua informação genética para os seus descendentes; e a Chance, ou seja, o carácter aleatório e ditado pela sorte, dos mecanismos subjacentes a essa transmissão e evolução. E finalmente, encarando esta natureza aleatória da vida aborda algumas das suas consequências filosóficas e metafísicas e as questões éticas que se levantam ao nível do comportamento humano: "All the traditional systems placed ethics and values beyond man's reach. Values did not belong to him; they were imposed on him, and he belonged to them. Today he knows they are his and his alone, but now he is master of them they seem to be dissolving in the uncaring emptiness of the universe". A resposta (ou a proposta) de Jacques Monod é o que chamou de Ética do conhecimento, um sistema ético em que o homem escolhe o valor da autencidade, do verdadeiro conhecimento científico, para regrar a sua acção, uma ética que ele se impõe a ele próprio, e não aquelas (as animistas, e até aqui preponderantes) que lhe são impostas.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jens

    This book is an exposition of Monod’s groundbreaking work in the science of molecular biology and what the implications are for our understanding of the world. In doing this he engages with philosophical doctrines he thinks are misguided and proposes a doctrine of his own. One that clearly reflects his background as a scientist but at the same time shows his philosophical literacy and acumen. Monod argues for a postulate of objectivity. Scientists often take the objective view but do not usually This book is an exposition of Monod’s groundbreaking work in the science of molecular biology and what the implications are for our understanding of the world. In doing this he engages with philosophical doctrines he thinks are misguided and proposes a doctrine of his own. One that clearly reflects his background as a scientist but at the same time shows his philosophical literacy and acumen. Monod argues for a postulate of objectivity. Scientists often take the objective view but do not usually realize the seeming contradiction of "objectivity". For, how would a truly objective view--Nagel's 'view from nowhere'--be possible if all knowledge is necessarily human knowledge? Necessarily situated and entangled in the many theoretical preconceptions we have of the world? Not so with Monod, he does not argue for the possibility of pure objectivity, rather, he postulates it. Why does he do so? Because it is the foundation of science and science works. Humanity has long been distracted by all kinds of teleological ideas that confuse subjectivity with objectivity. Vitalisms such as Bergson's creative evolution and animisms such as Marxism project teleology onto nature, reading into it a guiding principle governed by ends like humans are governed by ends. This is a fallacy and he has proven it himself in his molecular work. Nature is mechanistic: it is the 3D structure of proteins that determines function, which is at the basis of cellular metabolism, which is at the basis of organ function, which is at the basis of the organism's functioning. Humans included. Human teleology is reducible to mechanism. And from this the necessity of a postulate of objectivity: to avoid projecting our subjectivity onto nature. So too we need to strictly separate facts and values in our search for the Truth. Monod is aware that a contradiction lurks here, since the postulate itself is clearly the result of a value-judgment; what he calls the ethic of judgment. We are to base our actions on knowledge and to attain the best possible knowledge we require objectivity. Hence the postulate. He even goes so far as to hypothesize a possible foundation for a true socialism on this ethic but leaves it as no more than an afterthought. In conclusion: Chance & Necessity has impressed me very much and is great reading for scientists and philosophers alike. And of course for anyone looking to get a deeper insight into the mind of a great thinker and into the workings of life at the molecular scale.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Zek

    Not to understand the evolution but to understand everything

  21. 4 out of 5

    Mauricio Jaime

    Excelente libro para quienes ven la ciencia como paradigma.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Isabel

    Me encanta la forma en que está escrito el libro, me parece muy interesante como refleja su pasión y su filosofía acerca de la ciencia. Solo a veces difiero con su punto de vista de la teleonomía o teleología (para quien no haga diferencia). Como el mismo Monod dice en el libro: "La Naturaleza es objetiva y no proyectiva" o como lo expone Ernst Mayr, la adaptabilidad es un resultado a posterirori y no a priori. Tal vez sea que es más fácil explicar la "programación" a través de propósitos aparent Me encanta la forma en que está escrito el libro, me parece muy interesante como refleja su pasión y su filosofía acerca de la ciencia. Solo a veces difiero con su punto de vista de la teleonomía o teleología (para quien no haga diferencia). Como el mismo Monod dice en el libro: "La Naturaleza es objetiva y no proyectiva" o como lo expone Ernst Mayr, la adaptabilidad es un resultado a posterirori y no a priori. Tal vez sea que es más fácil explicar la "programación" a través de propósitos aparentes. Pero no hay propósitos en la naturaleza, recordar que son solo apariencias. A veces el autor parece olvidarlo... Por otro lado me encantó el ejemplo que da de un modelo Laplaciano con la parábola del albañil y el doctor. Pero de alguna manera sigo pensando como Laplace, no cabe la palabra azar en la naturaleza. Creo que al igual que la teleonomía, el azar y probabilidades es una forma más sencillo de explicar porque no tenemos todo el conocimiento. Pero son mis creencias, mis sesgos, sin fundamento alguno...

  23. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    It has been a good long time since I read this book. It was an assigned reading from a class at St. John's College. Basically it explores the how the second law of thermodynamics is consistent with evolutionary theory. The science seemed well founded, and the generalized explanation of how evolution works was readable and understandable. It kind of falls apart as he tries to draw political/moral conclusions regarding human freedom based upon biochemistry. Nonetheless, this is an exceptional work It has been a good long time since I read this book. It was an assigned reading from a class at St. John's College. Basically it explores the how the second law of thermodynamics is consistent with evolutionary theory. The science seemed well founded, and the generalized explanation of how evolution works was readable and understandable. It kind of falls apart as he tries to draw political/moral conclusions regarding human freedom based upon biochemistry. Nonetheless, this is an exceptional work and clearly explains how and why evolutionary theory fits within our understanding of the physical laws of the universe.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Ettore1207

    Monod, che non è un divulgatore né vuole esserlo, ha scritto questo fondamentale saggio scientifico-filosofico che risulta piuttosto ostico nelle parti di chimica-biochimica per chi non possiede un bagaglio di cognizioni specifiche. Del resto queste parti sono ormai datate (il libro è del 1970) ma ciò non importa molto, in quanto esse servono soprattutto come base per costruire una visione filosofica della vita e del mondo, della conoscenza e delle idee. Fra i tanti concetti racchiusi in questo Monod, che non è un divulgatore né vuole esserlo, ha scritto questo fondamentale saggio scientifico-filosofico che risulta piuttosto ostico nelle parti di chimica-biochimica per chi non possiede un bagaglio di cognizioni specifiche. Del resto queste parti sono ormai datate (il libro è del 1970) ma ciò non importa molto, in quanto esse servono soprattutto come base per costruire una visione filosofica della vita e del mondo, della conoscenza e delle idee. Fra i tanti concetti racchiusi in questo saggio, vi è quello che spiega come la scienza, che fu dipendente ed asservita alla filosofia, ne abbia oggi assunto un ruolo guida. Senza nulla togliere all'importanza delle due discipline.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Hom Sack

    My interest in the book was piqued by a lecture given October 2013 at the Harvard Museum of Natural History by Sean Carroll on his book about the friendship between Monod and Camus ( The Brave Genius of Albert Camus and Jacques Monod: From the French Resistance to the Nobel Prize ). It seems his background is more interesting than this book. I have no hope of remembering the details of this book. Nevertheless, it has been a worthwhile read. It certainly took me long enough.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Eric

    Écrit par le récipiendaire du prix Nobel de médecine de 1965, cet essai explique au lecteur les principes de base de la biologie moléculaire et à quel point notre métabolisme et notre nature sont nécessairement issus du hasard. Bref, n'en déplaise à certains, nous ne sommes définitivement pas issus de l'esprit inventif et créateur d'une intelligence supérieure. Écrit par le récipiendaire du prix Nobel de médecine de 1965, cet essai explique au lecteur les principes de base de la biologie moléculaire et à quel point notre métabolisme et notre nature sont nécessairement issus du hasard. Bref, n'en déplaise à certains, nous ne sommes définitivement pas issus de l'esprit inventif et créateur d'une intelligence supérieure.

  27. 5 out of 5

    John Jr.

    Yet another book that I read decades ago and still value despite being unable to offer a very detailed account at this point. See other reviews, especially this one: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/... Yet another book that I read decades ago and still value despite being unable to offer a very detailed account at this point. See other reviews, especially this one: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/...

  28. 4 out of 5

    Maurizio Manco

    "L’antica alleanza è infranta; l’uomo finalmente sa di essere solo nell’immensità indifferente dell’Universo da cui è emerso per caso. Il suo dovere, come il suo destino, non è scritto in nessun luogo. A lui la scelta tra il Regno e le tenebre." (pp. 163, 164) "L’antica alleanza è infranta; l’uomo finalmente sa di essere solo nell’immensità indifferente dell’Universo da cui è emerso per caso. Il suo dovere, come il suo destino, non è scritto in nessun luogo. A lui la scelta tra il Regno e le tenebre." (pp. 163, 164)

  29. 5 out of 5

    Marc-André L.

    Cet essai constitue une excellente introduction à la biologie moléculaire et à ses enjeux philosophiques. Ma seule réserve porte sur un passage passablement eugéniste, vers la toute fin de l'ouvrage. Mais c'est d'époque. Cet essai constitue une excellente introduction à la biologie moléculaire et à ses enjeux philosophiques. Ma seule réserve porte sur un passage passablement eugéniste, vers la toute fin de l'ouvrage. Mais c'est d'époque.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Mariana

    Sumamente interesante leer como veían y entendían la biología molecular (y sus implicaciones en evolución) en aquella época, cuando se sabía tan poco de los mecanismos. Además, Monod hizo un trabajo importante de difusión de la ciencia con este libro.

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