© 2013

Philosophy of Stem Cell Biology

Knowledge in Flesh and Blood


Part of the New Directions in the Philosophy of Science book series (NDPS)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xx
  2. Visceral Phenomena

    1. Melinda Bonnie Fagan
      Pages 1-11
  3. Part I

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 13-13
    2. Melinda Bonnie Fagan
      Pages 15-47
  4. Part II

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 89-89
    2. Melinda Bonnie Fagan
      Pages 91-116
    3. Melinda Bonnie Fagan
      Pages 117-145
    4. Melinda Bonnie Fagan
      Pages 146-170
    5. Melinda Bonnie Fagan
      Pages 171-194
  5. Part III

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 195-195
    2. Melinda Bonnie Fagan
      Pages 197-223
    3. Melinda Bonnie Fagan
      Pages 224-237
  6. Back Matter
    Pages 239-274

About this book


This examination of stem cell biology from a philosophy of science perspective clarifies the field's central concept, the stem cell, as well as its aims, methods, models, explanations and evidential challenges. Relations to systems biology and clinical medicine are also discussed.


biology cell cell biology genes philosophy philosophy of science science systems biology

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Rice UniversityUSA

About the authors

MELINDA BONNIE FAGAN is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Rice University in Houston, Texas, USA. She has PhDs in Biological Sciences (Stanford University, 1998) and History and Philosophy of Science (Indiana University, Bloomington, 2007) and has published over twenty articles and book chapters on biology and philosophy of science.

Bibliographic information


"Melinda Fagan's book on the philosophy of stem cell biology is a superb discussion of this exciting field of contemporary science, and the first book-length philosophical treatment of the subject. It contains a detailed and insightful examination of stem cell science, its structure, methods, and challenges....To conclude, this book, which fills a major gap in contemporary philosophy of science, will be of interest to all philosophers of biology, to philosophers interested in experimental sciences and scientific practice, as well as to stem cell researchers themselves. As an extended discussion of the philosophy of stem cell biology, it will constitute a central work for years to come. The book serves as an ideal point of departure for conducting further philosophical research on the fascinating field of stem cell science, as well as an exemplar for how to approach philosophically today's experimental sciences; a truly impressive achievement."

-Stavros Ionnidis, Metascience (2015) 24:285 288