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Dec 12th: Jean Gayon

12 December 2017 @ 14 h 30 min - 16 h 00 min UTC+1

Jean Gayon (Univ. Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne & IHPST)

 Title: “Are population genetics models “reversible”: A case test for the problem of the (ir)reversibility of evolution”


Repetitiveness and reversibility have long been considered as characteristic features of scientific knowledge. In theoretical population genetics, repetitiveness is illustrated by a number of genetic equilibria realized under specific conditions. Since these equilibria are maintained despite a continual flux of changes in the course of generations (reshuffling of genes, reproduction…), it can legitimately be said that population genetics reveals important properties of invariance through transformation. Time-reversibility is a more controversial subject. Here, the parallel with classical mechanics is much weaker. Time-reversibility is unquestionable in some stochastic models, but at the cost of a special, probabilistic concept of reversibility. But it does not seem to be a property of the most basic deterministic models describing the dynamics of evolutionary change at the level of populations and genes. Furthermore, various meanings of ‘reversibility’ are distinguished. In particular, time-reversibility should not be confused with retrodictability.

Jean Gayon is invited by PhilInBioMed, ImmunoConcept, and Thomas Pradeu.

More information : PhilInBioMed.

Jean Gayon is Professor Emeritus at Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne. For several years, he was the Director of the Institut d’Histoire et Philosophie des Sciences et des Techniques (IHPST, UMR8590). He is a specialist of history and philosophy of science, and one of the main philosophers of biology in France (and beyond). His work concerns more precisely evolution and genetics. 

Jean Gayon’s Webpage: http://www.ihpst.cnrs.fr/membres/membres-permanents/gayon-jean



Salle de Conférences Rhumatologie
Hôpital Pellegrin, Tripode 12ème étage


Immuno ConcEpT


12 December 2017
14 h 30 min - 16 h 00 min
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