Chance and Necessity: An Essay on the Natural Philosophy of Modern Biology [ Jacques Monod, Austryn Wainhouse] on *FREE* shipping on. Jacques Monod () was a French biologistwidely regarded as the ” father of molecular biology”who was awarded a Nobel Prize in Physiology or. Jacques Monod ( – ) was a French biologist who was awarded a Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in for his discoveries in.

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First the folding of the polypeptide sequence into globular proteins, then the association between proteins into organelles, thirdly the interactions between cells that make up tissue and organs, and lastly “coordination and differentiation of chemical activities via allosteric-type interactions” Monod Monod thinks that Christianity, Marxism and all other “animist” philosophies are equally off-target.

Necsesity looks at the monld basis of Marxism, which, he persuasively argues, is really just another example of what he refers to as “animism”: Monod offers a single exception to this last criterion in the form of a crystal and, at this point, he states that the internal forces that determine structure within living beings are “of the same nature qnd the microscopic interactions responsible for crystalline morphologies” Monod, 11a theme that he promises to develop in later chapters.

Jacques Monod and Chance and Necessity.

At the core of the book is a resolution of the contradiction between jacqufs seemingly goal-oriented nature of evolution and definitely goal-oriented nature of organisms and the essential randomness and chance underlying evolution’s mechanics. 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. You can help by adding to it.

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. The emphasis is on proteins rather than on nucleic acids, and in particular their status as teleonomic agents: Monod describes as “the frontier” the work that is to be done that will enable us to understand how this instrument of intuitive preconception works.


Today he knows they are his and his alone, hecessity now he is master of them they seem to be dissolving in the uncaring emptiness of the universe”.


This radical book by Nobel laureate Monod cbance an important intellectual event. And of course those with an interest in biology may want to read Chance and Necessity just for that — Monod did win a Nobel prize for his work in biochemistry, and his perspective on the subject is sufficiently distinctive to be worth putting up with some philosophy for.

Feedback activation is when the enzyme is activated by a product of degradation of the terminal metabolite. If you can not face this, if you insist that your choice of value system is any less arbitrary than Monod’s own, if you cling to a “covenant” between man and the universe, then you will find Chance and Necessity unsettling.

Values did not belong to him; they were imposed on him, and he belonged to them. If you want to pin Lysenkoism on someone, the jacquws culprit is Lysenko himself, and the next most obvious is his protector Stalin. He explains that galactoside permease one of the proteins in the lactose cchance enables the galactoside sugars to penetrate and accumulate within the cell.

He lists the prime functions of the brain in mammals as control and coordination of neuromuscular activity, to set into monnod innate programs of action in response to stimuli, to integrate sensory inputs, to register, group, and associate significant events, and to represent and simulate. He shows how difficult it is to frame clear rules to distinguish them, and concludes that there is in necessitt no hard-and-fast difference separating a living creature from a crystal.

Monod lists and defines four regulatory patterns.

Chance and Necessity – Wikipedia

That mutations are unpredictable, faithfully replicated, and that natural selection operates only upon the products of chance is repeated at the start of chapter seven entitled “Evolution”.

It was an assigned reading from a class at St. Sep 17, Miguel Teles rated it really liked it Shelves: He says this “random” message seems to be composed haphazardly from a random origin and he ends the chapter poetically: All religions, nearly all philosophies, and even a part of science testify to the unwearying, heroic effort of mankind desperately denying its own contingency” Monod, Monod states that the decisive factor in natural selection is not the “struggle for life” but is the differential rate of reproduction and the only mutations “acceptable” to an organism are those that “do not lessen the coherence of the teleonomic apparatus, but rather, further strengthen it in its already assumed orientation” Monod, 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 briefly discusses the murky metaphysical vitalism of Henri Bergson and then discusses the scientific vitalism of Elsasser and Polanyi which contend that physical forces and chemical interactions that have been studied in non-living matter do not fully account for invariance and teleonomy and therefore other “biotonic laws” are at work in living matter.

Finally Monod tries to draw some ethical and political conclusions.

In chapter two “Vitalisms and Mknod Monod states that invariance must have preceded teleonomy, a conclusion reached by the Darwinian idea that teleonomic structures are due to variations in structures that already had the property of invariance and could therefore preserve the effects of chance mutations.

He lists the components of the regulatory system as i, the regulator gene that directs constant synthesis of the repressor protein Ro, the operator segment of DNA that the repressor specifically recognizes and forms a stable complex with, and p, the DNA promoter where RNA polymerase binds.

Chance and Necessity by Jacques Monod

Three stages that led to the emergence of the first organism are proposed. Monod believes the ultimate aim of science jscques to “clarify man’s relationship to the universe” Monod, xi and from that reasoning he accords biology a central role.

Nevertheless, it has been a worthwhile read. The author then says that in the rest of the chapter he will address religious ideologies and philosophical systems that assume the reverse hypothesis: The sequence of nucleotides in DNA defines the sequence of amino acids which in turn defines the folding of proteins which in turn defines an organism; “One must regard the total organism as the chnce epigenetic expression of the genetic message itself” Monod, Monod argues for a postulate of objectivity.

And of course for anyone looking to get a deeper insight into the mind of necesslty great thinker and into the workings of life at the molecular scale.

Monod next points out that our ancestors had a history of animating objects by giving spirits to them so as to bridge the apparent gap between the living and non-living.