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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Monod points out that this animist line of thought is still present in philosophy that makes no essential distinction between matter and life and frames biological evolution as a component of cosmic evolution evolutive force operating throughout the entire universe.

While some might choose to build a world-view on this, you don’t have to subscribe to any of it; by Monod’s own cognisance, you can make your own “free choice”. Monod was evidently a very deep thinker. This article needs additional citations for verification. 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.

Monod, appalled at Lysenko’s mendacious pseudo-scientific nonsense, tore it to pieces. Allosteric interactions are mediated by discrete shifts in the proteins structure and this allows certain proteins to assume different conformational states.

In my opinion, Monod comes close to demonstrating that any such belief must be essentially irrational or anti-scientific. Mar 23, Michael rated it really liked it. Monod spends some time stressing that there need be no chemical relationship between a substrate and an allosteric ligand and it is this “gratuity” that has allowed molecular evolution to make a huge network of interconnections and make each organism an autonomous functional unit. He lists the prime functions of the brain in mammals as control and coordination of neuromuscular activity, to set into action innate programs of action in response to stimuli, to integrate sensory inputs, to register, group, and associate significant events, and to represent and simulate.

Activation through a precursor is defined as when an enzyme is activated by a precursor of its substrate and a particularly frequent case of this is activation of the enzyme by the substrate itself. The end products of this are all the various life forms in our biosphere. It certainly took me long enough. This remarkable example shows chance as the basis for one of the most precise adaptation phenomena.


Because it is the foundation of science and science works. The author believes that we contain an inborn genetic need to search out the meaning of existence and that is responsible for the creation of myths, religion, and philosophy.

Chance and Necessity

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.

Toward the end of the preface Monod offers apology for any overly tedious or technical sections. The author spends much of the chapter reviewing general facts of biochemistry.

The foremost problem with that approach is his belief that cognitive sophistication alone is sufficient to solve our survival and life problems.

He believes this understanding will enable mankind to eliminate the dualism of differentiating between the brain and the mind. At the end of this chapter Monod states that the thesis he “shall present in this book is that the biosphere does not contain a predictable class of objects or of events but constitutes a particular occurrence, compatible indeed with first principles, but not deducible from those principles and therefore essentially unpredictable” Monod, Monod makes the point that selection of a mutation is due to the environmental surroundings of the organism and the teleonomic performances.

He talks about the extraordinary specificity of action that enzymes display as exemplified by their ability to not only recognize a specific geometric isomer but an optical isomer as well.

Chance and Necessity (Jacques Monod) – book review

He shows how these enzymes konod 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.

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 mohod taught it to me in high school. He bases his argument on the evidence of modern biology, which indisputably shows, that man is the product of chance genetic mutation.

Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. This article has multiple issues. But I get the impression that he jaqcues thought a great deal about how things had got to this point, and discussed the ideas with Camus and other people.


This book is so important.

No trivia or quizzes yet. Language neceseity the key for the development of our cognition, including most importantly the capacity for simulation. The author points out that non-covalent interactions attain stability only through numerous interactions and when applied over short distances.

Jacques Monod

This jarring and isolating revelation places value judgments within the hands of man himself. For a Christian, that purpose comes from God, and for a Marxist it comes from the dialectical interpretation of history. Please help improve it or discuss these issues on the talk page. As a consequence of protomer assembly, each subunit is constrained by its neighbor.

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. He believes that rudimentary symbolic communication appeared early on and created a new selective pressure that favored development of linguistic ability and hence the brain.

Quotes from Le Hasard et la N Nevertheless, it has been a worthwhile read. This teleonomic principle stands in contrast, Monod argues, with vitalism and animism. Our values are rooted in animism and are at odds with objective knowledge and truth.

The similarity throughout all organisms of chemical machinery in both structure and function is set out. Basically it explores the how the second law of thermodynamics is consistent with evolutionary theory. It is interesting that nowhere in this book does Monod talk about human motivation and our emotional make up. Study of the control of expression of genes in the lac operon provided the first example of a transcriptional regulation system.

With that cliffhanger of internal intellectual struggle Monod ends chapter one. He implies that this genetic component accounts for religion being the base of social structure and the reoccurrence of the same essential form in myths, religion, and philosophy. This spontaneity is due to the fact that the chemical potential needed to form the oligomer is present in the solution of monomers and because the bonds formed are non-covalent.

But it is not an incoherent dream. Everybody should read this. The author points out that the scientific vitalist argument lacks support and that it draws its justification not from knowledge or observations but from our present day lack of knowledge.