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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As opposed to a teleological pulling toward some end product, Monod calls this directional vector teleonomic. In chapter four “Microscopic Cybernetics” the author starts out by repeating the characteristic of extreme specificity of enzymes and the extreme efficiency of the chemical machinery in living organisms.

Chance and Necessity by Jacques Monod

The antibody that is able to bind to the antigen is multiplied. 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, znd I am ashamed that my teachers never taught it to me in high school.

At the present time we have no legitimate grounds for either asserting or denying that life got off to but a single start on earth, and that, as a consequence, before it appeared its chances of occurring were next to nil.

He believes that language was the key selective adaptation that led to the evolution of mind.

Jul 25, Adam rated it really liked it Shelves: In chapter eight, “The Frontiers,” Monod captures the sense of wonderment one feels when considering the extraordinary diversity and complexity of organisms that has been brought about through billions of years of evolution when he says “The miracle stands “explained”; it does not strike us as any less miraculous” Monod, Jul 26, Mariana rated it liked it.


Thanks for telling us about the problem. Toward the end of the preface Monod offers apology for any overly tedious or technical sections. This section needs expansion. The basic tenet of this book is that systems in nature with molecular biologysuch as enzymatic biofeedback loops, can be explained without having to invoke final causality.

Rather, it places the thesis part of the dialectic squarely within the organism.

Oct 29, Hom Sack rated it liked it. With that cliffhanger of internal intellectual struggle Monod ends chapter one.

According to the introduction the book’s title was inspired by a line attributed to Democritus”Everything existing in the universe is the fruit of chance and necessity. The kingdom above or the darkness below; it is for him to choose. We would like to think ourselves necessary, inevitable, ordained from all anx.

It is the contingency of human existence that is the central message of Chance and Necessity ; the same message that many will know from the writings of Stephen Jay Gould.

In addition to his teleonomic principle, Monod makes some interesting observations when he applies his objective knowledge to human affairs.

I would like a copy in English. Monod writes that an enzymatic reaction can be seen in two steps: Jacqes asserting the principle of objectivity, which is accepted in modern science, one is choosing to adhere to what Monod calls the ethic of knowledge.

Finally Monod tries to draw some ethical mond political conclusions. Molecular biologist and Nobel-winner Monod takes a look at the philosophical significance of evolution and the genetic code. A chapter on evolution is focused towards understanding human evolution and the development of characteristic human features such as language. Monod hypothesizes that language was not merely the product but one of the driving forces for the evolution of our central nervous system.


The author continues to mention the sterospecific, spontaneous assembly of ribosomes and T4 bacteriophage from their protein constituents in vitro. The real difference is that living creatures are vastly more complicated.

The “error” in the genetic message will be replicated with a high degree of fidelity.

Chance and Necessity – Wikipedia

Humanity has long been distracted by all kinds of teleological ideas that confuse subjectivity with objectivity. Return to Book Page.

Monod reminds us that this reaction comes at the expense of chemical potential energy. In regards to structure, all living beings are made up of proteins and jacwues acids and these are the same residues twenty amino acids and four nucleotides.

He talks briefly about how ideas are selected based on the performance value. Trivia About Chance and Necessity.

Jacques Monod and Chance and Necessity.

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

Is it surprising that, like the person who has just made a million at the casino, we should feel strange and a little unreal? But Monod’s work is one of the most original attempts to work out the philosophical implications of the modern synthesis in biology, and deserves more attention.


Animist philosophy Leibniz, Hegel, Teilhard de Chardin, Marx sees a progressive unfolding of purpose in evolution, leading to its highest expression in man.

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, Jun 18, Jens rated it it was amazing Shelves: 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, When the repressor is in the free state it is able to recognize and bind beta galactosides thus dissociating the operator repressor complex and permitting synthesis of the mRNA and protein.

Once man extended his domain over the subhuman sphere and dominated his environment the main threat became other men and tribal warfare came to be an important evolutionary selection factor and this would favor group cohesion. Next, Monod reviews the primary and tertiary structure of proteins.