Generalization and discovery by assuming conserved mechanisms: Cross‐species research on circadian oscillators

Philosophy of Science 76 (5):762-773 (2009)
Abstract
In many domains of biology, explanation takes the form of characterizing the mechanism responsible for a particular phenomenon in a specific biological system. How are such explanations generalized? One important strategy assumes conservation of mechanisms through evolutionary descent. But conservation is seldom complete. In the case discussed, the central mechanism for circadian rhythms in animals was first identified in Drosophila and then extended to mammals. Scientists' working assumption that the clock mechanisms would be conserved both yielded important generalizations and served as a heuristic for discovery, especially when significant differences between the insect and mammalian mechanism were identified. †To contact the author, please write to: Department of Philosophy and Interdisciplinary Programs in Science Studies and Cognitive Science, 0119, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093‐0119; e‐mail: bill@mechanism.ucsd.edu.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
Options
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
 
Download options
PhilPapers Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 11,772
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Citations of this work BETA
Daniel J. Nicholson (2012). The Concept of Mechanism in Biology. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 43 (1):152-163.

View all 8 citations

Similar books and articles
William Bechtel (2005). Explanation: A Mechanist Alternative. Studies in History and Philosophy of Biol and Biomed Sci 36 (2):421--441.
Analytics

Monthly downloads

Added to index

2009-01-28

Total downloads

15 ( #111,936 of 1,099,669 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

3 ( #123,840 of 1,099,669 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature


Discussion
Start a new thread
Order:
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.