The Downs and Ups of Mechanistic Research: Circadian Rhythm Research as an Exemplar [Book Review]

Erkenntnis 73 (3):313 - 328 (2010)
Abstract
In the context of mechanistic explanation, reductionistic research pursues a decomposition of complex systems into their component parts and operations. Using research on the mechanisms responsible for circadian rhythms, I consider both the gains that have been made by discovering genes and proteins that figure in these intracellular oscillators and also highlight the increasingly recognized need to understand higher-level integration, both between cells in the central oscillator and between the central and peripheral oscillators. This history illustrates a common need to complement reductionistic inquiry with investigations at higher-levels. Unlike most other accounts of reduction, the mechanistic framework accommodates this complementary relationship between reductionistic and systems approaches
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Ingo Brigandt (2013). Systems Biology and the Integration of Mechanistic Explanation and Mathematical Explanation. Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 44 (4):477-492.

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