David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Philosophy Compass 2 (3):592–610 (2007)
This article serves as an introduction to the laws-of-biology debate. After introducing the main issues in an introductory section, arguments for and against laws of biology are canvassed in Section 2. In Section 3, the debate is placed in wider epistemological context by engaging a group of scholars who have shifted the focus away from the question of whether there are laws of biology and toward offering good accounts of explanation(s) in the biological sciences. Section 4 introduces two relatively new pieces of science – metabolic scaling theory and ecological stoichiometry – that have not been topics of much discussion by philosophers but are relevant because they have at least some of the hallmarks of laws of nature. Section 5 concludes by pointing out that discovering laws of biology, if any there be, will not necessarily answer the questions raised by the debate in the first place: we will still want to know how biology compares to other sciences, how to characterize its systems and processes, and whether accounts in terms of laws always or usually constitute adequate explanations in various sciences.
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
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
Axel Gelfert (2013). Strategies of Model-Building in Condensed Matter Physics: Trade-Offs as a Demarcation Criterion Between Physics and Biology? Synthese 190 (2):253-272.
Similar books and articles
Andreas Hüttemann, Alexander Reutlinger & Gerhard Schurz, Ceteris Paribus Laws. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Lane DesAutels (2010). Sober and Elgin on Laws of Biology: A Critique. [REVIEW] Biology and Philosophy 25 (2):249-256.
Harold Kincaid (1990). Defending Laws in the Social Sciences. Philosophy of the Social Sciences 20 (1):56?83.
Mehmet Elgin (2003). Biology and a Priori Laws. Philosophy of Science 70 (5):1380--1389.
Mauro Dorato (2012). Mathematical Biology and the Existence of Biological Laws. In DieksD (ed.), Probabilities, Laws and Structure. Springer.
Mehmet Elgin (2006). There May Be Strict Empirical Laws in Biology, After All. Biology and Philosophy 21 (1):119-134.
Mauro Dorato (2012). Mathematical Biology and the Existence of Biological Laws. In D. Dieks, S. Hartmann, T. Uebel & M. Weber (eds.), Probabilities, Laws and Structure. Springer.
Mehmet Elgin (2003). Biology and A Priori Laws. Philosophy of Science 70 (5):1380-1389.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads223 ( #2,854 of 1,413,336 )
Recent downloads (6 months)40 ( #3,641 of 1,413,336 )
How can I increase my downloads?