Aspects of Reductive Explanation in Biological Science: Intrinsicality, Fundamentality, and Temporality
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
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British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 62 (3):519-549 (2011)
The inapplicability of variations on theory reduction in the context of genetics and their irrelevance to ongoing research has led to an anti-reductionist consensus in philosophy of biology. One response to this situation is to focus on forms of reductive explanation that better correspond to actual scientific reasoning (e.g. part–whole relations). Working from this perspective, we explore three different aspects (intrinsicality, fundamentality, and temporality) that arise from distinct facets of reductive explanation: composition and causation. Concentrating on these aspects generates new forms of reductive explanation and conditions for their success or failure in biology and other sciences. This analysis is illustrated using the case of protein folding in molecular biology, which demonstrates its applicability and relevance, as well as illuminating the complexity of reductive reasoning in a specific biological context.
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Citations of this work BETA
Alan C. Love & Gary L. Lugar (2013). Dimensions of Integration in Interdisciplinary Explanations of the Origin of Evolutionary Novelty. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 44 (4):537-550.
Alexander Reutlinger (forthcoming). Are Causal Facts Really Explanatorily Emergent? Ladyman and Ross on Higher-Level Causal Facts and Renormalization Group Explanation. Synthese.
Sandra D. Mitchell & Angela M. Gronenborn (forthcoming). After Fifty Years, Why Are Protein X-Ray Crystallographers Still in Business? British Journal for the Philosophy of Science:axv051.
Alan C. Love (2015). Collaborative Explanation, Explanatory Roles, and Scientific Explaining in Practice. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 52:88-94.
Sahotra Sarkar (2015). Nagel on reduction11For Discussions, in Some Cases Over Many Decades, Thanks Are Due to Jordi Cat, Alan Love, Ken Schaffner, Abner Shimony, John Stachel, and Bill Wimsatt. Comments by Participants of the Formal Epistemology and the Legacy of Logical Empiricism Workshop and the Audience at a Philosophy Department Seminar at the University of Sydney Were Also Useful. For Comments on Previous Drafts, Thanks Are Due to Justin Garson and Thomas Uebel. [REVIEW] Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 53:43-56.
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