Diagrams as locality aids for explanation and model construction in cell biology

Biology and Philosophy 27 (5):705-721 (2012)
Abstract
Using as case studies two early diagrams that represent mechanisms of the cell division cycle, we aim to extend prior philosophical analyses of the roles of diagrams in scientific reasoning, and specifically their role in biological reasoning. The diagrams we discuss are, in practice, integral and indispensible elements of reasoning from experimental data about the cell division cycle to mathematical models of the cycle’s molecular mechanisms. In accordance with prior analyses, the diagrams provide functional explanations of the cell cycle and facilitate the construction of mathematical models of the cell cycle. But, extending beyond those analyses, we show how diagrams facilitate the construction of mathematical models, and we argue that the diagrams permit nomological explanations of the cell cycle. We further argue that what makes diagrams integral and indispensible for explanation and model construction is their nature as locality aids: they group together information that is to be used together in a way that sentential representations do not.
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: 12,088
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
William Bechtel (2005). Explanation: A Mechanist Alternative. Studies in History and Philosophy of Biol and Biomed Sci 36 (2):421--441.
James Robert Brown (1997). Proofs and Pictures. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 48 (2):161-180.
Robert C. Cummins (1975). Functional Analysis. Journal of Philosophy 72 (November):741-64.
William Goodwin (2010). How Do Structural Formulas Embody the Theory of Organic Chemistry? British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 61 (3):621-633.

View all 8 references

Citations of this work BETA
Similar books and articles
Eric Hammer & Norman Danner (1996). Towards a Model Theory of Diagrams. Journal of Philosophical Logic 25 (5):463 - 482.
Sun-Joo Shin (1994). Peirce and the Logical Status of Diagrams. History and Philosophy of Logic 15 (1):45-68.
Letitia Meynell (2008). Why Feynman Diagrams Represent. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 22 (1):39 – 59.
Analytics

Monthly downloads

Added to index

2012-02-03

Total downloads

25 ( #74,055 of 1,101,955 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

7 ( #41,663 of 1,101,955 )

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.