Explaining evolutionary innovations and novelties: Criteria of explanatory adequacy and epistemological prerequisites

Philosophy of Science 75 (5):874-886 (2008)
It is a common complaint that antireductionist arguments are primarily negative. Here I describe an alternative nonreductionist epistemology based on considerations taken from multidisciplinary research in biology. The core of this framework consists in seeing investigation as coordinated around sets of problems (problem agendas) that have associated criteria of explanatory adequacy. These ideas are developed in a case study, the explanation of evolutionary innovations and novelties, which demonstrates the applicability and fruitfulness of this nonreductionist epistemological perspective. This account also bears on questions of conceptual change and theory structure in philosophy of science. †To contact the author, please write to: Department of Philosophy, University of Minnesota, 831 Heller Hall, 271 19th Ave. S., Minneapolis, MN 55455; e‐mail: aclove@umn.edu.
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Adrian Currie (2012). Reports From the High Table. Biology and Philosophy 27 (1):149-158.
Anya Plutynski (2013). Cancer and the Goals of Integration. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C (4):466-476.
Elihu M. Gerson (2013). Integration of Specialties: An Institutional and Organizational View. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 44 (4):515-524.

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