David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Biology and Philosophy 17 (1):55-70 (2002)
The `fact' of pluralism in science is nosurprise. Yet, if science is representing andexplaining the structure of the oneworld, why is there such a diversity ofrepresentations and explanations in somedomains? In this paper I consider severalphilosophical accounts of scientific pluralismthat explain the persistence of bothcompetitive and compatible alternatives. PaulSherman's `Levels of Analysis' account suggeststhat in biology competition betweenexplanations can be partitioned by the type ofquestion being investigated. I argue that thisaccount does not locate competition andcompatibility correctly. I then defend anintegrative model for understanding pluralism. This view is based on taking seriously both thecomplexity and contingency of biologicalorganization and the idealized character ofbiological models. On this view, explanationbecomes, among other things, the location forthe integration of diverse models. I explicatemy argument by an analysis of explanations ofdivision of labor in social insects.
|Keywords||complexity division of labor idealization levels of analysis pluralism self-organization|
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Citations of this work BETA
Ingo Brigandt (2010). Beyond Reduction and Pluralism: Toward an Epistemology of Explanatory Integration in Biology. [REVIEW] Erkenntnis 73 (3):295-311.
M. Chirimuuta (2013). Extending, Changing, and Explaining the Brain. Biology and Philosophy 28 (4):613-638.
M. Chirimuuta (2014). Minimal Models and Canonical Neural Computations: The Distinctness of Computational Explanation in Neuroscience. Synthese 191 (2):127-153.
Alan C. Love (2006). Reflections on the Middle Stages of EvoDevo's Ontogeny. Biological Theory 1 (1):94-97.
James Griesemer (2013). Integration of Approaches in David Wake's Model-Taxon Research Platform for Evolutionary Morphology. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 44 (4):525-536.
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