David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Biology and Philosophy 20 (2-3):257-269 (2005)
Molecular biologists and biochemists often use diagrams to present hypotheses. Analysis of diagrams shows that their content can be expressed with linguistic representations. Why do biologists use visual representations instead? One reason is simple comprehensibility: some diagrams present information which is readily understood from the diagram format, but which would not be comprehensible if the same information was expressed linguistically. But often diagrams are used even when concise, comprehensible linguistic alternatives are available. I explain this phenomenon by showing why diagrammatic representation is especially well suited for a particular kind of explanation common in molecular biology and biochemistry: namely, functional analysis, in which a capacity of the system is explained in terms of capacities of its component parts.
|Keywords||Cummins Diagram Explanation Functional analysis Linguistic Symbol Visual representation|
|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
Dominic McIver Lopes (2009). Drawing in a Social Science: Lithic Illustration. Perspectives on Science 17 (1):pp. 5-25.
Nicholaos Jones & Olaf Wolkenhauer (2012). Diagrams as Locality Aids for Explanation and Model Construction in Cell Biology. Biology and Philosophy 27 (5):705-721.
Benjamin Sheredos, Daniel Burnston, Adele Abrahamsen & William Bechtel (2014). Why Do Biologists Use So Many Diagrams? Philosophy of Science 80 (5):931-944.
Brendan Clarke, Bert Leuridan & Jon Williamson (2013). Modelling Mechanisms with Causal Cycles. Synthese:1-31.
Nicholaos Jones (forthcoming). Bowtie Structures, Pathway Diagrams, and Topological Explanation. Erkenntnis:1-21.
Similar books and articles
Monte Ransome Johnson (2009). The Aristotelian Explanation of the Halo. Apeiron 42 (4):325-357.
James R. Griesemer (1991). Must Scientific Diagrams Be Eliminable? The Case of Path Analysis. Biology and Philosophy 6 (2):155-180.
Letitia Meynell (2008). Why Feynman Diagrams Represent. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 22 (1):39 – 59.
Jessica Carter (2010). Diagrams and Proofs in Analysis. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 24 (1):1 – 14.
Sun-Joo Shin (1994). Peirce and the Logical Status of Diagrams. History and Philosophy of Logic 15 (1):45-68.
Michael Lynch (1991). Science in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction: Moral and Epistemic Relations Between Diagrams and Photographs. [REVIEW] Biology and Philosophy 6 (2):205-226.
Eric Hammer & Norman Danner (1996). Towards a Model Theory of Diagrams. Journal of Philosophical Logic 25 (5):463 - 482.
W. M. Goodwin (2008). Structural Formulas and Explanation in Organic Chemistry. Foundations of Chemistry 10 (2):117-127.
Brice Halimi (2012). Diagrams as Sketches. Synthese 186 (1):387-409.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads69 ( #20,745 of 1,101,604 )
Recent downloads (6 months)4 ( #81,941 of 1,101,604 )
How can I increase my downloads?