David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Acta Biotheoretica 59 (3):251-271 (2011)
How are scientific explanations possible in ecology, given that there do not appear to be many—if any—ecological laws? To answer this question, I present and defend an account of scientific causal explanation in which ecological generalizations are explanatory if they are invariant rather than lawlike. An invariant generalization continues to hold or be valid under a special change—called an intervention—that changes the value of its variables. According to this account, causes are difference-makers that can be intervened upon to manipulate or control their effects. I apply the account to ecological generalizations to show that invariance under interventions as a criterion of explanatory relevance provides interesting interpretations for the explanatory status of many ecological generalizations. Thus, I argue that there could be causal explanations in ecology by generalizations that are not, in a strict sense, laws. I also address the issue of mechanistic explanations in ecology by arguing that invariance and modularity constitute such explanations
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|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
Jani Raerinne (2013). Robustness and Sensitivity of Biological Models. Philosophical Studies 166 (2):285-303.
Jani Raerinne (2013). Stability and Lawlikeness. Biology and Philosophy 28 (5):833-851.
Similar books and articles
Jim Bogen (2005). Regularities and Causality; Generalizations and Causal Explanations. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 36 (2):397-420.
Philippe Huneman (2010). Topological Explanations and Robustness in Biological Sciences. Synthese 177 (2):213-245.
Viorel Pâslaru (2009). Ecological Explanation Between Manipulation and Mechanism Description. Philosophy of Science 76 (5):821-837.
M. Lange (2013). What Makes a Scientific Explanation Distinctively Mathematical? British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 64 (3):485-511.
David Pineda (2011). Non-Committal Causal Explanations. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 24 (2):147-170.
Gregory Cooper (1998). Generalizations in Ecology: A Philosophical Taxonomy. [REVIEW] Biology and Philosophy 13 (4):555-586.
Erik Weber, Jeroen Van Bouwel & Robrecht Vanderbeeken (2005). Forms of Causal Explanation. Foundations of Science 10 (4):437-454.
Samuli Pöyhönen (2013). Intentional Concepts in Cognitive Neuroscience. Philosophical Explorations (1):1-17.
Ruth Berger (1998). Understanding Science: Why Causes Are Not Enough. Philosophy of Science 65 (2):306-332.
By Nic Damnjanovic (2005). Deflationism and the Success Argument. Philosophical Quarterly 55 (218):53–67.
Added to index2010-12-09
Total downloads60 ( #30,112 of 1,410,159 )
Recent downloads (6 months)2 ( #94,935 of 1,410,159 )
How can I increase my downloads?