David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 52 (4):735-760 (2001)
That biology provides explanations is not open to doubt. But how it does so must be a vexed question for those who deny that biology embodies laws or other generalizations with the sort of explanatory force that the philosophy of science recognizes. The most common response to this problem has involved redefining law so that those grammatically general statements which biologists invoke in explanations can be counted as laws. But this terminological innovation cannot identify the source of biology's explanatory power. I argue that because biological science is historical, the problem of biological explanation can be assimilated to the parallel problem in the philosophy of history, and that the problem was solved by Carl Hempel. All we need to do is recognize that the only laws that biology—in all its compartments from the molecular onward—has or needs are the laws of natural selection.
|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
Nicholaos Jones (2014). Bowtie Structures, Pathway Diagrams, and Topological Explanation. Erkenntnis 79 (5):1135-1155.
José Díez & Pablo Lorenzano (forthcoming). Are Natural Selection Explanatory Models a Priori? Biology and Philosophy:1-23.
Russell Powell (2012). Convergent Evolution and the Limits of Natural Selection. European Journal for Philosophy of Science 2 (3):355-373.
Alexander Reutlinger (2011). A Theory of Non-Universal Laws. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 25 (2):97 - 117.
Charles H. Pence (2015). The Early History of Chance in Evolution. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science 50:48-58.
Similar books and articles
Huib L. de Jong (2002). Levels of Explanation in Biological Psychology. Philosophical Psychology 15 (4):441-462.
Andrew Hamilton (2007). Laws of Biology, Laws of Nature: Problems and (Dis)Solutions. Philosophy Compass 2 (3):592–610.
Not By Me (1983). Historical Laws in Modern Biology. Acta Biotheoretica 32 (3).
Mehmet Elgin (2003). Biology and A Priori Laws. Philosophy of Science 70 (5):1380-1389.
Gregory Cooper (1996). Theoretical Modeling and Biological Laws. Philosophy of Science 63 (3):35.
Joel Press (2009). Physical Explanations and Biological Explanations, Empirical Laws and a Priori Laws. Biology and Philosophy 24 (3):359-374.
Mehmet Elgin (2006). There May Be Strict Empirical Laws in Biology, After All. Biology and Philosophy 21 (1):119-134.
Lee Mcintyre (1997). Gould on Laws in Biological Science. Biology and Philosophy 12 (3):357-367.
C. Kenneth Waters (1998). Causal Regularities in the Biological World of Contingent Distributions. Biology and Philosophy 13 (1):5-36.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads68 ( #47,323 of 1,725,158 )
Recent downloads (6 months)12 ( #56,059 of 1,725,158 )
How can I increase my downloads?