Theories, models, and equations in biology: The heuristic search for emergent simplifications in neurobiology

Philosophy of Science 75 (5):1008-1021 (2008)
Abstract
This article considers claims that biology should seek general theories similar to those found in physics but argues for an alternative framework for biological theories as collections of prototypical interlevel models that can be extrapolated by analogy to different organisms. This position is exemplified in the development of the Hodgkin‐Huxley giant squid model for action potentials, which uses equations in specialized ways. This model is viewed as an “emergent unifier.” Such unifiers, which require various simplifications, involve the types of heuristics discussed in Wimsatt’s writings on reduction, but with a twist. Here, the heuristics are used to generate emergent rather than reductive explanations. †To contact the author, please write to: Department of History and Philosophy of Science, University of Pittsburgh, 1017 Cathedral of Learning, Pittsburgh, PA 15260; e‐mail: kfs@pitt.edu.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
Options
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
 
Download options
PhilPapers Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 10,337
External links
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
Similar books and articles
Analytics

Monthly downloads

Added to index

2009-01-28

Total downloads

49 ( #31,640 of 1,096,600 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

6 ( #37,677 of 1,096,600 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature


Discussion
Start a new thread
Order:
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.