Theories, models, and equations in biology: The heuristic search for emergent simplifications in neurobiology
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Philosophy of Science 75 (5):1008-1021 (2008)
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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
|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
David Michael Kaplan (2011). Explanation and Description in Computational Neuroscience. Synthese 183 (3):339-373.
M. Chirimuuta (2014). Minimal Models and Canonical Neural Computations: The Distinctness of Computational Explanation in Neuroscience. Synthese 191 (2):127-153.
Andrew Wayne (2012). Emergence and Singular Limits. Synthese 184 (3):341-356.
Similar books and articles
Yoichi Ishida (2009). Sewall Wright and Gustave Malécot on Isolation by Distance. Philosophy of Science 76 (5):784-796.
Rasmus Grønfeldt Winther (2009). Schaffner's Model of Theory Reduction: Critique and Reconstruction. Philosophy of Science 76 (2):119-142.
John Earman (2008). How Determinism Can Fail in Classical Physics and How Quantum Physics Can (Sometimes) Provide a Cure. Philosophy of Science 75 (5):817-829.
John Norton (2008). The Dome: An Unexpectedly Simple Failure of Determinism. Philosophy of Science 75 (5):786-798.
Tudor Baetu (2012). Emergence, Therefore Antireductionism? A Critique of Emergent Antireductionism. Biology and Philosophy 27 (3):433-448.
Kenneth F. Schaffner (1993). Theory Structure, Reduction, and Disciplinary Integration in Biology. Biology and Philosophy 8 (3):319-347.
Sandra D. Mitchell (2008). Exporting Causal Knowledge in Evolutionary and Developmental Biology. Philosophy of Science 75 (5):697-706.
Jim Bogen (2008). The Hodgkin‐Huxley Equations and the Concrete Model: Comments on Craver, Schaffner, and Weber. Philosophy of Science 75 (5):1034-1046.
Axel Leijonhufvud (1997). Models and Theories. Journal of Economic Methodology 4 (2):193-198.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads53 ( #35,375 of 1,413,458 )
Recent downloads (6 months)4 ( #51,999 of 1,413,458 )
How can I increase my downloads?