Models and mechanisms: On the methodology of animal extrapolation
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Any account of extrapolation from animal models to humans must confront two basic challenges: explain how extrapolation can be justified even when there are causally relevant differences between model and target, and explain how the suitability of a model can be established given only limited information about the target. We argue that existing approaches to extrapolation—either in terms of capacities or mechanisms—do not adequately address these challenges. However, we propose a further elaboration of the mechanisms approach that provides a better treatment of this issue. The central concept in our proposal is what we term comparative process tracing.
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