David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Biological Theory 4 (3):280-286 (2009)
A classic analytic approach to biological phenomena seeks to refine definitions until classes are sufficiently homogenous to support prediction and explanation, but this approach founders on cases where a single process produces objects with similar forms but heterogeneous behaviors. I introduce object spaces as a tool to tackle this challenging diversity of biological objects in terms of causal processes with well-defined formal properties. Object spaces have three primary components: (1) a combinatorial biological process such as protein synthesis that generates objects with parts that are modular, independent, and organized according to an invariant syntax; (2) a notion of “distance” that relates the objects according to rules of change over time as found in nature or useful for algorithms; (3) mapping functions defined on the space that map its objects to other spaces or apply an evaluative criterion to measure an important quality, such as parsimony or biochemical function. Once defined, an object space can be used to represent and simulate the dynamics of phenomena on multiple scales; it can also be used as a tool for predicting higher-order properties of the objects, including stitching together series of causal processes. Object spaces are the basis for a strategy of theorizing, discovery, and analysis in biology: as heuristic idealizations of biology, they help us transform inchoate, intractable problems into articulated, well-structured ones. Developing an object space is a research strategy with a long, successful history under many other names, and it offers a unifying but not overreaching approach to biological theory.
|Keywords||causation computational biology modeling|
|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
Philipp Mitteroecker & Simon M. Huttegger (2009). The Concept of Morphospaces in Evolutionary and Developmental Biology: Mathematics and Metaphors. Biological Theory 4 (1):54-67.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Robert L. Goldstone (1998). Objects, Please Remain Composed. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 21 (4):472-473.
Giorgio Parisi (2003). Two Spaces Looking for a Geometer. Bulletin of Symbolic Logic 9 (2):181-196.
Mohan P. Matthen (1988). Biological Functions and Perceptual Content. Journal of Philosophy 85 (January):5-27.
Jose Bermudez (2007). The Object Properties Model of Object Perception: Between the Binding Model and the Theoretical Model. Journal of Consciousness Studies 14 (s 9-10):43-65.
Marek Rosiak (2006). Formal and Existential Analysis of Subject and Properties. Poznan Studies in the Philosophy of the Sciences and the Humanities 91 (1):285-299.
John Hawthorne & Theodore Sider (2002). Locations. Philosophical Topics 30 (1):53-76.
Casey O'Callaghan (2008). Object Perception: Vision and Audition. Philosophy Compass 3 (4):803-829.
Daniel R. Brooks, John Collier, Brian A. Maurer, Jonathan D. H. Smith & E. O. Wiley (1989). Entropy and Information in Evolving Biological Systems. Biology and Philosophy 4 (4):407-432.
Rachel Keen & Elizabeth S. Spelke, Young Children's Representations of Spatial and Functional Relations Between Objects.
E. J. Lowe (2007). Sortals and the Individuation of Objects. Mind and Language 22 (5):514–533.
Arciszewski Michal, Reducing the Dauer Larva: Molecular Models of Biological Phenomena in Caenorhabditis Elegans Research.
Lisa Gannett (2003). Making Populations: Bounding Genes in Space and in Time. Philosophy of Science 70 (5):989-1001.
Added to index2012-03-08
Total downloads8 ( #314,729 of 1,777,936 )
Recent downloads (6 months)1 ( #291,290 of 1,777,936 )
How can I increase my downloads?