David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Biology and Philosophy 13 (1):5-36 (1998)
Former discussions of biological generalizations have focused on the question of whether there are universal laws of biology. These discussions typically analyzed generalizations out of their investigative and explanatory contexts and concluded that whatever biological generalizations are, they are not universal laws. The aim of this paper is to explain what biological generalizations are by shifting attention towards the contexts in which they are drawn. I argue that within the context of any particular biological explanation or investigation, biologists employ two types of generations. One type identifies causal regularities exhibited by particular kinds of biological entities. The other type identifies how these entities are distributed in the biological world.
|Keywords||causal contingent distribution essentialism explanation generalization kind law regularity ultimate and proximate explanation universal|
|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 Slutsky (2012). Confusion and Dependence in Uses of History. Synthese 184 (3):261-286.
Michael Strevens (2012). The Explanatory Role of Irreducible Properties. Noûs 46 (4):754-780.
Joel Press (2009). Physical Explanations and Biological Explanations, Empirical Laws and a Priori Laws. Biology and Philosophy 24 (3):359-374.
Daryn Lehoux (2006). Laws of Nature and Natural Laws. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 37 (4):527-549.
C. Kenneth Waters (2004). What Was Classical Genetics? Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 35 (4):783-809.
Similar books and articles
P. Kyle Stanford (2001). The Units of Selection and the Causal Structure of the World. Erkenntnis 54 (2):215-233.
Mehmet Elgin (2006). There May Be Strict Empirical Laws in Biology, After All. Biology and Philosophy 21 (1):119-134.
Sandra D. Mitchell (2002). Ceteris Paribus — an Inadequate Representation for Biological Contingency. Erkenntnis 57 (3):329-350.
Jani Raerinne (2011). Allometries and Scaling Laws Interpreted as Laws: A Reply to Elgin. Biology and Philosophy 26 (1):99-111.
Alex Rosenberg (2001). How is Biological Explanation Possible? British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 52 (4):735-760.
Benoni B. Edin (2008). Assigning Biological Functions: Making Sense of Causal Chains. Synthese 161 (2):203 - 218.
Lane DesAutels (2010). Sober and Elgin on Laws of Biology: A Critique. [REVIEW] Biology and Philosophy 25 (2):249-256.
Michael Esfeld (2005). The Causal Homogeneity of Biological Kinds. History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 27 (3/4):421 - 433.
Gregory J. Morgan (2010). Laws of Biological Design: A Reply to John Beatty. Biology and Philosophy 25 (3):379-389.
Jim Bogen (2005). Regularities and Causality; Generalizations and Causal Explanations. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 36 (2):397-420.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads45 ( #40,335 of 1,102,098 )
Recent downloads (6 months)1 ( #306,622 of 1,102,098 )
How can I increase my downloads?