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Profile: Arnon Levy (Hebrew University of Jerusalem)
  1. Sara Green, Arnon Levy & William Bechtel (forthcoming). Design Sans Adaptation. European Journal for Philosophy of Science:1-15.
    Design thinking in general, and optimality modeling in particular, have traditionally been associated with adaptationism—a research agenda that gives pride of place to natural selection in shaping biological characters. Our goal is to evaluate the role of design thinking in non-evolutionary analyses. Specifically, we focus on research into abstract design principles that underpin the functional organization of extant organisms. Drawing on case studies from engineering-inspired approaches in biology we show how optimality analysis, and other design-related methods, play a specific methodological (...)
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  2. Arnon Levy (forthcoming). Modeling Without Models. Philosophical Studies:1-18.
    Modeling is an important scientific practice, yet it raises significant philosophical puzzles. Models are typically idealized, and they are often explored via imaginative engagement and at a certain “distance” from empirical reality. These features raise questions such as what models are and how they relate to the world. Recent years have seen a growing discussion of these issues, including a number of views that treat modeling in terms of indirect representation and analysis. Indirect views treat the model as a bona (...)
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  3. Arnon Levy (2014). Machine-Likeness and Explanation by Decomposition. Philosophers' Imprint 14 (6).
    Analogies to machines are commonplace in the life sciences, especially in cellular and molecular biology — they shape conceptions of phenomena and expectations about how they are to be explained. This paper offers a framework for thinking about such analogies. The guiding idea is that machine-like systems are especially amenable to decompositional explanation, i.e., to analyses that tease apart underlying components and attend to their structural features and interrelations. I argue that for decomposition to succeed a system must exhibit causal (...)
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  4. Arnon Levy (2013). Anchoring Fictional Models. Biology and Philosophy 28 (4):693-701.
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  5. Arnon Levy (2013). Three Kinds of New Mechanism. Biology and Philosophy 28 (1):99-114.
    I distinguish three theses associated with the new mechanistic philosophy – concerning causation, explanation and scientific methodology. Advocates of each thesis are identified and relationships among them are outlined. I then look at some recent work on natural selection and mechanisms. There, attention to different kinds of New Mechanism significantly affects of what is at stake.
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  6. Arnon Levy (2013). What Was Hodgkin and Huxley's Achievement? British Journal for the Philosophy of Science (3):axs043.
    The Hodgkin–Huxley (HH) model of the action potential is a theoretical pillar of modern neurobiology. In a number of recent publications, Carl Craver ([2006], [2007], [2008]) has argued that the model is explanatorily deficient because it does not reveal enough about underlying molecular mechanisms. I offer an alternative picture of the HH model, according to which it deliberately abstracts from molecular specifics. By doing so, the model explains whole-cell behaviour as the product of a mass of underlying low-level events. The (...)
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  7. Arnon Levy & William Bechtel (2013). Abstraction and the Organization of Mechanisms. Philosophy of Science 80 (2):241-261.
  8. Arnon Levy (2012). Models, Fictions, and Realism: Two Packages. Philosophy of Science 79 (5):738-748.
    Some philosophers of science – the present author included – appeal to fiction as an interpretation of the practice of modeling. This raises the specter of an incompatibility with realism, since fiction-making is essentially non-truth-regulated. I argue that the prima facie conflict can be resolved in two ways, each involving a distinct notion of fiction and a corresponding formulation of realism. The main goal of the paper is to describe these two packages. Toward the end I comment on how to (...)
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  9. Arnon Levy (2011). Game Theory, Indirect Modeling, and the Origin of Morality. Journal of Philosophy 108 (4):171-187.
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  10. Arnon Levy (2011). Information in Biology: A Fictionalist Account. Noûs 45 (4):640-657.
  11. Arnon Levy (2011). Makes a Difference. Biology and Philosophy 26 (3):459-467.
    Michael Strevens has produced an ambitious and comprehensive new account of scientific explanation. This review discusses its main themes, focusing on regularity explanation and a number of methodological concerns.
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  12. Arnon Levy (2009). Explaining What? Review of Explaining the Brain: Mechanisms and the Mosaic Unity of Neuroscience by Carl F. Craver. Biology and Philosophy 24 (1).
    Carl Craver’s recent book offers an account of the explanatory and theoretical structure of neuroscience. It depicts it as centered around the idea of achieving mechanistic understanding, i.e., obtaining knowledge of how a set of underlying components interacts to produce a given function of the brain. Its core account of mechanistic explanation and relevance is causal-manipulationist in spirit, and offers substantial insight into casual explanation in brain science and the associated notion of levels of explanation. However, the focus on mechanistic (...)
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  13. Arnon Levy (2009). Carl F. Craver, Explaining What? Review of Explaining the Brain: Mechanisms and the Mosaic Unity of Neuroscience. Biology and Philosophy 24 (1):137-145.
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  14. Arnon Levy & Eva Jablonka (2004). Marcello Barbieri (2003). The Organic Codes: An Introduction to Semantic Biology. Acta Biotheoretica 52 (1).
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