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Profile: Jani Raerinne (University of Helsinki)
  1. Jani Raerinne (forthcoming). Evolutionary Contingency, Stability, and Biological Laws. Journal for General Philosophy of Science:1-18.
    The contingency of biological regularities—and its implications for the existence of biological laws—has long puzzled biologists and philosophers. The best argument for the contingency of biological regularities is John Beatty’s evolutionary contingency thesis, which will be re-analyzed here. First, I argue that in Beatty’s thesis there are two versions of strong contingency used as arguments against biological laws that have gone unnoticed by his commentators. Second, Beatty’s two different versions of strong contingency are analyzed in terms of two different stabilities (...)
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  2. Jani Raerinne (2013). Explanatory, Predictive, and Heuristic Roles of Allometries and Scaling Relationships. BioScience 63 (3):191-198.
    Allometries and scaling relationships have become popular among biologists. One reason for this popularity is the generality of these relationships, which has provided authors with hope that allometries and scaling relationships represent biological laws and/or explanatory generalizations. I will discuss three roles of allometries and scaling relationships: the explanatory, the predictive, and the heuristic roles. I will argue that allometries and scaling relationships often function successfully heuristically, that is, by discovering or elucidating phenomena-to-be-explained or “patterns” from data rather than making (...)
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  3. Jani Raerinne (2013). Robustness and Sensitivity of Biological Models. Philosophical Studies 166 (2):285-303.
    The aim of this paper is to develop ideas about robustness analyses. I introduce a form of robustness analysis that I call sufficient parameter robustness, which has been neglected in the literature. I claim that sufficient parameter robustness is different from derivational robustness, the focus of previous research. My purpose is not only to suggest a new taxonomy of robustness, but also to argue that previous authors have concentrated on a narrow sense of robustness analysis, which they have inadequately distinguished (...)
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  4. Jani Raerinne (2013). Stability and Lawlikeness. Biology and Philosophy 28 (5):833-851.
    There appear to be no biological regularities that have the properties traditionally associated with laws, such as an unlimited scope or holding in all or many possible background conditions. Mitchell, Lange, and others have therefore suggested redefining laws to redeem the lawlike status of biological regularities. These authors suggest that biological regularities are lawlike because they are pragmatically or paradigmatically similar to laws or stable regularities. I will review these re-definitions by arguing both that there are difficulties in applying their (...)
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  5. Jani Raerinne (2011). Allometries and Scaling Laws Interpreted as Laws: A Reply to Elgin. Biology and Philosophy 26 (1):99-111.
    I analyze here biological regression equations known in the literature as allometries and scaling laws. My focus is on the alleged lawlike status of these equations. In particular I argue against recent views that regard allometries and scaling laws as representing universal, non-continent, and/or strict biological laws. Although allometries and scaling laws appear to be generalizations applying to many taxa, they are neither universal nor exceptionless. In fact there appear to be exceptions to all of them. Nor are the constants (...)
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  6. Jani Raerinne (2011). Causal and Mechanistic Explanations in Ecology. Acta Biotheoretica 59 (3):251-271.
    How are scientific explanations possible in ecology, given that there do not appear to be many—if any—ecological laws? To answer this question, I present and defend an account of scientific causal explanation in which ecological generalizations are explanatory if they are invariant rather than lawlike. An invariant generalization continues to hold or be valid under a special change—called an intervention—that changes the value of its variables. According to this account, causes are difference-makers that can be intervened upon to manipulate or (...)
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