Search results for 'biology' (try it on Scholar)

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  1. Mehmet Elgin (2006). There May Be Strict Empirical Laws in Biology, After All. Biology and Philosophy 21 (1):119-134.score: 21.0
    This paper consists of four parts. Part 1 is an introduction. Part 2 evaluates arguments for the claim that there are no strict empirical laws in biology. I argue that there are two types of arguments for this claim and they are as follows: (1) Biological properties are multiply realized and they require complex processes. For this reason, it is almost impossible to formulate strict empirical laws in biology. (2) Generalizations in biology hold contingently but laws go (...)
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  2. David N. Stamos (1996). Popper, Falsifiability, and Evolutionary Biology. Biology and Philosophy 11 (2):161-191.score: 21.0
    First, a brief history is provided of Popper's views on the status of evolutionary biology as a science. The views of some prominent biologists are then canvassed on the matter of falsifiability and its relation to evolutionary biology. Following that, I argue that Popper's programme of falsifiability does indeed exclude evolutionary biology from within the circumference of genuine science, that Popper's programme is fundamentally incoherent, and that the correction of this incoherence results in a greatly expanded and (...)
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  3. Lane DesAutels (2010). Sober and Elgin on Laws of Biology: A Critique. [REVIEW] Biology and Philosophy 25 (2):249-256.score: 21.0
    In this short discussion note, I discuss whether any of the generalizations made in biology should be construed as laws. Specifically, I examine a strategy offered by Elliot Sober ( 1997 ) and supported by Mehmet Elgin ( 2006 ) to reformulate certain biological generalizations so as to eliminate their contingency, thereby allowing them to count as laws. I argue that this strategy entails a conception of laws that is unacceptable on two counts: (1) Sober and Elgin’s approach allows (...)
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  4. Yew-Kwang Ng (1995). Towards Welfare Biology: Evolutionary Economics of Animal Consciousness and Suffering. [REVIEW] Biology and Philosophy 10 (3):255-285.score: 21.0
    Welfare biology is the study of living things and their environment with respect to their welfare (defined as net happiness, or enjoyment minus suffering). Despite difficulties of ascertaining and measuring welfare and relevancy to normative issues, welfare biology is a positive science. Evolutionary economics and population dynamics are used to help answer basic questions in welfare biology: Which species are affective sentients capable of welfare? Do they enjoy positive or negative welfare? Can their welfare be dramatically increased? (...)
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  5. Massimo Pigliucci (2006). Evolutionary Biology: Puzzle Solving or Paradigm Shifting? Quarterly Review of Biology 81 (4):377-379.score: 21.0
    How does evolutionary biology fit with Thomas Kuhn's famous distinction between puzzle solving and paradigm shifts in science?
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  6. Raphael Scholl & Massimo Pigliucci (forthcoming). The Proximate–Ultimate Distinction and Evolutionary Developmental Biology: Causal Irrelevance Versus Explanatory Abstraction. Biology and Philosophy:1-18.score: 21.0
    Mayr’s proximate–ultimate distinction has received renewed interest in recent years. Here we discuss its role in arguments about the relevance of developmental to evolutionary biology. We show that two recent critiques of the proximate–ultimate distinction fail to explain why developmental processes in particular should be of interest to evolutionary biologists. We trace these failures to a common problem: both critiques take the proximate–ultimate distinction to neglect specific causal interactions in nature. We argue that this is implausible, and that the (...)
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  7. Arno Wouters (2005). The Functional Perspective of Organismal Biology. In Thomas Reydon & Lia Hemerik (eds.), Current Themes in Theoretical Biology. Springer. 33--69.score: 21.0
    Following Mayr (1961) evolutionary biologists often maintain that the hallmark of biology is its evolutionary perspective. In this view, biologists distinguish themselves from other natural scientists by their emphasis on why-questions. Why-questions are legitimate in biology but not in other natural sciences because of the selective character of the process by means of which living objects acquire their characteristics. For that reason, why-questions should be answered in terms of natural selection. Functional biology is seen as a reductionist (...)
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  8. Claus Emmeche (1991). A Semiotical Reflection on Biology, Living Signs and Artificial Life. Biology and Philosophy 6 (3):325-340.score: 21.0
    It is argued, that theory sf signs, especially in the tradition of the great philosopher Charles Sanders Peirce (1839–1914) can inspire the study of central problems in the philosophy of biology. Three such problems are considered: (1) The nature of biology as a science, where a semiotically informed pluralistic approach to the theory of science is introduced. (2) The peculiarity of the general object of biology, where a realistic interpretation of sign- and information-concepts is required to see (...)
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  9. Jay Odenbaugh (2006). The Strategy of “the Strategy of Model Building in Population Biology”. Biology and Philosophy 21 (5):607-621.score: 21.0
    In this essay, I argue for four related claims. First, Richard Levins’ classic “The Strategy of Model Building in Population Biology” was a statement and defense of theoretical population biology growing out of collaborations between Robert MacArthur, Richard Lewontin, E. O. Wilson, and others. Second, I argue that the essay served as a response to the rise of systems ecology especially as pioneered by Kenneth Watt. Third, the arguments offered by Levins against systems ecology and in favor of (...)
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  10. Rasmus Grønfeldt Winther (2006). Parts and Theories in Compositional Biology. Biology and Philosophy 21 (4):471-499.score: 21.0
    I analyze the importance of parts in the style of biological theorizing that I call compositional biology. I do this by investigating various aspects, including partitioning frames and explanatory accounts, of the theoretical perspectives that fall under and are guided by compositional biology. I ground this general examination in a comparative analysis of three different disciplines with their associated compositional theoretical perspectives: comparative morphology, functional morphology, and developmental biology. I glean data for this analysis from canonical textbooks (...)
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  11. Greg Frost-Arnold (2004). How to Be an Anti-Reductionist About Developmental Biology: Response to Laubichler and Wagner. [REVIEW] Biology and Philosophy 19 (1):75-91.score: 21.0
    Alexander Rosenberg recently claimed (1997) that developmental biology is currently being reduced to molecular biology. cite several concrete biological examples that are intended to impugn Rosenberg's claim. I first argue that although Laubichler and Wagner's examples would refute a very strong reductionism, a more moderate reductionism would escape their attacks. Next, taking my cue from the antireductionist's perennial stress on the importance of spatial organization, I describe one form an empirical finding that refutes this moderate reductionism would take. (...)
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  12. Michael Lewis (2005). Indian Science for Indian Tigers?: Conservation Biology and the Question of Cultural Values. [REVIEW] Journal of the History of Biology 38 (2):185 - 207.score: 21.0
    The implementation of Project Tiger in India, 1973-1974, was justly hailed as a triumph of international environmental advocacy. It occurred as a growing number of conservation-oriented biologists were beginning to argue forcefully for scientifically managed conservation of species and ecosystems -- the same scientists who would, by the mid-1980s, call themselves conservation biologists. Although India accepted international funds to implement Project Tiger, it strictly limited research posts to Government of India Foresters, against the protests of Indian and US biologists who (...)
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  13. Adam R. Shapiro (2008). Civic Biology and the Origin of the School Antievolution Movement. Journal of the History of Biology 41 (3):409 - 433.score: 21.0
    In discussing the origins of the antievolution movement in American high schools within the framework of science and religion, much is overlooked about the influence of educational trends in shaping this phenomenon. This was especially true in the years before the 1925 Scopes trial, the beginnings of the school antievolution movement. There was no sudden realization in the 1920's – sixty years after the "Origin of Species" was published – that Darwinism conflicted with the Bible, but until evolution was being (...)
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  14. Mark B. Adams (2000). Last Judgment: The Visionary Biology of J. B. S. Haldane. [REVIEW] Journal of the History of Biology 33 (3):457 - 491.score: 21.0
    This paper seeks to reinterpret the life and work of J. B. S. Haldane by focusing on an illuminating but largely ignored essay he published in 1927, "The Last Judgment" -- the sequel to his better known work, "Daedalus" (1924). This astonishing essay expresses a vision of the human future over the next 40,000,000 years, one that revises and updates Wellsian futurism with the long range implications of the "new biology" for human destiny. That vision served as a kind (...)
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  15. Francisco Jose Ayala & Theodosius Grigorievich Dobzhansky (eds.) (1974). Studies in the Philosophy of Biology: Reduction and Related Problems. University of California Press.score: 21.0
    . Introductory Remarks THEODOSIUS DOBZHANSKY The problems of reduction in biology are currently of considerable theoretical interest and practical ...
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  16. Stefan Linquist (2008). But is It Progress? On the Alleged Advances of Conservation Biology Over Ecology. Biology and Philosophy 23 (4):529-544.score: 21.0
    As conservation biology has developed as a distinct discipline from ecology, conservation guidelines based on ecological theory have been largely cast aside in favor of theory-independent decision procedures for designing conservation reserves. I argue that this transition has failed to advance the field toward its aim of preserving biodiversity. The abandonment of island biogeography theory in favor of complementarity-based algorithms is a case in point. In what follows, I consider the four central objections raised against island biogeographic conservation guidelines, (...)
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  17. William Bechtel (1993). Integrating Sciences by Creating New Disciplines: The Case of Cell Biology. [REVIEW] Biology and Philosophy 8 (3):277-299.score: 21.0
    Many studies of the unification of science focus on the theories of different disciplines. The model for integration is the theory reduction model. This paper argues that the embodiment of theories in scientists, and the institutions in which scientists work and the instruments they employ, are critical to the sort of integration that actually occurs in science. This paper examines the integration of scientific endeavors that emerged in cell biology in the period after World War II when the development (...)
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  18. John C. Greene (1999). Reflections on Ernst Mayr's This is Biology. Biology and Philosophy 14 (1):103-116.score: 21.0
    In this essay I argue that Ernst Mayr's idea that the emergence of evolutionary biology in Western thought was delayed by the pernicious influence of the false ideologies of Platonism, Christianity, and physicalism is ahistorical and anti-evolutionary, that similar ideas, especially his antipathy to physicalism, prejudice his account of the transformation of natural history and medical science into biology, that his organicist resolution of the perennial conflict between mechanism and vitalism is an unstable compound of semi-holism and semi-mechanism, (...)
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  19. Alan C. Love (2003). Evolutionary Morphology, Innovation, and the Synthesis of Evolutionary and Developmental Biology. Biology and Philosophy 18 (2):309-345.score: 21.0
    One foundational question in contemporarybiology is how to `rejoin evolution anddevelopment. The emerging research program(evolutionary developmental biology or`evo-devo) requires a meshing of disciplines,concepts, and explanations that have beendeveloped largely in independence over the pastcentury. In the attempt to comprehend thepresent separation between evolution anddevelopment much attention has been paid to thesplit between genetics and embryology in theearly part of the 20th century with itscodification in the exclusion of embryologyfrom the Modern Synthesis. This encourages acharacterization of evolutionary developmentalbiology as the (...)
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  20. William Bechtel (2007). In Search of Mitochondrial Mechanisms: Interfield Excursions Between Cell Biology and Biochemistry. Journal of the History of Biology 40 (1):1 - 33.score: 21.0
    Developing models of biological mechanisms, such as those involved in respiration in cells, often requires collaborative effort drawing upon techniques developed and information generated in different disciplines. Biochemists in the early decades of the 20th century uncovered all but the most elusive chemical operations involved in cellular respiration, but were unable to align the reaction pathways with particular structures in the cell. During the period 1940-1965 cell biology was emerging as a new discipline and made distinctive contributions to understanding (...)
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  21. Manfred D. Laubichler, Edward H. Hagen & Peter Hammerstein (2005). The Strategy Concept and John Maynard Smith's Influence on Theoretical Biology. Biology and Philosophy 20 (5):1041-1050.score: 21.0
    Here we argue that the concept of strategies, as it was introduced into biology by John Maynard Smith, is a prime illustration of the four dimensions of theoretical biology in the post-genomic era. These four dimensions are: data analysis and management, mathematical and computational model building and simulation, concept formation and analysis, and theory integration. We argue that all four dimensions of theoretical biology are crucial to future interactions between theoretical and empirical biologists as well as with (...)
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  22. Holmes Rolston (1990). Biology and Philosophy in Yellowstone. Biology and Philosophy 5 (2):241-258.score: 21.0
    Yellowstone National Park poses critical issues in biology and philosophy. Among these are (1) how to value nature, especially at the ecosystem level, and whether to let nature take its course or employ hands-on scientific management; (2) the meaning of natural as this operates in park policy; (3) establishing biological claims on th scale of regional systems; (4) the interplay of natural and cultural history, involving both native and European Americans; (5) and sociopolitical forces as determinants in biological discovery. (...)
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  23. Alfonso Arroyo-Santos, Mark E. Olson & Francisco Vergara-Silva (2013). The Phylogeography Debate and the Epistemology of Model-Based Evolutionary Biology. Biology and Philosophy:1-18.score: 21.0
    Phylogeography, a relatively new subdicipline of evolutionary biology that attempts to unify the fields of phylogenetics and population biology in an explicit geographical context, has hosted in recent years a highly polarized debate related to the purported benefits and limitations that qualitative versus quantitative methods might contribute or impose on inferential processes in evolutionary biology. Here we present a friendly, non-technical introduction to the conflicting methods underlying the controversy, and exemplify it with a balanced selection of quotes (...)
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  24. Gregory J. Morgan (2001). Bacteriophage Biology and Kenneth Schaffner's Rendition of Developmentalism. Biology and Philosophy 16 (1):85-92.score: 21.0
    In this paper I consider Kenneth Schaffner''s(1998) rendition of ''''developmentalism'''' from the point of viewof bacteriophage biology. I argue that the fact that a viablephage can be produced from purified DNA and host cellularcomponents lends some support to the anti-developmentalist, ifthey first show that one can draw a principled distinctionbetween genetic and environmental effects. The existence ofhost-controlled phage host range restriction supports thedevelopmentalist''s insistence on the parity of DNA andenvironment. However, in the case of bacteriophage, thedevelopmentalist stands on less (...)
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  25. Adrian Desmond (2001). Redefining the X Axis: "Professionals," "Amateurs" and the Making of Mid-Victorian Biology: A Progress Report. [REVIEW] Journal of the History of Biology 34 (1):3 - 50.score: 21.0
    A summary of revisionist accounts of the contextual meaning of "professional" and "amateur," as applied to the mid-Victorian X Club, is followed by an analysis of the liberal goals and inner tensions of this coalition of gentlemen specialists and government teachers. The changing status of amateurs is appraised, as are the new sites for the emerging laboratory discipline of "biology." Various historiographical strategies for recovering the women's role are considered. The relationship of science journalism to professionalization, and the constructive (...)
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  26. Alison Kraft (2004). Pragmatism, Patronage and Politics in English Biology: The Rise and Fall of Economic Biology 1904-1920. [REVIEW] Journal of the History of Biology 37 (2):213 - 258.score: 21.0
    The rise of applied biology was one of the most striking features of the biological sciences in the early 20th century. Strongly oriented toward agriculture, this was closely associated with the growth of a number of disciplines, notably, entomology and mycology. This period also saw a marked expansion of the English University system, and biology departments in the newly inaugurated civic universities took an early and leading role in the development of applied biology through their support of (...)
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  27. Daniel J. Nicholson & Richard Gawne (2014). Rethinking Woodger's Legacy in the Philosophy of Biology. Journal of the History of Biology 47 (2):243-292.score: 21.0
    The writings of Joseph Henry Woodger (1894–1981) are often taken to exemplify everything that was wrongheaded, misguided, and just plain wrong with early twentieth-century philosophy of biology. Over the years, commentators have said of Woodger: (a) that he was a fervent logical empiricist who tried to impose the explanatory gold standards of physics onto biology, (b) that his philosophical work was completely disconnected from biological science, (c) that he possessed no scientific or philosophical credentials, and (d) that his (...)
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  28. Ismael Ledesma-Mateos & Ana Barahona (2003). The Institutionalization of Biology in Mexico in the Early 20th Century. The Conflict Between Alfonso Luis Herrera (1868-1942) and Isaac Ochoterena (1885-1950). [REVIEW] Journal of the History of Biology 36 (2):285 - 307.score: 21.0
    The aim of this work is to evaluate the role played by Alfonso Luis Herrera and Isaac Ochoterena in the institutionalization of academic biology in Mexico in the early 20th century. As biology became institutionalized in Mexico, Herrera's basic approach to biology was displaced by Isaac Ochoterena's professional goals due to the prevailing political conditions at the end of 1929. The conflict arose from two different conceptions of biology, because Herrera and Ochoterena had different discourses that (...)
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  29. Jérôme Pierrel (2012). An RNA Phage Lab: MS2 in Walter Fiers' Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Ghent, From Genetic Code to Gene and Genome, 1963-1976. [REVIEW] Journal of the History of Biology 45 (1):109 - 138.score: 21.0
    The importance of viruses as model organisms is well-established in molecular biology and Max Delbrück's phage group set standards in the DNA phage field. In this paper, I argue that RNA phages, discovered in the 1960s, were also instrumental in the making of molecular biology. As part of experimental systems, RNA phages stood for messenger RNA (mRNA), genes and genome. RNA was thought to mediate information transfers between DNA and proteins. Furthermore, RNA was more manageable at the bench (...)
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  30. Laurence Schneider (2012). Michurinist Biology in the People's Republic of China, 1948-1956. Journal of the History of Biology 45 (3):525 - 556.score: 21.0
    Michurinist biology was introduced to China in 1948; granted a state supported monopoly in 1952; and reduced to parity with western genetics from 1956. The Soviets exported it through the propaganda agencies Sino Soviet Friendship Association (SSFA) and VOKS (Cultural Relations with Foreign Countries). China's Ministry of Agriculture achieved broad public awareness and acceptance of Michurinist biology through a translation, publication, and Soviet guest speakers campaign – all managed by a team of agriculturalists led by Luo Tianyu, a (...)
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  31. Samuel J. M. M. Alberti (2001). Amateurs and Professionals in One County: Biology and Natural History in Late Victorian Yorkshire. [REVIEW] Journal of the History of Biology 34 (1):115 - 147.score: 21.0
    My goals in this paper are twofold: to outline the refashioning of amateur and professional roles in life science in late Victorian Yorkshire, and to provide a revised historiography of the relationship between amateurs and professionals in this era. Some historical treatments of this relationship assume that amateurs were demoralized by the advances of laboratory science, and so ceased to contribute and were left behind by the autonomous "new biology." Despite this view, I show that many amateurs played a (...)
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  32. Tulley Long (2009). William McElroy, the McCollum—Pratt Institute, and the Transformation of Biology at Johns Hopkins, 1945–1960. Journal of the History of Biology 42 (4):765 - 809.score: 21.0
    In 1948, a dynamic junior member of the Johns Hopkins Biology Department, William McElroy, became the first director of the McCollum—Pratt Institute for the Investigation of Micronutrient Elements. The Institute was founded at the university to further studies into the practicalities of animal nutrition. Ultimately, however, the Institute reflected McElroy's vision that all biological problems, including nutrition, could be best investigated through basic biochemical and enzymes studies. The Institute quickly became a hub of biochemical research over the following decade, (...)
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  33. Massimo Pigliucci (2012). On the Different Ways of ‘‘Doing Theory’’ in Biology. Biological Theory 7 (4):DOI 10.1007/s13752-012-0047-1.score: 19.0
    ‘‘Theoretical biology’’ is a surprisingly heter- ogeneous field, partly because it encompasses ‘‘doing the- ory’’ across disciplines as diverse as molecular biology, systematics, ecology, and evolutionary biology. Moreover, it is done in a stunning variety of different ways, using anything from formal analytical models to computer sim- ulations, from graphic representations to verbal arguments. In this essay I survey a number of aspects of what it means to do theoretical biology, and how they compare with the (...)
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  34. Maarten Boudry & Massimo Pigliucci (2013). The Mismeasure of Machine: Synthetic Biology and the Trouble with Engineering Metaphors. Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences (4):660-668.score: 19.0
    The scientific study of living organisms is permeated by machine and design metaphors. Genes are thought of as the ‘‘blueprint’’ of an organism, organisms are ‘‘reverse engineered’’ to discover their func- tionality, and living cells are compared to biochemical factories, complete with assembly lines, transport systems, messenger circuits, etc. Although the notion of design is indispensable to think about adapta- tions, and engineering analogies have considerable heuristic value (e.g., optimality assumptions), we argue they are limited in several important respects. In (...)
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  35. Darrell P. Rowbottom (2011). Approximations, Idealizations and 'Experiments' at the Physics-Biology Interface. Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 42 (2):145-154.score: 19.0
    This paper, which is based on recent empirical research at the University of Leeds, the University of Edinburgh, and the University of Bristol, presents two difficulties which arise when condensed matter physicists interact with molecular biologists: (1) the former use models which appear to be too coarse-grained, approximate and/or idealized to serve a useful scientific purpose to the latter; and (2) the latter have a rather narrower view of what counts as an experiment, particularly when it comes to computer simulations, (...)
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  36. Christophe Malaterre (2013). Synthetic Biology and Synthetic Knowledge. Biological Theory (8):346–356.score: 19.0
    Probably the most distinctive feature of synthetic biology is its being “synthetic” in some sense or another. For some, synthesis plays a unique role in the production of knowledge that is most distinct from that played by analysis: it is claimed to deliver knowledge that would otherwise not be attained. In this contribution, my aim is to explore how synthetic biology delivers knowledge via synthesis, and to assess the extent to which this knowledge is distinctly synthetic. On the (...)
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  37. Ingo Brigandt (2013). Systems Biology and the Integration of Mechanistic Explanation and Mathematical Explanation. Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 44 (4):477-492.score: 19.0
    The paper discusses how systems biology is working toward complex accounts that integrate explanation in terms of mechanisms and explanation by mathematical models—which some philosophers have viewed as rival models of explanation. Systems biology is an integrative approach, and it strongly relies on mathematical modeling. Philosophical accounts of mechanisms capture integrative in the sense of multilevel and multifield explanations, yet accounts of mechanistic explanation (as the analysis of a whole in terms of its structural parts and their qualitative (...)
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  38. Mark A. Bedau (2013). Weak Emergence Drives the Science, Epistemology, and Metaphysics of Synthetic Biology. Biological Theory 8 (4):334-345.score: 19.0
    Top-down synthetic biology makes partly synthetic cells by redesigning simple natural forms of life, and bottom-up synthetic biology aims to make fully synthetic cells using only entirely nonliving components. Within synthetic biology the notions of complexity and emergence are quite controversial, but the imprecision of key notions makes the discussion inconclusive. I employ a precise notion of weak emergent property, which is a robust characteristic of the behavior of complex bottom-up causal webs, where a complex causal web (...)
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  39. Carolyn Price (2002). Rationality, Biology and Optimality. Biology and Philosophy 17 (5):613-634.score: 19.0
    A historical theory of rational norms claims that, if we are supposed to think rationally, this is because it is biologically normal for us to do so. The historical theorist is committed to the view that we are supposed to think rationally only if, in the past, adult humans sometimes thought rationally. I consider whether there is any plausible model of rational norms that can be adopted by the historical theorist that is compatible with the claim that adult human beings (...)
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  40. Sabina Leonelli (2013). Classificatory Theory in Biology. Biological Theory 7 (4):338-345.score: 19.0
    Scientific classification has long been recognized as involving a specific style of reasoning and doing research, and as occasionally affecting the development of scientific theories. However, the role played by classificatory activities in generating theories has not been closely investigated within the philosophy of science. I argue that classificatory systems can themselves become a form of theory, which I call classificatory theory, when they come to formalize and express the scientific significance of the elements being classified. This is particularly evident (...)
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  41. Joachim Boldt (2013). Life as a Technological Product: Philosophical and Ethical Aspects of Synthetic Biology. Biological Theory 8 (4):391-401.score: 19.0
    Synthetic biology is a new biotechnology that is developing at an impressive pace and attracting a considerable amount of attention from outside the scientific community as well. In this article, two main philosophically and ethically relevant characteristics of this field of research will be laid bare, namely its reliance on mechanistic metaphors to denominate simple forms of life and its appeal to the semantic field of creativity. It is argued that given these characteristics synthetic biology can be understood (...)
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  42. Bernd Giese, Stefan Koenigstein, Henning Wigger, Jan C. Schmidt & Arnim von Gleich (2013). Rational Engineering Principles in Synthetic Biology: A Framework for Quantitative Analysis and an Initial Assessment. Biological Theory 8 (4):324-333.score: 19.0
    The term “synthetic biology” is a popular label of an emerging biotechnological field with strong claims to robustness, modularity, and controlled construction, finally enabling the creation of new organisms. Although the research community is heterogeneous, it advocates a common denominator that seems to define this field: the principles of rational engineering. However, it still remains unclear to what extent rational engineering—rather than “tinkering” or the usage of random based or non-rational processes—actually constitutes the basis for the techniques of synthetic (...)
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  43. Walter M. Elsasser (1987/1998). Reflections on a Theory of Organisms: Holism in Biology. Published for the Johns Hopkins Dept. Of Earth and Planetary Sciences by the Johns Hopkins University Press.score: 18.0
    Are living organisms--as Descartes argued--just machines? Or is the nature of life such that it can never be fully explained by mechanistic models? In this thought-provoking and controversial book, eminent geophysicist Walter M. Elsasser argues that the behavior of living organisms cannot be reduced to physico-chemical causality. Suggesting that molecular biology today is at the same point as Newtonian physics on the eve of the quantum revolution, Elsasser lays the foundation for a theoretical biology that points the way (...)
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  44. John S. Wilkins, Essentialism in Biology.score: 18.0
    Essentialism in philosophy is the position that things, especially kinds of things, have essences, or sets of properties, that all members of the kind must have, and the combination of which only members of the kind do, in fact, have. It is usually thought to derive from classical Greek philosophy and in particular from Aristotle’s notion of “what it is to be” something. In biology, it has been claimed that pre-evolutionary views of living kinds, or as they are sometimes (...)
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  45. Massimo Pigliucci (2002). Are Ecology and Evolutionary Biology “Soft” Sciences? Annales Zoologici Finnici 39:87-98.score: 18.0
    Research in ecology and evolutionary biology (evo-eco) often tries to emulate the “hard” sciences such as physics and chemistry, but to many of its practitioners feels more like the “soft” sciences of psychology and sociology. I argue that this schizophrenic attitude is the result of lack of appreciation of the full consequences of the peculiarity of the evo-eco sciences as lying in between a-historical disciplines such as physics and completely historical ones as like paleontology. Furthermore, evo-eco researchers have gotten (...)
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  46. Massimo Pigliucci (2013). The Nature of Evolutionary Biology: At the Borderlands Between Historical and Experimental Science. In Kostas Kampourakis (ed.), The Philosophy of Biology: A Companion for Educators. Springer.score: 18.0
    The scientific status of evolutionary theory seems to be more or less perennially under question. I am not referring here (just) to the silliness of young Earth creation- ism (Pigliucci 2002; Boudry and Braeckman 2010), or even of the barely more intel- lectually sophisticated so-called Intelligent Design theory (Recker 2010; Brigandt this volume), but rather to discussions among scientists and philosophers of science concerning the epistemic status of evolutionary theory (Sober 2010). As we shall see in what follows, this debate (...)
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  47. Massimo Pigliucci (2012). Biology's Last Paradigm Shift. The Transition From Natural Theology to Darwinism. Paradigmi 2012 (3):45-58.score: 18.0
    The theory of evolution, which provides the conceptual framework for all modern research in organismal biology and informs research in molecular bi- ology, has gone through several stages of expansion and refinement. Darwin and Wallace (1858) of course proposed the original idea, centering on the twin concepts of natural selection and common descent. Shortly thereafter, Wallace and August Weismann worked toward the complete elimination of any Lamarckian vestiges from the theory, leaning in particular on Weismann’s (1893) concept of the (...)
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  48. Mauro Dorato (2012). Mathematical Biology and the Existence of Biological Laws. In D. Dieks, S. Hartmann, T. Uebel & M. Weber (eds.), Probabilities, Laws and Structure. Springer.score: 18.0
    An influential position in the philosophy of biology claims that there are no biological laws, since any apparently biological generalization is either too accidental, fact-like or contingent to be named a law, or is simply reducible to physical laws that regulate electrical and chemical interactions taking place between merely physical systems. In the following I will stress a neglected aspect of the debate that emerges directly from the growing importance of mathematical models of biological phenomena. My main aim is (...)
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  49. Stavros Ioannidis (2013). Regulatory Evolution and Theoretical Arguments in Evolutionary Biology. Science and Education 22 (2):279-292.score: 18.0
    The cis-regulatory hypothesis is one of the most important claims of evolutionary developmental biology. In this paper I examine the theoretical argument for cis-regulatory evolution and its role within evolutionary theorizing. I show that, although the argument has some weaknesses, it acts as a useful example for the importance of current scientific debates for science education.
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  50. Scott Atran (1998). Folk Biology and the Anthropology of Science: Cognitive Universals and Cultural Particulars. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 21 (4):547-569.score: 18.0
    This essay in the is about how cognition constrains culture in producing science. The example is folk biology, whose cultural recurrence issues from the very same domain-specific cognitive universals that provide the historical backbone of systematic biology. Humans everywhere think about plants and animals in highly structured ways. People have similar folk-biological taxonomies composed of essence-based, species-like groups and the ranking of species into lower- and higher-order groups. Such taxonomies are not as arbitrary in structure and content, nor (...)
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