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  1. A Framework for Philosophical Biology.Sepehr Ehsani - manuscript
    Advances in biology, at least over the past two centuries, have mostly relied on theories that were subsequently revised, expanded or eventually refuted using experimental and other means. The field of theoretical biology used to primarily provide a basis, similar to theoretical physics in the physical sciences, to rationally examine the frameworks within which biological experiments were carried out and to shed light on overlooked gaps in understanding. Today, however, theoretical biology has generally become synonymous with computational and mathematical biology. (...)
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  2. Is Genetic Drift a Force?Charles H. Pence - manuscript
    One hotly debated philosophical question in the analysis of evolutionary theory concerns whether or not evolution and the various factors which constitute it may profitably be considered as analogous to “forces” in the traditional, Newtonian sense. Several compelling arguments assert that the force picture is incoherent, due to the peculiar nature of genetic drift. I consider two of those arguments here – that drift lacks a predictable direction, and that drift is constitutive of evolutionary systems – and show that they (...)
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  3. THE ROLE OF TIME IN THE CONSTRUCTION OF BIO-MATERIALS: A NOVEL INSIGHT.Varanasi Ramabrahmam - manuscript
    Various understandings and definitions of time will be reviewed. The nature and structure of time will be reviewed and the concepts of time and passage of time will be refreshed. The fundamental role played by energy and four natural forces in the actions, reactions and interactions concerning matter, anti-matter, energy in space and time will be critically analyzed. The reality how time is constructed during the construction of materials will be presented and discussed. The classical and quantum ideas in this (...)
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  4. Causal Specificity, Biological Possibility and Non-Parity About Genetic Causes.Marcel Weber - manuscript
    Several authors have used the notion of causal specificity in order to defend non-parity about genetic causes (Waters 2007, Woodward 2010, Weber 2017, forthcoming). Non-parity in this context is the idea that DNA and some other biomolecules that are often described as information-bearers by biologists play a unique role in life processes, an idea that has been challenged by Developmental Systems Theory (e.g., Oyama 2000). Indeed, it has proven to be quite difficult to state clearly what the alleged special role (...)
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  5. Causal Control: A Rationale for Causal Selection.Lauren N. Ross - 2015
    Causal selection has to do with the distinction we make between background conditions and “the” true cause or causes of some outcome of interest. A longstanding consensus in philosophy views causal selection as lacking any objective rationale and as guided, instead, by arbitrary, pragmatic, and non-scientific considerations. I argue against this position in the context of causal selection for disease traits. In this domain, causes are selected on the basis of the type of causal control they exhibit over a disease (...)
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  6. Theory of Evolution and Historical Explanation in Biology.Keyvan Alasti - forthcoming - Philosophical Investigations.
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  7. Towards an Ecological View of Immunity. [REVIEW]Swiatczak Bartlomiej - forthcoming - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A.
    The immune system does not just fight pathogens but also engages in interactions with beneficial microbes and non-immune cells of the body to harmonize their behavior by means of cytokines, antibodies and effector cells (Dinarello, 2007; Moticka, 2015, pp. 217e226, 261e267). However, the importance of these “housekeeping” functions has not been fully appreciated (Cohen, 2000). In his new book Immunity: The Evolution of an Idea Alfred I. Tauber traces the history of fundamental ideas in immunology and refers to recent advances (...)
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  8. How Are Biology Concepts Used and Transformed?Ingo Brigandt - forthcoming - In Philosophy of Science for Biologists. Cambridge University Press.
  9. Is Evolution Fundamental When It Comes to Defining Biological Ontology?Ellen Clarke - forthcoming - In Shamik Dasgupta & Brad Westlake (eds.), Current Controversies in Philosophy of Science. Routledge.
    I argue for the usefulness of the evolutionary kind of biological individual.
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  10. First Principles in the Life Sciences: The Free-Energy Principle, Organicism, and Mechanism.Matteo Colombo & Cory Wright - forthcoming - Synthese:1-26.
    The free-energy principle claims that biological systems behave adaptively maintaining their physical integrity only if they minimize the free energy of their sensory states. Originally proposed to account for perception, learning, and action, the free-energy principle has been applied to the evolution, development, morphology, and function of the brain, and has been called a “postulate,” a “mandatory principle,” and an “imperative.” While it might afford a theoretical foundation for understanding the complex relationship between physical environment, life, and mind, its epistemic (...)
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  11. Explaining Experience In Nature: The Foundations Of Logic And Apprehension.Steven Ericsson-Zenith - forthcoming - Institute for Advanced Science & Engineering.
    At its core this book is concerned with logic and computation with respect to the mathematical characterization of sentient biophysical structure and its behavior. -/- Three related theories are presented: The first of these provides an explanation of how sentient individuals come to be in the world. The second describes how these individuals operate. And the third proposes a method for reasoning about the behavior of individuals in groups. -/- These theories are based upon a new explanation of experience in (...)
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  12. Landscapes of Collectivity in the Life Sciences.Snait Gissis, Ehud Lamm & Ayelet Shavit (eds.) - forthcoming - MIT Press.
    The aim of the book is to explore common concerns regarding methodological individualism in different fields of the life sciences broadly construed. It will address conceptual problems regarding individuals and their relation and dependence on the collectivities they are part of and consider innovative new viewpoints, grounded in specific scientific projects that question the present descriptions and understanding and raise challenges. A wide variety of recent, influential contributions in the life sciences utilize notions of collectivity, sociality, rich interactions and emergent (...)
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  13. Explanation in Evo-Devo.Marie I. Kaiser - forthcoming - In L. N. de la Rosa & G. B. Müller (eds.), Evolutionary Developmental Biology - A Reference Guide. Cham: Springer.
  14. A New Role for Mathematics in Empirical Sciences.Atoosa Kasirzadeh - forthcoming - Philosophy of Science.
    Mathematics is often taken to play one of two roles in the empirical sciences: either it represents empirical phenomena, or it explains these phenomena by imposing constraints on them. This paper identifies a third and distinct role which has not been fully appreciated in the literature, and may be pervasive in scientific practice. I call this the “bridging” role of mathematics, according to which mathematics acts as a connecting scheme in our explanatory reasoning about why and how two different descriptions (...)
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  15. Unifying the Essential Concepts of Biological Networks.Daniel Kostic, Claus Hilgetag & Marc Tittgemeyer (eds.) - forthcoming - Royal Society.
  16. Unifying the Essential Concepts of Biological Networks: Biological Insights and Philosophical Foundations.Daniel Kostic, Claus Hilgetag & Marc Tittgemeyer - forthcoming - Oxford, UK: Royal Society.
    Over the last two decades, network-focused approaches have become highly popular in diverse fields of biology, including neuroscience, ecology, molecular biology and genetics. While the network approach continues to grow very rapidly, some of its conceptual and methodological aspects still require a programmatic foundation. This challenge particularly concerns the question of whether a generalized account of explanatory, organisational and descriptive levels of networks can be applied universally across biological sciences. Consequently, the central focus of this theme issue will be on (...)
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  17. Natural Goodness Without Natural History.Parisa Moosavi - forthcoming - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
    Neo‐Aristotelian ethical naturalism purports to show that moral evaluation of human action and character is an evaluation of natural goodness—a kind of evaluation that applies to living things in virtue of their nature and based on their form of life. The standard neo‐Aristotelian view defines natural goodness by way of generic statements describing the natural history, or the ‘characteristic’ life, of a species. In this paper, I argue that this conception of natural goodness commits the neo‐Aristotelian view to a problematic (...)
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  18. What Constitutes an Explanation in Biology?Angela Potochnik - forthcoming - In Kostas Kampourakis & Tobias Uller (eds.), Philosophy of Science for Biologists. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
    One of biology's fundamental aims is to generate understanding of the living world around—and within—us. In this chapter, I aim to provide a relatively nonpartisan discussion of the nature of explanation in biology, grounded in widely shared philosophical views about scientific explanation. But this discussion also reflects what I think is important for philosophers and biologists alike to appreciate about successful scientific explanations, so some points will be controversial, at least among philosophers. I make three main points: (1) causal relationships (...)
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  19. The Reference Class Problem in Evolutionary Biology: Distinguishing Selection From Drift.Michael Strevens - forthcoming - In Charles Pence & Grant Ramsey (eds.), Chance in Evolution.
    Evolutionary biology distinguishes differences in survival and reproduction rates due to selection from those due to drift. The distinction is usually thought to be founded in probabilistic facts: a difference in (say) two variants' average lifespans over some period of time that is due to selection is explained by differences in the probabilities relevant to survival; in the purest cases of drift, by contrast, the survival probabilities are equal and the difference in lifespans is a matter of chance. When there (...)
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  20. Mechanistic Idealization in Systems Biology.Dingmar van Eck & Cory Wright - forthcoming - Synthese.
    This paper adds to the philosophical literature on mechanistic explanation by elaborating two related explanatory functions of idealisation in mechanistic models. The first function involves explaining the presence of structural/organizational features of mechanisms by reference to their role as difference-makers for performance requirements. The second involves tracking counterfactual dependency relations between features of mechanisms and features of mechanistic explanandum phenomena. To make these functions salient, we relate our discussion to an exemplar from systems biological research on the mechanism for countering (...)
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  21. Causal Selection Versus Causal Parity in Biology: Relevant Counterfactuals and Biologically Normal Interventions.Marcel Weber - forthcoming - In C. Kenneth Waters & James Woodward (eds.), Philosophical Perspectives on Causal Reasoning in Biology. Minnesota Studies in Philosophy of Science. Vol. XXI. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
    Causal selection is the task of picking out, from a field of known causally relevant factors, some factors as elements of an explanation. The Causal Parity Thesis in the philosophy of biology challenges the usual ways of making such selections among different causes operating in a developing organism. The main target of this thesis is usually gene centrism, the doctrine that genes play some special role in ontogeny, which is often described in terms of information-bearing or programming. This paper is (...)
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  22. Francis Galton’s Regression Towards Mediocrity and the Stability of Types.Adam Krashniak & Ehud Lamm - 2021 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 81:6-19.
    A prevalent narrative locates the discovery of the statistical phenomenon of regression to the mean in the work of Francis Galton. It is claimed that after 1885, Galton came to explain the fact that offspring deviated less from the mean value of the population than their parents did as a population-level statistical phenomenon and not as the result of the processes of inheritance. Arguing against this claim, we show that Galton did not explain regression towards mediocrity statistically, and did not (...)
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  23. Causal Concepts in Biology: How Pathways Differ From Mechanisms and Why It Matters.Lauren N. Ross - 2021 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 72 (1):131-158.
    In the last two decades few topics in philosophy of science have received as much attention as mechanistic explanation. A significant motivation for these accounts is that scientists frequently use the term “mechanism” in their explanations of biological phenomena. While scientists appeal to a variety of causal concepts in their explanations, many philosophers argue or assume that all of these concepts are well understood with the single notion of mechanism. This reveals a significant problem with mainstream mechanistic accounts– although philosophers (...)
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  24. Glycemia Regulation: From Feedback Loops to Organizational Closure.Leonardo Bich, Matteo Mossio & Ana M. Soto - 2020 - Frontiers in Physiology 11.
    Endocrinologists apply the idea of feedback loops to explain how hormones regulate certain bodily functions such as glucose metabolism. In particular, feedback loops focus on the maintenance of the plasma concentrations of glucose within a narrow range. Here, we put forward a different, organicist perspective on the endocrine regulation of glycaemia, by relying on the pivotal concept of closure of constraints. From this perspective, biological systems are understood as organized ones, which means that they are constituted of a set of (...)
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  25. Analytic Philosophy for Biomedical Research: The Imperative of Applying Yesterday's Timeless Messages to Today's Impasses.Sepehr Ehsani - 2020 - In P. Glauner & P. Plugmann (eds.), Innovative Technologies for Market Leadership - Investing in the Future. Springer. pp. 167-200.
    The mantra that "the best way to predict the future is to invent it" (attributed to the computer scientist Alan Kay) exemplifies some of the expectations from the technical and innovative sides of biomedical research at present. However, for technical advancements to make real impacts both on patient health and genuine scientific understanding, quite a number of lingering challenges facing the entire spectrum from protein biology all the way to randomized controlled trials should start to be overcome. The proposal in (...)
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  26. The Animal Sexes as Historical Explanatory Kinds.Laura Franklin-Hall - 2020 - In Shamik Dasgupta, Ravit Dotan & Brad Weslake (eds.), Current Controversies in Philosophy of Science. Routledge. pp. 177-197.
    Though biologists identify individuals as ‘male’ or ‘female’ across a broad range of animal species, the particular traits exhibited by males and females can vary tremendously. This diversity has led some to conclude that cross-animal sexes (males, or females, of whatever animal species) have “little or no explanatory power” (Dupré 1986: 447) and, thus, are not natural kinds in any traditional sense. This essay will explore considerations for and against this conclusion, ultimately arguing that the animal sexes, properly understood, are (...)
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  27. General Theory of Topological Explanations and Explanatory Asymmetry.Daniel Kostic - 2020 - Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 375 (1796):1-8.
    In this paper, I present a general theory of topological explanations, and illustrate its fruitfulness by showing how it accounts for explanatory asymmetry. My argument is developed in three steps. In the first step, I show what it is for some topological property A to explain some physical or dynamical property B. Based on that, I derive three key criteria of successful topological explanations: a criterion concerning the facticity of topological explanations, i.e. what makes it true of a particular system; (...)
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  28. Dynamical Causes.Russell Meyer - 2020 - Biology and Philosophy 35 (5):1-21.
    Mechanistic explanations are often said to explain because they reveal the causal structure of the world. Conversely, dynamical models supposedly lack explanatory power because they do not describe causal structure. The only way for dynamical models to produce causal explanations is via the 3M criterion: the model must be mapped onto a mechanism. This framing of the situation has become the received view around the viability of dynamical explanation. In this paper, I argue against this position and show that dynamical (...)
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  29. Plurality of Explanatory Strategies in Biology: Mechanisms and Networks.Alvaro Moreno & Javier Suárez - 2020 - In Methodological Prospects for Scientific Research. pp. 141-165.
    Recent research in philosophy of science has shown that scientists rely on a plurality of strategies to develop successful explanations of different types of phenomena. In the case of biology, most of these strategies go far beyond the traditional and reductionistic models of scientific explanation that have proven so successful in the fundamental sciences. Concretely, in the last two decades, philosophers of science have discovered the existence of at least two different types of scientific explanation at work in the biological (...)
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  30. On Being the Right Size, Revisited: The Problem with Engineering Metaphors in Molecular Biology.Daniel J. Nicholson - 2020 - In Sune Hannibal Holm & Maria Serban (eds.), Philosophical Perspectives on the Engineering Approach in Biology: Living Machines? London, UK: pp. 40-68.
    In 1926, Haldane published an essay titled 'On Being the Right Size' in which he argued that the structure, function, and behavior of an organism are strongly conditioned by the physical forces that exert the greatest impact at the scale at which it exists. This chapter puts Haldane’s insight to work in the context of contemporary cell and molecular biology. Owing to their minuscule size, cells and molecules are subject to very different forces than macroscopic organisms. In a sense, macroscopic (...)
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  31. How Bioscience Meets Buddhism.Sun Kyeong Yu & Chang-Seong Hong - 2020 - Seoul, South Korea: Unjusa.
    <2020 Buddhist Book Award (2nd place), Korea> <2020 Sejong Book Award, Korea> The book discusses and provides solutions for the philosophical issues of Aristotelian essentialist biology, Darwin’s evolutionary theory, and contemporary molecular biology in light of Buddhist concepts of dependent arising and emptiness. CONTENT 1. Buddhist Teachings from the perspective of Bioscience 2. Bioscience from the Perspective of Buddhist Teachings 3. Enlightenment, Compassion and Bioscientific Phenomena 4. Enlightenment, Revolutionary Change of Worldview 5. The Buddhist Understanding of Development in Biology 1 (...)
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  32. The Use and Limitations of Null-Model-Based Hypothesis Testing.Mingjun Zhang - 2020 - Biology and Philosophy 35 (2):1-22.
    In this article I give a critical evaluation of the use and limitations of null-model-based hypothesis testing as a research strategy in the biological sciences. According to this strategy, the null model based on a randomization procedure provides an appropriate null hypothesis stating that the existence of a pattern is the result of random processes or can be expected by chance alone, and proponents of other hypotheses should first try to reject this null hypothesis in order to demonstrate their own (...)
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  33. Mapping the Continuum of Research Strategies.Matthew Baxendale - 2019 - Synthese 196 (11):4711-4733.
    Contemporary philosophy of science has seen a growing trend towards a focus on scientific practice over the epistemic outputs that such practices produce. This practice-oriented approach has yielded a clearer understanding of how reductive research strategies play a central role in contemporary scientific inquiry. In parallel, a growing body of work has sought to explore the role of non-reductive, or systems-level, research strategies. As a result, the relationship between reductive and non-reductive scientific practices is becoming of increased importance. In this (...)
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  34. Explaining the Behaviour of Random Ecological Networks: The Stability of the Microbiome as a Case of Integrative Pluralism.Roger Deulofeu, Javier Suárez & Alberto Pérez-Cervera - 2019 - Synthese 198 (3):2003-2025.
    Explaining the behaviour of ecosystems is one of the key challenges for the biological sciences. Since 2000, new-mechanicism has been the main model to account for the nature of scientific explanation in biology. The universality of the new-mechanist view in biology has been however put into question due to the existence of explanations that account for some biological phenomena in terms of their mathematical properties (mathematical explanations). Supporters of mathematical explanation have argued that the explanation of the behaviour of ecosystems (...)
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  35. The Problem of Mooted Models for Analyses of Microbiome Causality.Justin Donhauser, Sara Worley, Michael Bradie & Juan L. Bouzat - 2019 - Biology and Philosophy 34 (6):1-6.
    Lynch, Parke, and O’Malley highlight the need for better evaluative criteria for causal explanations in microbiome research. They propose new interventionist criteria, show that paradigmatic examples of microbiome explanations are flawed using those criteria, and suggest numerous ways microbiome explanations can be improved. While we endorse their primary criticisms and suggestions for improvements in microbiome research, we make several observations regarding the use of mooted causal models in microbiome research that have significant implications for their overall argument. In sum, we (...)
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  36. Methodologies of Curiosity: Epistemology, Practice, and the Question of Animal Minds.Yogi Hale Hendlin - 2019 - Biosemiotics 12 (2):349-356.
    Umwelt theory has finally come of age. The paradigm-breaking power of Jakob vonUexküll’s technical term, after decades of inquiry by scholars such as Merleau-Ponty(1962) and Kauffman (1993) has become part of the vernacular of animal studies, psychology, sociology, and other scientific domains (Buchanan 2008; Lahti 2015;Stevens et al. 2018). The newfound fame of the Umwelt frame, however, is as much a boon to the field of biosemiotics as it is a burden, due to the usual serial misinterpretation and cooptation that (...)
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  37. Unifying the Debates: Mathematical and Non-Causal Explanations.Daniel Kostić - 2019 - Perspectives on Science 27 (1):1-6.
  38. Organic Selection and Social Heredity: The Original Baldwin Effect Revisited.Nam Le - 2019 - Artificial Life Conference Proceedings 2019 (31):515-522.
    The so-called “Baldwin Effect” has been studied for years in the fields of Artificial Life, Cognitive Science, and Evolutionary Theory across disciplines. This idea is often conflated with genetic assimilation, and has raised controversy in trans-disciplinary scientific discourse due to the many interpretations it has. This paper revisits the “Baldwin Effect” in Baldwin’s original spirit from a joint historical, theoretical and experimental approach. Social Heredity – the inheritance of cultural knowledge via non-genetic means in Baldwin’s term – is also taken (...)
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  39. Possibility Spaces and the Notion of Novelty: From Music to Biology.Maël Montévil - 2019 - Synthese 196 (11):4555-4581.
    We provide a new perspective on the relation between the space of description of an object and the appearance of novelties. One of the aims of this perspective is to facilitate the interaction between mathematics and historical sciences. The definition of novelties is paradoxical: if one can define in advance the possibles, then they are not genuinely new. By analyzing the situation in set theory, we show that defining generic (i.e., shared) and specific (i.e., individual) properties of elements of a (...)
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  40. Genetic Relatedness and Its Causal Role in the Evolution of Insect Societies.Tuomas K. Pernu - 2019 - Journal of Biosciences 44:107.
    The role of genetic relatedness in social evolution has recently come under critical attention. These arguments are here critically analyzed, both theoretically and empirically. It is argued that when the conceptual structure of the theory of natural selection is carefully taken into account, genetic relatedness can be seen to play an indispensable role in the evolution of both facultative and advanced eusociality. Although reviewing the empirical evidence concerning the evolution of eusociality reveals that relatedness does not play a role in (...)
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  41. Social Evolution and the Two Elements of Causation.Tuomas K. Pernu & Heikki Helanterä - 2019 - Oikos 128:905-911.
    The kin selection theory has recently been criticised on the basis of claiming that genetic relatedness does not play a causal role in the social evolution among individuals of insect societies. We outline here a line of criticism of this view by demonstrating two things. First, there are strong conceptual, theoretical and empirical reasons to think that close genetic relatedness has been necessary for the rise of the helper castes of social insects. And second, once we understand how causal explanation (...)
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  42. Mechanistic Causation: Difference-Making is Enough.Stathis Psillos & Stavros Ioannidis - 2019 - Teorema: International Journal of Philosophy 3 (38):53-75.
    In this paper we defend the view that mechanisms are underpinned by networks of difference-making relations. First, we distinguish and criticise two different kinds of arguments in favour of an activity-based understanding of mechanism: Glennan’s metaphysics- first approach and Illari and Williamson’s science-first approach. Second, we present an alternative difference-making view of mechanism and illustrate it by looking at the history of the case of scurvy prevention. We use the case of scurvy to argue that evidence for a mechanism just (...)
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  43. Mechanisms, Then and Now: From Metaphysics to Practice.Stathis Psillos & Stavros Ioannidis - 2019 - In Brigitte Falkenburg & Gregor Schiemann (eds.), Mechanistic Explanations in Physics and Beyond. Cham: Springer Nature. pp. 11-31.
    For many old and new mechanists, Mechanism is both a metaphysical position and a thesis about scientific methodology. In this paper we discuss the relation between the metaphysics of mechanisms and the role of mechanical explanation in the practice of science, by presenting and comparing the key tenets of Old and New Mechanism. First, by focusing on the case of gravity, we show how the metaphysics of Old Mechanism constrained scientific explanation, and discuss Newton’s critique of Old Mechanism. Second, we (...)
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  44. Equilibrium Explanation as Structural Non-Mechanistic Explanation: The Case Long-Term Bacterial Persistence in Human Hosts.Javier Suárez & Roger Deulofeu - 2019 - Teorema: International Journal of Philosophy 3 (38):95-120.
    Philippe Huneman has recently questioned the widespread application of mechanistic models of scientific explanation based on the existence of structural explanations, i.e. explanations that account for the phenomenon to be explained in virtue of the mathematical properties of the system where the phenomenon obtains, rather than in terms of the mechanisms that causally produce the phenomenon. Structural explanations are very diverse, including cases like explanations in terms of bowtie structures, in terms of the topological properties of the system, or in (...)
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  45. Some Concerns Regarding Explanatory Pluralism: The Explanatory Role of Optimality Models.Gabriel Târziu - 2019 - Filozofia Nauki 28 (4):95-113.
    Optimality models are widely used in different parts of biology. Two important questions that have been asked about such models are: are they explanatory and, if so, what type of explanations do they offer? My concern in this paper is with the approach of Rice (2012, 2015) and Irvine (2015), who claim that these models provide non-causal explanations. I argue that there are serious problems with this approach and with the accounts of explanation it is intended to justify. The idea (...)
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  46. Natural Selection and Contrastive Explanation.Joeri Witteveen - 2019 - Philosophy of Science 86 (3):412-430.
    This article defends the Negative View of natural selection explanation, according to which natural selection cannot explain of any given individual why it has the traits it does. Over the years, this view has been criticized on empirical, metaphysical, and explanatory grounds. I review the debate and offer additional reasons for rejecting the empirical and metaphysical objections. The explanatory objection, which holds that the Negative View is rooted in a flawed account of contrastive explanation, initially seems plausible. However, I argue (...)
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  47. Regression Explanation and Statistical Autonomy.Joeri Witteveen - 2019 - Biology and Philosophy 34 (5):1-20.
    The phenomenon of regression toward the mean is notoriously liable to be overlooked or misunderstood; regression fallacies are easy to commit. But even when regression phenomena are duly recognized, it remains perplexing how they can feature in explanations. This article develops a philosophical account of regression explanations as “statistically autonomous” explanations that cannot be deepened by adducing details about causal histories, even if the explananda as such are embedded in the causal structure of the world. That regression explanations have statistical (...)
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  48. Molecular Pathways and the Contextual Explanation of Molecular Functions.Giovanni Boniolo & Raffaella Campaner - 2018 - Biology and Philosophy 33 (3-4):24.
    Much of the recent philosophical debate on causation and causal explanation in the biological and biomedical sciences has focused on the notion of mechanism. Mechanisms, their nature and epistemic roles have been tackled by a range of so-called neo-mechanistic theories, and widely discussed. Without denying the merits of this approach, our paper aims to show how lately it has failed to give proper credit to processes, which are central to the field, especially of contemporary molecular biology. Processes can be summed (...)
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  49. Explanation of Molecular Processes Without Tracking Mechanism Operation.Ingo Brigandt - 2018 - Philosophy of Science 85 (5):984–997.
    Philosophical discussions of systems biology have enriched the notion of mechanistic explanation by pointing to the role of mathematical modeling. However, such accounts still focus on explanation in terms of tracking a mechanism's operation across time (by means of mental or computational simulation). My contention is that there are explanations of molecular systems where the explanatory understanding does not consist in tracking a mechanism's operation and productive continuity. I make this case by a discussion of bifurcation analysis in dynamical systems, (...)
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  50. Systems Biology and Mechanistic Explanation.Ingo Brigandt, Sara Green & Maureen O'Malley - 2018 - In Stuart Glennan & Phyllis McKay Illari (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Mechanisms and Mechanical Philosophy. New York: Routledge. pp. 362–374.
    We address the question of whether and to what extent explanatory and modelling strategies in systems biology are mechanistic. After showing how dynamic mathematical models are actually required for mechanistic explanations of complex systems, we caution readers against expecting all systems biology to be about mechanistic explanations. Instead, the aim may be to generate topological explanations that are not standardly mechanistic, or to arrive at design principles that explain system organization and behaviour in general, but not specific mechanisms. These abstraction (...)
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