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  1. Reducing the Dauer Larva: Molecular Models of Biological Phenomena in Caenorhabditis Elegans Research.Arciszewski Michal - manuscript
    One important aspect of biological explanation is detailed causal modeling of particular phenomena in limited experimental background conditions. Recognising this allows a new avenue for intertheoretic reduction to be seen. Reductions in biology are possible, when one fully recognises that a sufficient condition for a reduction in biology is a molecular model of 1) only the demonstrated causal parameters of a biological model and 2) only within a replicable experimental background. These intertheoretic identifications –which are ubiquitous in biology and form (...)
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  2. Decoupling Topological Explanations From Mechanisms.Daniel Kostic & Kareem Khalifa - forthcoming - Philosophy of Science:1-39.
    We provide three innovations to recent debates about whether topological or “network” explanations are a species of mechanistic explanation. First, we more precisely characterize the requirement that all topological explanations are mechanistic explanations and show scientific practice to belie such a requirement. Second, we provide an account that unifies mechanistic and non-mechanistic topological explanations, thereby enriching both the mechanist and autonomist programs by highlighting when and where topological explanations are mechanistic. Third, we defend this view against some powerful mechanist objections. (...)
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  3. Philosophy of Developmental Biology.Marcel Weber - 2022 - Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
    The history of developmental biology is interwoven with debates as to whether mechanistic explanations of development are possible or whether alternative explanatory principles or even vital forces need to be assumed. In particular, the demonstrated ability of embryonic cells to tune their developmental fate precisely to their relative position and the overall size of the embryo was once thought to be inexplicable in mechanistic terms. Taking a causal perspective, this Element examines to what extent and how developmental biology, having turned (...)
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  4. Facts, Conventions, and the Levels of Selection.Pierrick Bourrat - 2021 - Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
    Debates concerning the units and levels of selection have persisted for over fifty years. One major question in this literature is whether units and levels of selection are genuine, in the sense that they are objective features of the world, or merely reflect the interests and goals of an observer. Scientists and philosophers have proposed a range of answers to this question. This Element introduces this literature and proposes a novel contribution. It defends a realist stance and offers a way (...)
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  5. Constitutive Relevance & Mutual Manipulability Revisited.Carl F. Craver, Stuart Glennan & Mark Povich - 2021 - Synthese 199 (3-4):8807-8828.
    An adequate understanding of the ubiquitous practice of mechanistic explanation requires an account of what Craver termed “constitutive relevance.” Entities or activities are constitutively relevant to a phenomenon when they are parts of the mechanism responsible for that phenomenon. Craver’s mutual manipulability account extended Woodward’s account of manipulationist counterfactuals to analyze how interlevel experiments establish constitutive relevance. Critics of MM argue that applying Woodward’s account to this philosophical problem conflates causation and constitution, thus rendering the account incoherent. These criticisms, we (...)
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  6. The Beginning of Life Issues: An Islamic Perspective.Piyali Mitra - 2021 - Journal of Religion and Health 60 (2):663-683.
    Islam gives legal precedence to purity of lineage and known parenthood of all children. In Islam treatment to infertility using IVF is permitted within validity of marriage contract with no genes mixing. The paper shows that the Qur’ān, the word of Allah, and science, the deeds of Allah are not in major conflicts in defining the start of human life. The Holy Qur’ān provides an elegant description of origin, developmental stages of intra-uterine life. The Hadith explains two positions one that (...)
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  7. The Quest for System-Theoretical Medicine in the COVID-19 Era.Felix Tretter, Olaf Wolkenhauer, Michael Meyer-Hermann, Johannes W. Dietrich, Sara Green, James Marcum & Wolfram Weckwerth - 2021 - Frontiers in Medicine 8:640974.
    Precision medicine and molecular systems medicine (MSM) are highly utilized and successful approaches to improve understanding, diagnosis, and treatment of many diseases from bench-to-bedside. Especially in the COVID-19 pandemic, molecular techniques and biotechnological innovation have proven to be of utmost importance for rapid developments in disease diagnostics and treatment, including DNA and RNA sequencing technology, treatment with drugs and natural products and vaccine development. The COVID-19 crisis, however, has also demonstrated the need for systemic thinking and transdisciplinarity and the limits (...)
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  8. 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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  9. A Theory of Evolution as a Process of Unfolding.Agustin Ostachuk - 2020 - Cosmos and History: The Journal of Natural and Social Philosophy 16 (1):347-379.
    In this work I propose a theory of evolution as a process of unfolding. This theory is based on four logically concatenated principles. The principle of evolutionary order establishes that the more complex cannot be generated from the simpler. The principle of origin establishes that there must be a maximum complexity that originates the others by logical deduction. Finally, the principle of unfolding and the principle of actualization guarantee the development of the evolutionary process from the simplest to the most (...)
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  10. The Unfolding of a New Vision of Life, Cosmos and Evolution.Agustin Ostachuk - 2020 - Ludus Vitalis 28 (53):81-83.
    Has science already answered the fundamental questions about the concepts of Life, Cosmos and Evolution? Has science not relegated these fundamental questions by following up on more immediate, “useful” and practical endeavors that ultimately ensure that the wheel of capitalism keeps spinning in its frantic search for material and economic progress? There is something terribly wrong with the current theory of evolution, understood as the Darwinian theory with its successive versions and extensions. The concept of natural selection, the cornerstone of (...)
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  11. Holobiont Evolution: Mathematical Model with Vertical Vs. Horizontal Microbiome Transmission.Joan Roughgarden - 2020 - Philosophy, Theory, and Practice in Biology 12 (2).
    A holobiont is a composite organism consisting of a host together with its microbiome, such as a coral with its zooxanthellae. To explain the often intimate integration between hosts and their microbiomes, some investigators contend that selection operates on holobionts as a unit and view the microbiome’s genes as extending the host’s nuclear genome to jointly comprise a hologenome. Because vertical transmission of microbiomes is uncommon, other investigators contend that holobiont selection cannot be effective because a holobiont’s microbiome is an (...)
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  12. Philosophy of Immunology.Bartlomiej Swiatczak & Alfred I. Tauber - 2020 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy 2020.
    Philosophy of immunology is a subfield of philosophy of biology dealing with ontological and epistemological issues related to the studies of the immune system. While speculative investigations and abstract analyses have always been part of immune theorizing, until recently philosophers have largely ignored immunology. Yet the implications for understanding the philosophical basis of organismal functions framed by immunity offer new perspectives on fundamental questions of biology and medicine. Developed in the context of history of medicine, theoretical biology, and medical anthropology, (...)
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  13. Multiple Realizability and Biological Modality.Rami Koskinen - 2019 - Philosophy of Science 86 (5):1123-1133.
    Critics of multiple realizability have recently argued that we should concentrate solely on actual here-and-now realizations that are found in nature. The possibility of alternative, but unactualized, realizations is regarded as uninteresting because it is taken to be a question of pure logic or an unverifiable scenario of science fiction. However, in the biological context only a contingent set of realizations is actualized. Drawing on recent work on the theory of neutral biological spaces, the paper shows that we can have (...)
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  14. Integrative Pluralism for Biological Function.Beckett Sterner & Samuel Cusimano - 2019 - Biology and Philosophy 34 (6):1-21.
    We introduce a new type of pluralism about biological function that, in contrast to existing, demonstrates a practical integration among the term’s different meanings. In particular, we show how to generalize Sandra Mitchell’s notion of integrative pluralism to circumstances where multiple epistemic tools of the same type are jointly necessary to solve scientific problems. We argue that the multiple definitions of biological function operate jointly in this way based on how biologists explain the evolution of protein function. To clarify how (...)
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  15. Conceptual Challenges in the Theoretical Foundations of Systems Biology.Marta Bertolaso & Emanuele Ratti - 2018 - In Mariano Bizzarri (ed.), Systems Biology. New York: Springer, Humana Press. pp. 1-13.
    In the last decade, Systems Biology has emerged as a conceptual and explanatory alternative to reductionist-based approaches in molecular biology. However, the foundations of this new discipline need to be fleshed out more carefully. In this paper, we claim that a relational ontology is a necessary tool to ground both the conceptual and explanatory aspects of Systems Biology. A relational ontology holds that relations are prior—both conceptually and explanatory—to entities, and that in the biological realm entities are defined primarily by (...)
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  16. The Mechanical World: The Metaphysical Commitments of the New Mechanistic Approach.Beate Krickel - 2018 - Springer Verlag.
    his monograph examines the metaphysical commitments of the new mechanistic philosophy, a way of thinking that has returned to center stage. It challenges a variant of reductionism with regard to higher-level phenomena, which has crystallized as a default position among these so-called New Mechanists. Furthermore, it opposes those philosophers who reject the possibility of interlevel causation. Contemporary philosophers believe that the explanation of scientific phenomena requires the discovery of relevant mechanisms. As a result, new mechanists are, in the main, concerned (...)
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  17. Disentangling the Vitalism–Emergentism Knot.Olivier Sartenaer - 2018 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 49 (1):73-88.
    Starting with the observation that there exist contradictory claims in the literature about the relationship between vitalism and emergentism—be it one of inclusion or, on the contrary, exclusion–, this paper aims at disentangling the vitalism–emergentism knot. To this purpose, after having described a particular form of emergentism, namely Lloyd Morgan’s emergent evolutionism, I develop a conceptual analysis on the basis of a distinction between varieties of monism and pluralism. This analysis allows me to identify and characterize several forms of vitalism (...)
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  18. Merleau-Ponty’s Implicit Critique of the New Mechanists.Benjamin Sheredos - 2018 - Synthese (Suppl 9):1-25.
    I argue (1) that what (ontic) New Mechanistic philosophers of science call mechanisms would be material Gestalten, and (2) that Merleau-Ponty’s engagement with Gestalt theory can help us frame a standing challenge against ontic conceptions of mechanisms. In short, until the (ontic) New Mechanist can provide us with a plausible account of the organization of mechanisms as an objective feature of mind-independent ontic structures in the world which we might discover – and no ontic Mechanist has done so – it (...)
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  19. Rethinking Causality in Biological and Neural Mechanisms: Constraints and Control.Jason Winning & William Bechtel - 2018 - Minds and Machines 28 (2).
    Existing accounts of mechanistic causation are not suited for understanding causation in biological and neural mechanisms because they do not have the resources to capture the unique causal structure of control heterarchies. In this paper, we provide a new account on which the causal powers of mechanisms are grounded by time-dependent, variable constraints. Constraints can also serve as a key bridge concept between the mechanistic approach to explanation and underappreciated work in theoretical biology that sheds light on how biological systems (...)
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  20. Explanatory Autonomy: The Role of Proportionality, Stability, and Conditional Irrelevance.James Woodward - 2018 - Synthese 198 (1):1-29.
    This paper responds to recent criticisms of the idea that true causal claims, satisfying a minimal “interventionist” criterion for causation, can differ in the extent to which they satisfy other conditions—called stability and proportionality—that are relevant to their use in explanatory theorizing. It reformulates the notion of proportionality so as to avoid problems with previous formulations. It also introduces the notion of conditional independence or irrelevance, which I claim is central to understanding the respects and the extent to which upper (...)
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  21. An Abductive Theory of Constitution.Michael Baumgartner & Lorenzo Casini - 2017 - Philosophy of Science 84 (2):214-233.
    The first part of this paper finds Craver’s (2007) mutual manipulability theory (MM) of constitution inadequate, as it definitionally ties constitution to the feasibility of idealized experiments, which, however, are unrealizable in principle. As an alternative, the second part develops an abductive theory of constitution (NDC), which exploits the fact that phenomena and their constituents are unbreakably coupled via common causes. The best explanation for this common-cause coupling is the existence of an additional dependence relation, viz. constitution. Apart from adequately (...)
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  22. In Defense of Levels: Layer Cakes and Guilt by Association.Daniel Brooks - 2017 - Biological Theory 12 (3).
    Despite the ubiquity of “levels of organization” in the scientific literature, a nascent “levels skepticism” now claims that the concept of levels is an inherently flawed, misleading, or otherwise inadequate notion for understanding how life scientists produce knowledge about the natural world. However, levels skeptics rely on the maligned “layer-cake” account of levels stemming from Oppenheim and Putnam’s defense of the unity of science for their critical commentary. Recourse to layer-cake levels is understandable, as it is arguably the default conception (...)
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  23. Explanatory Pluralism: An Unrewarding Prediction Error for Free Energy Theorists.Matteo Colombo & Cory Wright - 2017 - Brain and Cognition 112:3–12.
    Courtesy of its free energy formulation, the hierarchical predictive processing theory of the brain (PTB) is often claimed to be a grand unifying theory. To test this claim, we examine a central case: activity of mesocorticolimbic dopaminergic (DA) systems. After reviewing the three most prominent hypotheses of DA activity—the anhedonia, incentive salience, and reward prediction error hypotheses—we conclude that the evidence currently vindicates explanatory pluralism. This vindication implies that the grand unifying claims of advocates of PTB are unwarranted. More generally, (...)
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  24. Reengineering Metaphysics: Modularity, Parthood, and Evolvability in Metabolic Engineering.Catherine Kendig & Todd T. Eckdahl - 2017 - Philosophy, Theory, and Practice in Biology 9 (8).
    The premise of biological modularity is an ontological claim that appears to come out of practice. We understand that the biological world is modular because we can manipulate different parts of organisms in ways that would only work if there were discrete parts that were interchangeable. This is the foundation of the BioBrick assembly method widely used in synthetic biology. It is one of a number of methods that allows practitioners to construct and reconstruct biological pathways and devices using DNA (...)
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  25. Making Sense of Interlevel Causation in Mechanisms From a Metaphysical Perspective.Beate Krickel - 2017 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 48 (3):453-468.
    According to the new mechanistic approach, an acting entity is at a lower mechanistic level than another acting entity if and only if the former is a component in the mechanism for the latter. Craver and Bechtel :547–563, 2007. doi:10.1007/s10539-006-9028-8) argue that a consequence of this view is that there cannot be causal interactions between acting entities at different mechanistic levels. Their main reason seems to be what I will call the Metaphysical Argument: things at different levels of a mechanism (...)
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  26. Mechanisms Without Mechanistic Explanation.Naftali Weinberger - 2017 - Synthese:1-18.
    Some recent accounts of constitutive relevance have identified mechanism components with entities that are causal intermediaries between the input and output of a mechanism. I argue that on such accounts there is no distinctive inter-level form of mechanistic explanation and that this highlights an absence in the literature of a compelling argument that there are such explanations. Nevertheless, the entities that these accounts call ‘components’ do play an explanatory role. Studying causal intermediaries linking variables Xand Y provides knowledge of the (...)
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  27. Reduction in the Biomedical Sciences.Holly Andersen - 2016 - In Miriam Solomon, Jeremy Simon & Harold Kincaid (eds.), Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Medicine. Routledge.
    This chapter discusses several kinds of reduction that are often found in the biomedical sciences, in contrast to reduction in fields such as physics. This includes reduction as a methodological assumption for how to investigate phenomena like complex diseases, and reduction as a conceptual tool for relating distinct models of the same phenomenon. The case of Parkinson’s disease illustrates a wide variety of ways in which reductionism is an important tool in medicine.
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  28. Levels of Organization: A Deflationary Account.Markus I. Eronen - 2015 - Biology and Philosophy 30 (1):39-58.
    The idea of levels of organization plays a central role in the philosophy of the life sciences. In this article, I first examine the explanatory goals that have motivated accounts of levels of organization. I then show that the most state-of-the-art and scientifically plausible account of levels of organization, the account of levels of mechanism proposed by Bechtel and Craver, is fundamentally problematic. Finally, I argue that the explanatory goals can be reached by adopting a deflationary approach, where levels of (...)
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  29. Protosemiosis: Agency with Reduced Representation Capacity.Alexei A. Sharov & Tommi Vehkavaara - 2015 - Biosemiotics 8 (1):103-123.
    Life has semiotic nature; and as life forms differ in their complexity, functionality, and adaptability, we assume that forms of semiosis also vary accordingly. Here we propose a criterion to distinguish between the primitive kind of semiosis, which we call “protosemiosis” from the advanced kind of semiosis, or “eusemiosis”. In protosemiosis, agents associate signs directly with actions without considering objects, whereas in eusemiosis, agents associate signs with objects and only then possibly with actions. Protosemiosis started from the origin of life, (...)
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  30. Machine-Likeness and Explanation by Decomposition.Arnon Levy - 2014 - Philosophers' Imprint 14.
    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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  31. Emergence, Therefore Antireductionism? A Critique of Emergent Antireductionism.Tudor M. Baetu - 2012 - Biology and Philosophy 27 (3):433-448.
    Emergent antireductionism in biological sciences states that even though all living cells and organisms are composed of molecules, molecular wholes are characterized by emergent properties that can only be understood from the perspective of cellular and organismal levels of composition. Thus, an emergence claim (molecular wholes are characterized by emergent properties) is thought to support a form of antireductionism (properties of higher-level molecular wholes can only be understood by taking into account concepts, theories and explanations dealing with higher-level entities). I (...)
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  32. Why It Is Time To Move Beyond Nagelian Reduction.Marie I. Kaiser - 2012 - In D. Dieks, W. J. Gonzalez, S. Hartmann, M. Stöltzner & M. Weber (eds.), Probabilities, Laws, and Structures. The Philosophy of Science in a European Perspective. Heidelberg, GER: Springer. pp. 255-272.
    In this paper I argue that it is finally time to move beyond the Nagelian framework and to break new ground in thinking about epistemic reduction in biology. I will do so, not by simply repeating all the old objections that have been raised against Ernest Nagel’s classical model of theory reduction. Rather, I grant that a proponent of Nagel’s approach can handle several of these problems but that, nevertheless, Nagel’s general way of thinking about epistemic reduction in terms of (...)
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  33. What’s so Special About Model Organisms?Rachel A. Ankeny & Sabina Leonelli - 2011 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 42 (2):313-323.
    This paper aims to identify the key characteristics of model organisms that make them a specific type of model within the contemporary life sciences: in particular, we argue that the term “model organism” does not apply to all organisms used for the purposes of experimental research. We explore the differences between experimental and model organisms in terms of their material and epistemic features, and argue that it is essential to distinguish between their representational scope and representational target. We also examine (...)
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  34. Mechanism Schemas and the Relationship Between Biological Theories.Tudor M. Baetu - 2011 - In Phyllis McKay Illari Federica Russo (ed.), Causality in the Sciences. Oxford University Press.
  35. Towards a Semiotic Biology: Life is the Action of Signs.Claus Emmeche (ed.) - 2011 - Imperial College Press.
    This book presents programmatic texts on biosemiotics, written collectively by world leading scholars in the field (Deacon, Emmeche, Favareau, Hoffmeyer, Kull, Markoš, Pattee, Stjernfelt). In addition, the book includes chapters which focus closely on semiotic case studies (Bruni, Kotov, Maran, Neuman, Turovski). According to the central thesis of biosemiotics, sign processes characterise all living systems and the very nature of life, and their diverse phenomena can be best explained via the dynamics and typology of sign relations. The authors are therefore (...)
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  36. Aspects of Reductive Explanation in Biological Science: Intrinsicality, Fundamentality, and Temporality.Andreas Hüttemann & Alan C. Love - 2011 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 62 (3):519-549.
    The inapplicability of variations on theory reduction in the context of genetics and their irrelevance to ongoing research has led to an anti-reductionist consensus in philosophy of biology. One response to this situation is to focus on forms of reductive explanation that better correspond to actual scientific reasoning (e.g. part–whole relations). Working from this perspective, we explore three different aspects (intrinsicality, fundamentality, and temporality) that arise from distinct facets of reductive explanation: composition and causation. Concentrating on these aspects generates new (...)
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  37. From Physics to Biology by Extending Criticality and Symmetry Breakings.Giuseppe Longo & Maël Montévil - 2011 - Progress in Biophysics and Molecular Biology 106:340 - 347.
    Symmetries play a major role in physics, in particular since the work by E. Noether and H. Weyl in the first half of last century. Herein, we briefly review their role by recalling how symmetry changes allow to conceptually move from classical to relativistic and quantum physics. We then introduce our ongoing theoretical analysis in biology and show that symmetries play a radically different role in this discipline, when compared to those in current physics. By this comparison, we stress that (...)
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  38. Physics Met Biology, and the Consequence Was….Tom McLeish - 2011 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 42 (2):190-192.
    We summarise the contributions to the discussion and the links between them. The complex relationship between the physical and biological sciences demonstrates three “axes of tension”: the role of simulation, the interplay between levels of explanation, and the generality of “laws”. We identify examples of true synergy between approaches that genuinely explore new research territory, and underscore the contemporary value of the type of discussions contained in this volume.
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  39. Systemic Features of Immune Recognition in the Gut.Bartlomiej Swiatczak, Maria Rescigno & Irun Cohen - 2011 - Microbes and Infection 13:983-991.
    The immune system, to protect the body, must discriminate between the pathogenic and non-pathogenic microbes and respond to them in different ways. How the mucosal immune system manages to make this distinction is poorly understood. We suggest here that the distinction between pathogenic and non-pathogenic microbes is made by an integrated system rather than by single types of cells or single types of receptors; a systems biology approach is needed to understand immune recognition.
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  40. Models in Biology and Physics: What’s the Difference?Darrell Patrick Rowbottom - 2009 - Foundations of Science 14 (4):281-294.
    In Making Sense of Life , Keller emphasizes several differences between biology and physics. Her analysis focuses on significant ways in which modelling practices in some areas of biology, especially developmental biology, differ from those of the physical sciences. She suggests that natural models and modelling by homology play a central role in the former but not the latter. In this paper, I focus instead on those practices that are importantly similar, from the point of view of epistemology and cognitive (...)
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  41. Reductionism in Biology.Ingo Brigandt & Alan Love - 2008 - The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    Reductionism encompasses a set of ontological, epistemological, and methodological claims about the relation of different scientific domains. The basic question of reduction is whether the properties, concepts, explanations, or methods from one scientific domain (typically at higher levels of organization) can be deduced from or explained by the properties, concepts, explanations, or methods from another domain of science (typically one about lower levels of organization). Reduction is germane to a variety of issues in philosophy of science, including the structure of (...)
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  42. Biological and Physicochemical Explanations in Experimental Biology.William A. Rottschaefer - 2008 - Biological Theory 3 (4):380-390.
  43. Approximations, Idealizations and 'Experiments' at the Physics-Biology Interface.Darrell Patrick Rowbottom - 2008 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 42 (2):145-154.
    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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  44. The Adaptive Landscape of Science.John S. Wilkins - 2008 - Biology and Philosophy 23 (5):659-671.
    In 1988, David Hull presented an evolutionary account of science. This was a direct analogy to evolutionary accounts of biological adaptation, and part of a generalized view of Darwinian selection accounts that he based upon the Universal Darwinism of Richard Dawkins. Criticisms of this view were made by, among others, Kim Sterelny, which led to it gaining only limited acceptance. Some of these criticisms are, I will argue, no longer valid in the light of developments in the formal modeling of (...)
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  45. In Search of Mitochondrial Mechanisms: Interfield Excursions Between Cell Biology and Biochemistry.William Bechtel & Adele Abrahamsen - 2007 - Journal of the History of Biology 40 (1):1-33.
    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 the (...)
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  46. A Realism-Based Approach to the Evolution of Biomedical Ontologies.Barry Smith - 2006 - In Proceedings of the Annual AMIA Symposium. Washington, DC: American Medical Informatics Association. pp. 121-125.
    We present a novel methodology for calculating the improvements obtained in successive versions of biomedical ontologies. The theory takes into account changes both in reality itself and in our understanding of this reality. The successful application of the theory rests on the willingness of ontology authors to document changes they make by following a number of simple rules. The theory provides a pathway by which ontology authoring can become a science rather than an art, following principles analogous to those that (...)
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  47. Resisting Ruthless Reductionism: A Commentary on Bickle.Tim Bayne & Jordi FernÁndez - 2005 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 4 (3):239-48.
    Philosophy and Neuroscience is an unabashed apologetic for reductionism in philosophy of mind. Bickle chides his fellow philosophers for their ignorance of mainstream neuroscience, and promises them that a subscription to Cell, Neuron, or any other journal in mainstream neuroscience will be amply rewarded. Rather than being bogged down in the intricacies of two-dimensional semantics or the ontology of properties, philosophers of mind need to get neuroscientifically informed and ruthlessly reductive.
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  48. Antagonistic Redundancy -- A Theory of Error-Correcting Information Transfer in Organisms.Johannes W. Dietrich & Bernhard O. Boehm - 2004 - In Robert Trappl (ed.), Cybernetics and Systems 2004. Wien, Österreich: pp. 225-30.
    Living organisms are exposed to numerous influencing factors. This holds also true for their infrastructures that are processing and transducing information like endocrine networks or nerval channels. Therefore, the ability to compensate for noise is crucial for survival. An efficient mechanism to neutralise disturbances is instantiated in form of parallel complementary communication channels exerting antagonistic effects at their common receivers. Different signal processing types share the ability to suppress noise, to widen the system’s regulation capacity, and to provide for variable (...)
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  49. What Makes Biology Unique?: Considerations on the Autonomy of a Scientific Discipline.Ernst Mayr - 2004 - Cambridge University Press.
    This collection of revised and new essays argues that biology is an autonomous science rather than a branch of the physical sciences. Ernst Mayr, widely considered the most eminent evolutionary biologist of the 20th century, offers insights on the history of evolutionary thought, critiques the conditions of philosophy to the science of biology, and comments on several of the major developments in evolutionary theory. Notably, Mayr explains that Darwin's theory of evolution is actually five separate theories, each with its own (...)
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  50. Why and How to Naturalize Semiotic Concepts for Biosemiotics.Tommi Vehkavaara - 2002 - Sign Systems Studies 30 (1):293-312.
    Any attempt to develop biosemiotics either towards a new biological ground theory or towards a metaphysics of living nature necessitates some kind of naturalization of its semiotic concepts. Instead of standard physicalistic naturalism, a certain kind of semiotic naturalism is pursued here. The naturalized concepts are defined as referring only to the objects of our external experience. When the semiotic concepts are applied to natural phenomena in biosemiotics, there is a risk of falling into anthropomorphic errors if the semiotic concepts (...)
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