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  1. Kausalität, Finalität Und Ganzheit.Friedrich Alverdes - 1937 - Acta Biotheoretica 3 (3):167-180.
    There is an autonomy in life that contrasts with physico-chemical processes. It has its own biological causality. Each type of life has its teleological as well as causal side. The researches of biology should therefore be devoted to causality and teleology simultaneously, and not to one or other exclusively. Causal and teleological interpretations must not however be confused. Every life is a whole; in the organism all vital processes are integrated, and causality and teleology inherent in the whole. For the (...)
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  2. 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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  3. 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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  4. Emergence, Therefore Antireductionism? A Critique of Emergent Antireductionism.Tudor 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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  5. 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.
  6. 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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  7. 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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  8. Integrating Sciences by Creating New Disciplines: The Case of Cell Biology. [REVIEW]William Bechtel - 1993 - Biology and Philosophy 8 (3):277-299.
    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 of (...)
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  9. 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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  10. 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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  11. 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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  12. In Defense of Levels: Layer Cakes and Guilt by Association.Daniel Stephen 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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  13. 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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  14. Towards a Semiotic Biology: Life is the Action of Signs.Claus Emmeche (ed.) - 2011 - Imperial College Press.
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  15. 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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  16. Darwinism in Philosophy, Social Science and Public Policy.Melinda Fagan & Sahotra Sarkar - 2001 - Biology and Philosophy 16 (5):747-749.
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  17. Simplicity, Cognition and Adaptation: Some Remarks on Marr's Theory of Vision.Daniel Gilman - 1994 - PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1994:454 - 464.
    A large body of research in computational vision science stems from the pioneering work of David Marr. Recently, Patricia Kitcher and others have criticized this work as depending upon optimizing assumptions, assumptions which are held to be inappropriate for evolved cognitive mechanisms just as anti-adaptationists (e.g., Lewontin and Gould) have argued they are inappropriate for other evolved physiological mechanisms. The paper discusses the criticism and suggests that it is, in part, misdirected. It is further suggested that the criticism leads to (...)
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  18. The Mechanics of Individuality in Nature.Stanford Goldman - 1971 - Foundations of Physics 1 (4):395-408.
    Evidence is presented to support the hypothesis that there is a set of basically similar phenomena or characteristics of physics, biology, and sociology. Six of these are identified. Five of them are usually associated with quantum mechanics. They are the existence of eigenstates, transform domains, bosons and fermions, particles and antiparticles, and complementarity. The sixth, namely alternation of generation, is usually associated with biology. The hypothesis leads to some new points of view and interpretations in biology, sociology, and physics.
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  19. Much Ado About Mice: Standard-Setting in Model Organism Research.Rebecca A. Hardesty - forthcoming - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences.
    Recently there has been a practice turn in the philosophy of science that has called for analyses to be grounded in the actual doings of everyday science. This paper is in furtherance of this call and it does so by employing participant-observation ethnographic methods as a tool for discovering epistemological features of scientific practice in a neuroscience lab. The case I present focuses on a group of neurobiologists researching the genetic underpinnings of cognition in Down syndrome (DS) and how they (...)
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  20. 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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  21. 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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  22. 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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  23. The Conception of Environment in Genetic Bio-Psychology.O. Kinberg - 1941 - Theoria 7 (1):1-19.
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  24. 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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  25. 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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  26. Sobre la Unidad de Las Ciencias Biológicas.Pablo Lorenzano - 2001 - Signos Filosóficos 5:121-131.
    The objective of this papper is to examine, under the light of some recent works in general philosophy of science as well as in special philosophy of biology, the different forms that assumes the thesis of the unity of science, in order to be able to determine in what sense it can be spoken about the unity of biological sciences.
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  27. When Does Chemical Evolution Becomes Biological.Christophe Malaterre - unknown
  28. Heterogenistics: An Epistemological Restructuring of Biological and Social Sciences.Magoroh Maruyama - 1977 - Acta Biotheoretica 26 (2):120-136.
    The epistemology which sees intra-specific and intra-group heterogenization, symbiotization, interactive pattern-generating and change as basic principles produces types of theories and research strategies different from the epistemology based on the notions of intra-specific and intra-group uniformity, competition and stabilization. In the uniformistic view, individual variations have been reduced mainly either to statistical deviations from the mean or to dominance relationship. On the other hand in the heterogenistic view, mutual beneficial interactions between qualitatively heterogeneous individuals within a group is regarded as (...)
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  29. 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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  30. 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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  31. The Development of Biochemistry in England Through Botany and the Brewing Industry (1870-1890).Neil Morgan - 1980 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 2 (1):141 - 166.
    During the last three decades of the nineteenth century, the gulf between German plant physiology and English botany was closed. Through the efforts of a dedicated group of young scientists the taxonomic tradition of English botany was gradually dismantled, and replaced by a physiologically orientated science, which emphasised the vital properties of the plant. The conceptual and institutional foundations for this change are described, as is the separate development of the English brewing industry. The activities of the leading figures in (...)
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  32. Chimie et biologie: Des « molécules organiques » de Buffon à la « physico-chimie » de Lamarck.Jacques Roger - 1979 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 1 (1):43 - 64.
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  33. Instrumental Biology, or, the Disunity of Science.Alexander Rosenberg - 1994 - University of Chicago Press.
    Do the sciences aim to uncover the structure of nature, or are they ultimately a practical means of controlling our environment? In Instrumental Biology, or the Disunity of Science, Alexander Rosenberg argues that while physics and chemistry can develop laws that reveal the structure of natural phenomena, biology is fated to be a practical, instrumental discipline. Because of the complexity produced by natural selection, and because of the limits on human cognition, scientists are prevented from uncovering the basic structure of (...)
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  34. Biological and Physicochemical Explanations in Experimental Biology.William A. Rottschaefer - 2008 - Biological Theory 3 (4):380-390.
  35. 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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  36. 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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  37. Biology and the Unity of Science.Dudley Shapere - 1969 - Journal of the History of Biology 2 (1):3-18.
  38. 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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  39. 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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  40. 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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  41. Forging Links Between Philosophy, Ethics, and the Life Sciences: A Tale of Disciplines and Trenches.Wim J. Van der Steen - 1998 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 20 (2):233-248.
    Philosophy of medicine and its daughter bioethics seldom undertake a critical analysis of live medical science. That is a serious shortcoming since some forms of bias in medical science have a negative impact on health care. Most notably, many areas of medicine focus on a restricted area of biology to the exclusion of ecology. Ecological thinking should lead to fundamental changes in medicine and the philosophy of medicine.
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  42. 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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  43. Mechanisms Without Mechanistic Explanation.Naftali Weinberger - forthcoming - 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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  44. Justus Liebig and the Plant Physiologists.Petra Werner & Frederic L. Holmes - 2002 - Journal of the History of Biology 35 (3):421 - 441.
    In his book "Organic Chemistry in its Application to Agriculture and Chemistry." Justus Liebig attacked "the plant physiologists" for their support of the humus theory and for their general ignorance of chemistry. Two leading botanists, Matthias Schleiden and Hugo von Mohl, responded by sharply criticizing Liebig for his lack of knowledge of plants and his misrepresentation of the views of plant physiologists. The origin and character of this debate can be understood in part through the temperaments of Liebig and Schleiden, (...)
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  45. 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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  46. 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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