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Making mechanism interesting

Synthese 195 (1):11-33 (2018)

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  1. Scale Dependency and Downward Causation in Biology.Sara Green - 2018 - Philosophy of Science 85 (5):998-1011.
    This paper argues that scale-dependence of physical and biological processes offers resistance to reductionism and has implications that support a specific kind of downward causation. I demonstrate how insights from multiscale modeling can provide a concrete mathematical interpretation of downward causation as boundary conditions for models used to represent processes at lower scales. The autonomy and role of macroscale parameters and higher-level constraints are illustrated through examples of multiscale modeling in physics, developmental biology, and systems biology. Drawing on these examples, (...)
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  • 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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