Reducing the dauer larva: molecular models of biological phenomena in Caenorhabditis elegans research

Synthese 190 (18):4155-4179 (2013)

Michal Arciszewski
University of Guelph
One important aspect of biological explanation is detailed causal modeling of particular phenomena in limited experimental background conditions. Recognising this allows one to appreciate 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 identities—which are ubiquitous in biology and form the basis of ruthless reductions (Bickle, Philosophy and neuroscience: a ruthlessly reductive account, 2003)—are criticised as merely “local” (Sullivan, Synthese 167:511–539, 2009) or “fragmentary” (Schaffner, Synthese, 151(3):377–402, 2006). However, in an instructive case, a biological model is preserved in molecular terms, demonstrating a complex phenomenon that has been successfully reduced
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DOI 10.1007/s11229-013-0254-8
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How the Laws of Physics Lie.Nancy Cartwright - 1983 - Oxford University Press.

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