Biology and Philosophy 30 (1):39-58 (2015)
AbstractThe 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 organization give way to more well-defined and fundamental notions, such as scale and composition.
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Citations of this work
Mechanistic Levels, Reduction, and Emergence.Mark Povich & Carl F. Craver - 2017 - In Stuart Glennan & Phyllis McKay Illari (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Mechanisms and Mechanical Philosophy. Routledge. pp. 185-97.
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.
In Defense of Levels: Layer Cakes and Guilt by Association.Daniel S. Brooks - 2017 - Biological Theory 12 (3).
A New Look at ‘Levels of Organization’ in Biology.Daniel S. Brooks - 2021 - Erkenntnis 86.
References found in this work
Every Thing Must Go: Metaphysics Naturalized.James Ladyman & Don Ross - 2007 - Oxford University Press.
Mind in a Physical World: An Essay on the Mind–Body Problem and Mental Causation.Jaegwon Kim - 1998 - MIT Press.
Explaining the Brain: Mechanisms and the Mosaic Unity of Neuroscience.Carl F. Craver - 2007 - Oxford University Press, Clarendon Press.