Constraints on Localization and Decomposition as Explanatory Strategies in the Biological Sciences


Authors
Abstract
Several articles have recently appeared arguing that there really are no viable alternatives to mechanistic explanation in the biological sciences. This claim is meant to hold both in principle and in practice. The basic claim is that any explanation of a particular feature of a biological system, including dynamical explanations, must ultimately be grounded in mechanistic explanation. There are several variations on this theme, some stronger and some weaker. In order to avoid equivocation and miscommunication, in section 1 we will argue that mechanistic explanation is defined by localization and decomposition. In section 2 we will argue that systems neuroscience contains explanations that violate both localization and decomposition on any non-trivial construal of these concepts. Therefore, in section 3 we conclude the mechanistic model of explanation either needs to stretch to now include explanations wherein localization or decomposition fail, or acknowledge that there are counter-examples to mechanistic explanation in the biological sciences. We will also consider consequences and possible replies on the part of the mechanist in section 3.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 39,966
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Functional Kinds: A Skeptical Look.Cameron Buckner - 2015 - Synthese 192 (12):3915-3942.

View all 6 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Mechanistic Explanation in Engineering Science.Dingmar van Eck - 2015 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 5 (3):349-375.
Mechanisms Are Real and Local.Phyllis McKay Illari & Jon Williamson - 2011 - In Phyllis McKay Illari, Federica Russo & Jon Williamson (eds.), Causality in the Sciences. Oxford University Press.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2015-09-07

Total views
12 ( #606,367 of 2,236,040 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
5 ( #368,805 of 2,236,040 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes

Sign in to use this feature