On physicalism and downward causation in developmental and cancer biology

Acta Biotheoretica 56 (4):257-274 (2008)

Ana M. Soto
Tufts University
The dominant position in Philosophy of Science contends that downward causation is an illusion. Instead, we argue that downward causation doesn’t introduce vicious circles either in physics or in biology. We also question the metaphysical claim that “physical facts fix all the facts.” Downward causation does not imply any contradiction if we reject the assumption of the completeness and the causal closure of the physical world that this assertion contains. We provide an argument for rejecting this assumption. Furthermore, this allows us to reconsider the concept of diachronic emergence.
Keywords Philosophy   Evolutionary Biology   Philosophy of Biology
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DOI 10.1007/s10441-008-9052-y
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References found in this work BETA

Making Sense of Emergence.Jaegwon Kim - 1999 - Philosophical Studies 95 (1-2):3-36.
Darwin's Dangerous Idea.Daniel C. Dennett - 1996 - Behavior and Philosophy 24 (2):169-174.
1953 and All That. A Tale of Two Sciences.Philip Kitcher - 1984 - Philosophical Review 93 (3):335-373.
Theory of Integrative Levels.James K. Feibleman - 1954 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 5 (17):59-66.

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Experiment, Downward Causation, and Interventionist Levels of Explanation.Veli-Pekka Parkkinen - 2016 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 30 (3):245-261.

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