Functional stability and systems level causation

Philosophy of Science 76 (5):809-820 (2009)

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Abstract
A wide range of gene knockout experiments shows that functional stability is an important feature of biological systems. On this backdrop, we present an argument for higher‐level causation based on counterfactual dependence. Furthermore, we sketch a metaphysical picture providing resources to explain the metaphysical nature of functional stability, higher‐level causation, and the relevant notion of levels. Our account aims to clarify the role empirical results and philosophical assumptions should play in debates about reductionism and higher‐level causation. It thereby contributes to the development of a philosophical foundation for systems biology. †To contact the authors, please write to: CSMN/IFIKK, University of Oslo, Box 1020 Blindern, N‐0315, Oslo, Norway; e‐mail: anders.strand@ifikk.uio.no , gry.oftedal@ifikk.uio.no.
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DOI 10.1086/605811
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References found in this work BETA

Mental Causation.Stephen Yablo - 1992 - Philosophical Review 101 (2):245-280.

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Citations of this work BETA

Extended Mechanistic Explanations: Expanding the Current Mechanistic Conception to Include More Complex Biological Systems.Sarah M. Roe & Bert Baumgaertner - 2017 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 48 (4):517-534.
The Concept of Causation in Biology.Michael Joffe - 2013 - Erkenntnis 78 (2):179-197.
Restricted Causal Relevance.Anders Strand & Gry Oftedal - 2019 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 70 (2):431-457.

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