Causal regularities in the biological world of contingent distributions

Biology and Philosophy 13 (1):5-36 (1998)
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Abstract

Former discussions of biological generalizations have focused on the question of whether there are universal laws of biology. These discussions typically analyzed generalizations out of their investigative and explanatory contexts and concluded that whatever biological generalizations are, they are not universal laws. The aim of this paper is to explain what biological generalizations are by shifting attention towards the contexts in which they are drawn. I argue that within the context of any particular biological explanation or investigation, biologists employ two types of generations. One type identifies causal regularities exhibited by particular kinds of biological entities. The other type identifies how these entities are distributed in the biological world.

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C. Kenneth Waters
University of Calgary

Citations of this work

Role Functions, Mechanisms, and Hierarchy.Carl F. Craver - 2001 - Philosophy of Science 68 (1):53-74.
What Was Classical Genetics?C. Kenneth Waters - 2004 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 35 (4):783-809.
There May Be Strict Empirical Laws in Biology, After All.Mehmet Elgin - 2006 - Biology and Philosophy 21 (1):119-134.

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References found in this work

Actions, Reasons, and Causes.Donald Davidson - 1963 - Journal of Philosophy 60 (23):685.
The Structure of Science.Ernest Nagel - 1961 - Les Etudes Philosophiques 17 (2):275-275.
The Structure of Biological Science.Alexander Rosenberg - 1985 - Cambridge University Press.

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