Authors
Marcel Weber
University of Geneva
Abstract
I examine the adequacy of the causal graph-structural equations approach to causation for modeling biological mechanisms. I focus in particular on mechanisms with complex dynamics such as the PER biological clock mechanism in Drosophila. I show that a quantitative model of this mechanism that uses coupled differential equations – the well-known Goldbeter model – cannot be adequately represented in the standard causal graph framework, even though this framework does permit causal cycles. The reason is that the model contains dynamical information about the mechanism that concerns causal properties but that does not correspond to variables that could be subject to independent interventions. Thus, a representation of the mechanisms as a causal structural model necessarily suppresses causally relevant information.
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

PhilArchive copy


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 65,683
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Causality.Judea Pearl - 2000 - Cambridge University Press.
Making Things Happen. A Theory of Causal Explanation.Michael Strevens - 2007 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 74 (1):233-249.

View all 25 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Causal Graphs and Biological Mechanisms.Alexander Gebharter & Marie I. Kaiser - 2014 - In Marie I. Kaiser, Oliver Scholz, Daniel Plenge & Andreas Hüttemann (eds.), Explanation in the special sciences: The case of biology and history. Dordrecht: Springer. pp. 55-86.
A Formal Framework for Representing Mechanisms?Alexander Gebharter - 2014 - Philosophy of Science 81 (1):138-153.
Graphical Models, Causal Inference, and Econometric Models.Peter Spirtes - 2005 - Journal of Economic Methodology 12 (1):3-34.
Causation and Counterfactual Dependence in Robust Biological Systems.Anders Strand & Gry Oftedal - 2013 - In Hanne Andersen, Dennis Dieks, Wenceslao González, Thomas Uebel & Gregory Wheeler (eds.), New Challenges to Philosophy of Science. Springer Verlag. pp. 179--193.
When is a Brain Like the Planet?Clark Glymour - 2007 - Philosophy of Science 74 (3):330-347.
Models for Prediction, Explanation and Control: Recursive Bayesian Networks.Jon Williamson - 2011 - Theoria: Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia 26 (1):5-33.
The Concept of Mechanism in Biology.Daniel J. Nicholson - 2012 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 43 (1):152-163.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2015-09-07

Total views
43 ( #253,977 of 2,462,434 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #449,313 of 2,462,434 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes