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  1. Metaphysics, Function and the Engineering of Life: the Problem of Vitalism.Charles T. Wolfe, Bohang Chen & Cécilia Bognon-Küss - 2018 - Kairos 20 (1):113-140.
    Vitalism was long viewed as the most grotesque view in biological theory: appeals to a mysterious life-force, Romantic insistence on the autonomy of life, or worse, a metaphysics of an entirely living universe. In the early twentieth century, attempts were made to present a revised, lighter version that was not weighted down by revisionary metaphysics: “organicism”. And mainstream philosophers of science criticized Driesch and Bergson’s “neovitalism” as a too-strong ontological commitment to the existence of certain entities or “forces”, over and (...)
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    A non-metaphysical evaluation of vitalism in the early twentieth century.Bohang Chen - 2018 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 40 (3):50.
    In biology the term “vitalism” is usually associated with Hans Driesch’s doctrine of the entelechy: entelechies were nonmaterial, bio-specific agents responsible for governing a few peculiar biological phenomena. Since vitalism defined as such violates metaphysical materialism, the received view refutes the doctrine of the entelechy as a metaphysical heresy. But in the early twentieth century, a different, non-metaphysical evaluation of vitalism was endorsed by some biologists and philosophers, which finally led to a logical refutation of the doctrine of the entelechy. (...)
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    Ernest Nagel's Model of Reduction and Theory Change.Bohang Chen - 2023 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 36 (1):19-37.
    A longstanding criticism of Ernest Nagel's model of reduction is that it fails to take theory change into account. This criticism builds on the received view that Nagelian reductions are incompatible with theory change. This article challenges the received view by showing that Nagel's model can easily accommodate theory change. Indeed, Nagel's model is essentially static as it only gives unchanging formal and nonformal conditions for reduction; in contrast, theory change belongs to the dynamic history of science; as a result, (...)
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    Criticizing the Modern Synthesis: between Phenomenal Characteristics and Synthetic Principles.Bohang Chen, Joris Van Poucke & Gertrudis Van de Vijver - 2021 - Biosemiotics 14 (1):135-140.
    Starting from Denis Noble’s criticism on the modern synthesis, this article argues that the author’s presentation of the modern synthesis focusses too one-sidedly on the phenomenal characteristics of the living, whereby it is made easily suitable to his criticisms, but risks to remain trapped in a territory-struggle; this criticism lacks an explicit focus on logical matters, and more in particular on the synthetic principles required to situate the relevancy or irrelevancy of phenomenal characteristics beyond territory-struggles. A brief sketch of how (...)
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  5. Two dimensions of the biological function debate.Bohang Chen - 2024 - Theoria: Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia 39 (1):109-129.
    This article adopts a minimal definition of biological usage to demonstrate that the debate over biological function encompasses two distinct dimensions: descriptive and prescriptive. In the descriptive dimension, biological usage serves as the final arbiter for evaluating different accounts of biological function. Conversely, in the prescriptive dimension, accounts are formulated despite biological usage. The main thesis of this article is that the descriptive/prescriptive distinction helps make better sense of the biological function debate from a novel perspective. This is elucidated by (...)
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    Trepanier, Lee, ed., Eric Voegelin’s Asian Political Thought: Lanham, Boulder, New York, and London: Lexington Books, 2020, 233 pages.Bohang Chen - 2021 - Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy 20 (3):515-520.