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Lauren N. Ross
University of California, Irvine
  1. Dynamical Models and Explanation in Neuroscience.Lauren N. Ross - 2015 - Philosophy of Science 82 (1):32-54.
    Kaplan and Craver claim that all explanations in neuroscience appeal to mechanisms. They extend this view to the use of mathematical models in neuroscience and propose a constraint such models must meet in order to be explanatory. I analyze a mathematical model used to provide explanations in dynamical systems neuroscience and indicate how this explanation cannot be accommodated by the mechanist framework. I argue that this explanation is well characterized by Batterman’s account of minimal model explanations and that it demonstrates (...)
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    Koch’s Postulates: An Interventionist Perspective.Lauren N. Ross & James F. Woodward - 2016 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 59:35-46.
    We argue that Koch’s postulates are best understood within an interventionist account of causation, in the sense described in Woodward. We show how this treatment helps to resolve interpretive puzzles associated with Koch’s work and how it clarifies the different roles the postulates play in providing useful, yet not universal criteria for disease causation. Our paper is an effort at rational reconstruction; we attempt to show how Koch’s postulates and reasoning make sense and are normatively justified within an interventionist framework (...)
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  3. Causal Control: A Rationale for Causal Selection.Lauren N. Ross - manuscript
    Causal selection has to do with the distinction we make between background conditions and “the” true cause or causes of some outcome of interest. A longstanding consensus in philosophy views causal selection as lacking any objective rationale and as guided, instead, by arbitrary, pragmatic, and non-scientific considerations. I argue against this position in the context of causal selection for disease traits. In this domain, causes are selected on the basis of the type of causal control they exhibit over a disease (...)
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    Causal Concepts in Biology: How Pathways Differ From Mechanisms and Why It Matters.Lauren N. Ross - forthcoming - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science:axy078.
    In the last two decades few topics in philosophy of science have received as much attention as mechanistic explanation. A significant motivation for these accounts is that scientists frequently use the term “mechanism” in their explanations of biological phenomena. While scientists appeal to a variety of causal concepts in their explanations, many philosophers argue or assume that all of these concepts are well understood with the single notion of mechanism. This reveals a significant problem with mainstream mechanistic accounts– although philosophers (...)
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    Distinguishing topological and causal explanation.Lauren N. Ross - forthcoming - Synthese:1-18.
    Recent philosophical work has explored the distinction between causal and non-causal forms of explanation. In this literature, topological explanation is viewed as a clear example of the non-causal variety–it is claimed that topology lacks temporal information, which is necessary for causal structure. This paper explores the distinction between topological and causal forms of explanation and argues that this distinction is not as clear cut as the literature suggests. One reason for this is that some explanations involve both topological and causal (...)
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    Explanation in Contexts of Causal Complexity: Lessons From Psychiatric Genetics.Lauren N. Ross - unknown
    Over the past decade there have been increasingly common claims that psychiatry is in a “crisis”. These claims often target the lack of known or identifiable causal etiologies for psychiatric diseases, suggesting that they are “among the most intractable enigmas in medicine”. While the intractable nature of these disorders is often associated with their “causal complexity”, it is not always clear exactly what is meant by this. How should we understand causal complexity in this domain How does it challenge scientific (...)
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    Finding Causal Structure.Lauren N. Ross - unknown
    The periodic table of elements represents and organizes all known chemical elements on the basis of their properties. While the importance of this table in chemistry is uncontroversial the role that it plays in scientific reasoning remains heavily disputed. Many philosophers deny the explanatory role of the periodic table, while insisting that it is "merely" classificatory. In particular, it has been claimed that the table doesn’t figure in causal explanation because it "does not reveal causal structure". This paper argues that (...)
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    Causal Explanation and the Periodic Table.Lauren N. Ross - forthcoming - Synthese:1-25.
    The periodic table represents and organizes all known chemical elements on the basis of their properties. While the importance of this table in chemistry is uncontroversial, the role that it plays in scientific reasoning remains heavily disputed. Many philosophers deny the explanatory role of the table and insist that it is “merely” classificatory. In particular, it has been claimed that the table does not figure in causal explanation because it “does not reveal causal structure”. This paper provides an analysis of (...)
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