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  1. added 2018-10-19
    Causal Specificity, Biological Possibility and Non-Parity About Genetic Causes.Marcel Weber - manuscript
    Several authors have used the notion of causal specificity in order to defend non-parity about genetic causes (Waters 2007, Woodward 2010, Weber 2017, forthcoming). Non-parity in this context is the idea that DNA and some other biomolecules that are often described as information-bearers by biologists play a unique role in life processes, an idea that has been challenged by Developmental Systems Theory (e.g., Oyama 2000). Indeed, it has proven to be quite difficult to state clearly what the alleged special role (...)
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  2. added 2018-10-19
    The Central Dogma as a Thesis of Causal Specificity.Marcel Weber - 2006 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 28 (4):595-610.
    I present a reconstruction of F.H.C. Crick's two 1957 hypotheses "Sequence Hypothesis" and "Central Dogma" in terms of a contemporary philosophical theory of causation. Analyzing in particular the experimental evidence that Crick cited, I argue that these hypotheses can be understood as claims about the actual difference-making cause in protein synthesis. As these hypotheses are only true if restricted to certain nucleic acids in certain organisms, I then examine the concept of causal specificity and its potential to counter claims about (...)
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  3. added 2018-04-10
    Programming the Emergence in Morphogenetically Architected Complex Systems.Franck Varenne, Pierre Chaigneau, Jean Petitot & René Doursat - 2015 - Acta Biotheoretica 63 (3):295-308.
    Large sets of elements interacting locally and producing specific architectures reliably form a category that transcends the usual dividing line between biological and engineered systems. We propose to call them morphogenetically architected complex systems (MACS). While taking the emergence of properties seriously, the notion of MACS enables at the same time the design (or “meta-design”) of operational means that allow controlling and even, paradoxically, programming this emergence. To demonstrate our claim, we first show that among all the self-organized systems studied (...)
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  4. added 2018-04-07
    Контуры нового мирового порядка.Leonid Grinin - 2015 - Философия И Общество 3 (4):7-33.
    Мировой порядок как система определенных идей и правил, господ-ствующих в международной политике, стал формироваться в Европе начиная с XVI в., окончательно утвердившись в XIX столетии. Однако этот порядок держится обычно в пределах трех-четырех десятилетий, а затем под влиянием изменившихся обстоятельств и нового баланса сил меняется. В настоящее время мы как раз переживаем период смены ми-рового порядка и начала формирования новой его системы. В статье анализируется начало ослабления мирового порядка, основанного на американской гегемонии, рассматриваются характерные черты и методы, которые используют США (...)
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  5. added 2017-08-31
    Causal Selection Versus Causal Parity in Biology: Relevant Counterfactuals and Biologically Normal Interventions.Marcel Weber - forthcoming - In C. Kenneth Waters & James Woodward (eds.), Philosophical Perspectives on Causal Reasoning in Biology. Minnesota Studies in Philosophy of Science. Vol. XXI. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
    Causal selection is the task of picking out, from a field of known causally relevant factors, some factors as elements of an explanation. The Causal Parity Thesis in the philosophy of biology challenges the usual ways of making such selections among different causes operating in a developing organism. The main target of this thesis is usually gene centrism, the doctrine that genes play some special role in ontogeny, which is often described in terms of information-bearing or programming. This paper is (...)
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  6. added 2017-05-19
    A Developmental Systems Account of Human Nature.Karola Stotz & Paul Edmund Griffiths - 2018 - In Tim Lewens & Elizabeth Hannon (eds.), Why we disagree about human nature. Oxford & New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 00-00.
    It is now widely accepted that a scientifically credible conception of human nature must reject the folkbiological idea of a fixed, inner essence that makes us human. We argue here that to understand human nature is to understand the plastic process of human development and the diversity it produces. Drawing on the framework of developmental systems theory and the idea of developmental niche construction we argue that human nature is not embodied in only one input to development, such as the (...)
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  7. added 2017-05-12
    Developmental Systems Theory as a Process Theory.Paul Edmund Griffiths & Karola Stotz - forthcoming - In Daniel J. Nicholson & John Dupre (eds.), Everything Flows: Towards a Processual Philosophy of Biology. Oxford & New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 00-00.
    Griffiths and Russell D. Gray (1994, 1997, 2001) have argued that the fundamental unit of analysis in developmental systems theory should be a process – the life cycle – and not a set of developmental resources and interactions between those resources. The key concepts of developmental systems theory, epigenesis and developmental dynamics, both also suggest a process view of the units of development. This chapter explores in more depth the features of developmental systems theory that favour treating processes as fundamental (...)
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  8. added 2016-08-30
    Which Kind of Causal Specificity Matters Biologically?Marcel Weber - 2017 - Philosophy of Science 84 (3):574-585.
    Griffiths et al. (2015) have proposed a quantitative measure of causal specificity and used it to assess various attempts to single out genetic causes as being causally more specific than other cellular mechanisms, for example, alternative splicing. Focusing in particular on developmental processes, they have identified a number of important challenges for this project. In this discussion note, I would like to show how these challenges can be met.
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  9. added 2016-02-29
    Regeneration of Hydra From Aggregated Cells.Alfred Gierer, S. Berking, H. Bode, C. N. David, K. Flick, G. Hansmann, H. Schaller & E. Trenkner - 1972 - Nature New Biology 239:98-101.
    • Aggregates of previously isolated cells of Hydra are capable, under suitable solvant conditions, of regeneration forming complete animals. In a first stage, ecto- and endodermal cells sort out, producing the bilayered hollow structure characteristic of Hydra tissue; thereafter, heads are formed (even if the original cell preparation contained no head cells), eventually leading to the separation of normal animals with head, body column and foot. Hydra appears to be the highest type of organism that allows for regeneration of the (...)
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  10. added 2016-01-22
    Developmental Systems Theory.Paul Griffiths & Adam Hochman - 2015 - eLS:1-7.
    Developmental systems theory (DST) is a wholeheartedly epigenetic approach to development, inheritance and evolution. The developmental system of an organism is the entire matrix of resources that are needed to reproduce the life cycle. The range of developmental resources that are properly described as being inherited, and which are subject to natural selection, is far wider than has traditionally been allowed. Evolution acts on this extended set of developmental resources. From a developmental systems perspective, development does not proceed according to (...)
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  11. added 2015-05-27
    Generation of Biological Patterns and Form: Some Physical, Mathematical and Logical Aspects.Alfred Gierer - 1981 - Progress in Biophysics and Molecular Biology 37 (1):1-48.
    While many different mechanisms contribute to the generation of spatial order in biological development, the formation of morphogenetic fields which in turn direct cell responses giving rise to pattern and form are of major importance and essential for embryogenesis and regeneration. Most likely the fields represent concentration patterns of substances produced by molecular kinetics. Short range autocatalytic activation in conjunction with longer range “lateral” inhibition or depletion effects is capable of generating such patterns (Gierer and Meinhardt, 1972). Non-linear reactions are (...)
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  12. added 2015-05-25
    The Hydra Model - a Model for What?Alfred Gierer - 2012 - International Journal of Developmental Biology 56:437-445.
    The introductory personal remarks refer to my motivations for choosing research projects, and for moving from physics to molecular biology and then to development, with Hydra as a model system. Historically, Trembley’s discovery of Hydra regeneration in 1744 was the begin¬ning of developmental biology as we understand it, with passionate debates about preformation versus de novo generation, mechanisms versus organisms. In fact, seemingly conflicting bottom-up and top-down concepts are both required in combination to understand development. In modern terms, this means (...)
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  13. added 2015-05-25
    A Theory of Biological Pattern Formation.Alfred Gierer & Hans Meinhardt - 1972 - Kybernetik, Continued as Biological Cybernetics 12 (1):30 - 39.
    The paper addresses the formation of striking patterns within originally near-homogenous tissue, the process prototypical for embryology, and represented in particularly purist form by cut sections of hydra regenerating, by internal reorganisation of the pre-existing tissue, a complete animal with head and foot. The essential requirements are autocatalytic, self-enhancing activation, combined with inhibitory or depletion effects of wider range – “lateral inhibition”. Not only de-novo-pattern formation, but also well known, striking features of developmental regulation such as induction, inhibition, and proportion (...)
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  14. added 2014-06-10
    The Dispositional Genome: Primus Inter Pares.Christopher J. Austin - 2015 - Biology and Philosophy 30 (2):227-246.
    According to the proponents of Developmental Systems Theory and the Causal Parity Thesis, the privileging of the genome as “first among equals” with respect to the development of phenotypic traits is more a reflection of our own heuristic prejudice than of ontology - the underlying causal structures responsible for that specified development no more single out the genome as primary than they do other broadly “environmental” factors. Parting with the methodology of the popular responses to the Thesis, this paper offers (...)
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  15. added 2014-05-23
    Genotype–Phenotype Mapping and the End of the ‘Genes as Blueprint’ Metaphor.Massimo Pigliucci - 2010 - Philosophical Transactions Royal Society B 365:557–566.
    In a now classic paper published in 1991, Alberch introduced the concept of genotype–phenotype (G!P) mapping to provide a framework for a more sophisticated discussion of the integration between genetics and developmental biology that was then available. The advent of evo-devo first and of the genomic era later would seem to have superseded talk of transitions in phenotypic space and the like, central to Alberch’s approach. On the contrary, this paper shows that recent empirical and theoretical advances have only sharpened (...)
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  16. added 2014-05-23
    The New Evolutionary Synthesis: Around the Corner, or Impossible Chimaera? [REVIEW]Massimo Pigliucci - 2003 - Quarterly Review of Biology 78 (4):449-453.
    In the fall of 1990 I had just began my doc- toral studies at the University of Connecticut. Freshly arrived from Italy, I came to the United States to work with Carl Schlichting on something to do with phenotypic plastic- ity. I spent most of that semester discussing with other graduate students what I thought was a momentous paper by Mary Jane West- Eberhard (1989) in the Annual Review of Ecol- ogy and Systematics. That paper, entitled Phe- notypic Plasticity and (...)
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  17. added 2014-05-04
    Explaining Causal Selection with Explanatory Causal Economy: Biology and Beyond.L. R. Franklin-Hall - 2015 - In P.-A. Braillard & C. Malaterre (eds.), Explanation in Biology: An Enquiry into the Diversity of Explanatory Patterns in the Life Sciences. Springer. pp. 413-438.
    Among the factors necessary for the occurrence of some event, which of these are selectively highlighted in its explanation and labeled as causes — and which are explanatorily omitted, or relegated to the status of background conditions? Following J. S. Mill, most have thought that only a pragmatic answer to this question was possible. In this paper I suggest we understand this ‘causal selection problem’ in causal-explanatory terms, and propose that explanatory trade-offs between abstraction and stability can provide a principled (...)
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  18. added 2013-04-28
    The Phylogeny Fallacy and the Ontogeny Fallacy.Adam Hochman - 2013 - Biology and Philosophy 28 (4):593-612.
    In 1990 Robert Lickliter and Thomas Berry identified the phylogeny fallacy, an empirically untenable dichotomy between proximate and evolutionary causation, which locates proximate causes in the decoding of ‘ genetic programs’, and evolutionary causes in the historical events that shaped these programs. More recently, Lickliter and Hunter Honeycutt argued that Evolutionary Psychologists commit this fallacy, and they proposed an alternative research program for evolutionary psychology. For these authors the phylogeny fallacy is the proximate/evolutionary distinction itself, which they argue constitutes a (...)
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  19. added 2012-06-16
    Extended Cognition, Extended Selection, and Developmental Systems Theory.Robert D. Rupert - manuscript
    I respond to Karola Stotz's criticisms of my previously published challenges to the inference from developmental systems theory to an extended view of cognition.
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