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  1. Mental Kinematics: Dynamics and Mechanics of Neurocognitive Systems.David L. Barack - 2020 - Synthese 199 (1-2):1091-1123.
    Dynamical systems play a central role in explanations in cognitive neuroscience. The grounds for these explanations are hotly debated and generally fall under two approaches: non-mechanistic and mechanistic. In this paper, I first outline a neurodynamical explanatory schema that highlights the role of dynamical systems in cognitive phenomena. I next explore the mechanistic status of such neurodynamical explanations. I argue that these explanations satisfy only some of the constraints on mechanistic explanation and should be considered pseudomechanistic explanations. I defend this (...)
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  • Organisms, activity, and being: on the substance of process ontology.Christopher J. Austin - 2020 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 10 (2):1-21.
    According to contemporary ‘process ontology’, organisms are best conceptualised as spatio-temporally extended entities whose mereological composition is fundamentally contingent and whose essence consists in changeability. In contrast to the Aristotelian precepts of classical ‘substance ontology’, from the four-dimensional perspective of this framework, the identity of an organism is grounded not in certain collections of privileged properties, or features which it could not fail to possess, but in the succession of diachronic relations by which it persists, or ‘perdures’ as one entity (...)
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  • Beyond Networks: Mechanism and Process in Evo-Devo.James DiFrisco & Johannes Jaeger - 2019 - Biology and Philosophy 34 (6):54.
    Explanation in terms of gene regulatory networks has become standard practice in evolutionary developmental biology. In this paper, we argue that GRNs fail to provide a robust, mechanistic, and dynamic understanding of the developmental processes underlying the genotype–phenotype map. Explanations based on GRNs are limited by three main problems: the problem of genetic determinism, the problem of correspondence between network structure and function, and the problem of diachronicity, as in the unfolding of causal interactions over time. Overcoming these problems requires (...)
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  • Autopoiesis, Biological Autonomy and the Process View of Life.Anne Sophie Meincke - 2018 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 9 (1):5.
    In recent years, an increasing number of theoretical biologists and philosophers of biology have been opposing reductionist research agendas by appealing to the concept of biological autonomy which draws on the older concept of autopoiesis. In my paper, I investigate some of the ontological implications of this approach. The emphasis on autonomy and autopoiesis, together with the associated idea of organisational closure, might evoke the impression that organisms are to be categorised ontologically as substances: ontologically independent, well-individuated, discrete particulars. However, (...)
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  • Molecular Pathways and the Contextual Explanation of Molecular Functions.Giovanni Boniolo & Raffaella Campaner - 2018 - Biology and Philosophy 33 (3-4):24.
    Much of the recent philosophical debate on causation and causal explanation in the biological and biomedical sciences has focused on the notion of mechanism. Mechanisms, their nature and epistemic roles have been tackled by a range of so-called neo-mechanistic theories, and widely discussed. Without denying the merits of this approach, our paper aims to show how lately it has failed to give proper credit to processes, which are central to the field, especially of contemporary molecular biology. Processes can be summed (...)
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  • Contemporary Hylomorphisms: On the Matter of Form.Christopher J. Austin - 2020 - Ancient Philosophy Today 2 (2):113-144.
    As there is currently a neo-Aristotelian revival currently taking place within contemporary metaphysics and dispositions, or causal powers are now being routinely utilised in theories of causality and modality, more attention is beginning to be paid to a central Aristotelian concern: the metaphysics of substantial unity, and the doctrine of hylomorphism. In this paper, I distinguish two strands of hylomorphism present in the contemporary literature and argue that not only does each engender unique conceptual difficulties, but neither adequately captures the (...)
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  • What is a Hologenomic Adaptation? Emergent Individuality and Inter-Identity in Multispecies Systems.Javier Suárez & Vanessa Triviño - 2020 - Frontiers in Psychology 187 (11).
    Contemporary biological research has suggested that some host–microbiome multispecies systems (referred to as “holobionts”) can in certain circumstances evolve as unique biological individual, thus being a unit of selection in evolution. If this is so, then it is arguably the case that some biological adaptations have evolved at the level of the multispecies system, what we call hologenomic adaptations. However, no research has yet been devoted to investigating their nature, or how these adaptations can be distinguished from adaptations at the (...)
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  • A Biologically Informed Hylomorphism.Christopher J. Austin - 2017 - In William M. R. Simpson, Robert C. Koons & Nicholas J. Teh (eds.), Neo-Aristotelian Perspectives on Contemporary Science. Routledge. pp. 185-210.
    Although contemporary metaphysics has recently undergone a neo-Aristotelian revival wherein dispositions, or capacities are now commonplace in empirically grounded ontologies, being routinely utilised in theories of causality and modality, a central Aristotelian concept has yet to be given serious attention – the doctrine of hylomorphism. The reason for this is clear: while the Aristotelian ontological distinction between actuality and potentiality has proven to be a fruitful conceptual framework with which to model the operation of the natural world, the distinction between (...)
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  • Beyond Networks: Mechanism and Process in Evo-Devo.James DiFrisco & Johannes Jaeger - 2019 - Biology and Philosophy 34 (6):54.
    Explanation in terms of gene regulatory networks has become standard practice in evolutionary developmental biology. In this paper, we argue that GRNs fail to provide a robust, mechanistic, and dynamic understanding of the developmental processes underlying the genotype–phenotype map. Explanations based on GRNs are limited by three main problems: the problem of genetic determinism, the problem of correspondence between network structure and function, and the problem of diachronicity, as in the unfolding of causal interactions over time. Overcoming these problems requires (...)
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  • Realization in Biology?Sergio Balari & Guillermo Lorenzo - 2019 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 41 (1):5.
    It is widely assumed that functional and dispositional properties are not identical to their physical base, but that there is some kind of asymmetrical ontological dependence between them. In this regard, a popular idea is that the former are realized by the latter, which, under the non-identity assumption, is generally understood to be a non-causal, constitutive relation. In this paper we examine two of the most widely accepted approaches to realization, the so-called ‘flat view’ and the ‘dimensioned view’, and we (...)
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