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  1. Revisiting abstraction and idealization: how not to criticize mechanistic explanation in molecular biology.Martin Zach - 2022 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 12 (1):1-20.
    Abstraction and idealization are the two notions that are most often discussed in the context of assumptions employed in the process of model building. These notions are also routinely used in philosophical debates such as that on the mechanistic account of explanation. Indeed, an objection to the mechanistic account has recently been formulated precisely on these grounds: mechanists cannot account for the common practice of idealizing difference-making factors in models in molecular biology. In this paper I revisit the debate and (...)
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  • Technology-driven surrogates and the perils of epistemic misalignment: an analysis in contemporary microbiome science.Javier Suárez & Federico Boem - 2022 - Synthese 200 (6):1-28.
    A general view in philosophy of science says that the appropriateness of an object to act as a surrogate depends on the user’s decision to utilize it as such. This paper challenges this claim by examining the role of surrogative reasoning in high-throughput sequencing technologies as they are used in contemporary microbiome science. Drawing on this, we argue that, in technology-driven surrogates, knowledge about the type of inference practically permitted and epistemically justified by the surrogate constrains their use and thus (...)
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  • A Roadmap to Explanatory Pluralism: Introduction to the Topical Collection The Biology of Behaviour.Eric Muszynski & Christophe Malaterre - 2020 - Synthese 199 (1-2):1777-1789.
    Pluralism is widely appealed to in many areas of philosophy of science, though what is meant by ‘pluralism’ may profoundly vary. Because explanations of behaviour have been a favoured target for pluralistic theses, the sciences of behaviour offer a rich context in which to further investigate pluralism. This is what the topical collection The Biology of Behaviour: Explanatory pluralism across the life sciences is about. In the present introduction, we briefly review major strands of pluralist theses and their motivations. We (...)
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  • In Search of an Ontology for 4E Theories: From New Mechanism to Causal Powers Realism.Charles Lassiter & Joseph Vukov - 2021 - Synthese 199 (3-4):9785-9808.
    Embodied, embedded, enactive, and extended theorists do not typically focus on the ontological frameworks in which they develop their theories. One exception is 4E theories that embrace New Mechanism. In this paper, we endorse the New Mechanist’s general turn to ontology, but argue that their ontology is not the best on the market for 4E theories. Instead, we advocate for a different ontology: causal powers realism. Causal powers realism posits that psychological manifestations are the product of mental powers, and that (...)
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  • Descriptive understanding and prediction in COVID-19 modelling.Johannes Findl & Javier Suárez - 2021 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 43 (4):1-31.
    COVID-19 has substantially affected our lives during 2020. Since its beginning, several epidemiological models have been developed to investigate the specific dynamics of the disease. Early COVID-19 epidemiological models were purely statistical, based on a curve-fitting approach, and did not include causal knowledge about the disease. Yet, these models had predictive capacity; thus they were used to ground important political decisions, in virtue of the understanding of the dynamics of the pandemic that they offered. This raises a philosophical question about (...)
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  • Equilibrium Explanation as Structural Non-Mechanistic Explanation: The Case Long-Term Bacterial Persistence in Human Hosts.Javier Suárez & Roger Deulofeu - 2019 - Teorema: International Journal of Philosophy 3 (38):95-120.
    Philippe Huneman has recently questioned the widespread application of mechanistic models of scientific explanation based on the existence of structural explanations, i.e. explanations that account for the phenomenon to be explained in virtue of the mathematical properties of the system where the phenomenon obtains, rather than in terms of the mechanisms that causally produce the phenomenon. Structural explanations are very diverse, including cases like explanations in terms of bowtie structures, in terms of the topological properties of the system, or in (...)
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