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Causal graphs and biological mechanisms

In Marie I. Kaiser, Oliver Scholz, Daniel Plenge & Andreas Hüttemann (eds.), Explanation in the special sciences: The case of biology and history. Dordrecht: Springer. pp. 55-86 (2014)

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  1. Causal Nets, Interventionism, and Mechanisms: Philosophical Foundations and Applications.Alexander Gebharter - 2017 - Cham: Springer.
    This monograph looks at causal nets from a philosophical point of view. The author shows that one can build a general philosophical theory of causation on the basis of the causal nets framework that can be fruitfully used to shed new light on philosophical issues. Coverage includes both a theoretical as well as application-oriented approach to the subject. The author first counters David Hume’s challenge about whether causation is something ontologically real. The idea behind this is that good metaphysical concepts (...)
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  • On the Limits of Causal Modeling: Spatially-Structurally Complex Biological Phenomena.Marie I. Kaiser - 2016 - Philosophy of Science 83 (5):921-933.
    This paper examines the adequacy of causal graph theory as a tool for modeling biological phenomena and formalizing biological explanations. I point out that the causal graph approach reaches it limits when it comes to modeling biological phenomena that involve complex spatial and structural relations. Using a case study from molecular biology, DNA-binding and -recognition of proteins, I argue that causal graph models fail to adequately represent and explain causal phenomena in this field. The inadequacy of these models is due (...)
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  • How to Model Mechanistic Hierarchies.Lorenzo Casini - 2016 - Philosophy of Science 83 (5):946-958.
    Mechanisms are usually viewed as inherently hierarchical, with lower levels of a mechanism influencing, and decomposing, its higher-level behaviour. In order to adequately draw quantitative predictions from a model of a mechanism, the model needs to capture this hierarchical aspect. The recursive Bayesian network formalism was put forward as a means to model mechanistic hierarchies by decomposing variables. The proposal was recently criticized by Gebharter and Gebharter and Kaiser, who instead propose to decompose arrows. In this paper, I defend the (...)
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  • Modelling Mechanisms with Causal Cycles.Brendan Clarke, Bert Leuridan & Jon Williamson - 2014 - Synthese 191 (8):1-31.
    Mechanistic philosophy of science views a large part of scientific activity as engaged in modelling mechanisms. While science textbooks tend to offer qualitative models of mechanisms, there is increasing demand for models from which one can draw quantitative predictions and explanations. Casini et al. (Theoria 26(1):5–33, 2011) put forward the Recursive Bayesian Networks (RBN) formalism as well suited to this end. The RBN formalism is an extension of the standard Bayesian net formalism, an extension that allows for modelling the hierarchical (...)
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  • Identifying Causes in Psychiatry.Lena Kästner - unknown
    Explanations in psychiatry often integrate various factors relevant to psychopathology. Identifying genuine causes among them is theoretically and clinically important, but epistemically challenging. Woodward’s interventionism appears to provide a promising tool to achieve this. However, Woodward’s interventionism is too demanding to be applied to psychiatry. I thus introduce difference-making interventionism, which detects relevance in general rather than causation, to make interventionist reasoning viable in clinical practice. DMI mirrors the empirical reality of psychiatry even more closely than interventionism, but it needs (...)
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  • Intervening Into Mechanisms: Prospects and Challenges.Lena Kästner & Lise Marie Andersen - 2018 - Philosophy Compass 13 (11):e12546.
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  • Causal and Mechanistic Explanations, and a Lesson From Ecology.Viorel Pâslaru - 2015 - In Iulian D. Toader, Gabriel Sandu & Ilie Pȃrvu (eds.), Romanian Studies in Philosophy of Science. Springer Verlag.
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  • Philosophy of Science in Germany, 1992–2012: Survey-Based Overview and Quantitative Analysis.Matthias Unterhuber, Alexander Gebharter & Gerhard Schurz - 2014 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 45 (1):71-160.
    An overview of the German philosophy of science community is given for the years 1992–2012, based on a survey in which 159 philosophers of science in Germany participated. To this end, the institutional background of the German philosophy of science community is examined in terms of journals, centers, and associations. Furthermore, a qualitative description and a quantitative analysis of our survey results are presented. Quantitative estimates are given for: (a) academic positions, (b) research foci, (c) philosophers’ of science most important (...)
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