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  1. Truth or Spin? Disease Definition in Cancer Screening.Lynette Reid - 2017 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 42 (4):385-404.
    Are the small and indolent cancers found in abundance in cancer screening normal variations, risk factors, or disease? Naturalists in philosophy of medicine turn to pathophysiological findings to decide such questions objectively. To understand the role of pathophysiological findings in disease definition, we must understand how they mislead in diagnostic reasoning. Participants on all sides of the definition of disease debate attempt to secure objectivity via reductionism. These reductivist routes to objectivity are inconsistent with the Bayesian nature of clinical reasoning; (...)
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  • Against Organizational Functions.Justin Garson - 2017 - Philosophy of Science 84 (5):1093-1103.
    Over the last 20 years, several philosophers have developed a new approach to biological functions, the organizational approach. This is not a single theory but a family of theories based on the idea that a trait token can acquire a function by virtue of the way it contributes to a complex, organized system and thereby to its own continued persistence as a token. I argue that the organizational approach faces a serious liberality objection. I examine three different ways organizational theorists (...)
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  • Metastasis as Supra-Cellular Selection? A Reply to Lean and Plutynski.Germain Pierre-Luc & Lucie Laplane - 2017 - Biology and Philosophy 32 (2):281-287.
    In response to Germain argument that evolution by natural selection has a limited explanatory power in cancer, Lean and Plutynski have recently argued that many adaptations in cancer only make sense at the tumor level, and that cancer progression mirrors the major evolutionary transitions. While we agree that selection could potentially act at various levels of organization in cancers, we argue that tumor-level selection is unlikely to actually play a relevant role in our understanding of the somatic evolution of human (...)
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  • Rethinking Causation in Cancer with Evolutionary Developmental Biology.Katherine E. Liu - 2017 - Biological Theory 13 (4):228-242.
    Despite the productivity of basic cancer research, cancer continues to be a health burden to society because this research has not yielded corresponding clinical applications. Many proposed solutions to this dilemma have revolved around implementing organizational and policy changes related to cancer research. Here I argue for a different solution: a new conceptualization of causation in cancer. Neither the standard molecular biomarker approaches nor evolutionary biology approaches to cancer fully capture its complex causal dynamics, even when considered jointly. These approaches (...)
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  • Cancer Stem Cells Modulate Patterns and Processes of Evolution in Cancers.Lucie Laplane - 2018 - Biology and Philosophy 33 (3-4):18.
    The clonal evolution model and the cancer stem cell model are two independent models of cancers, yet recent data shows intersections between the two models. This article explores the impacts of the CSC model on the CE model. I show that CSC restriction, which depends on CSC frequency in cancer cell populations and on the probability of dedifferentiation of cancer non-stem cells into CSCs, can favor or impede some patterns of evolution and some processes of evolution. Taking CSC restriction into (...)
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  • Two Dogmas of Biology.Leonore Fleming - 2017 - Philosophy, Theory, and Practice in Biology 9 (2).
    The problem with reductionism in biology is not the reduction, but the implicit attitude of determinism that usually accompanies it. Methodological reductionism is supported by deterministic beliefs, but making such a connection is problematic when it is based on an idea of determinism as fixed predictability. Conflating determinism with predictability gives rise to inaccurate models that overlook the dynamic complexity of our world, as well as ignore our epistemic limitations when we try to model it. Furthermore, the assumption of a (...)
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