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  1. A Dilemma for Determination Pluralism (or Dualism).Ragnar van der Merwe - 2021 - Axiomathes 31 (4):507-523.
    Douglas Edwards is arguably the most prominent contemporary advocate of moderate alethic pluralism. Significantly influenced by Crispin Wright and Michael Lynch, his work on the nature of truth has become widely discussed in the topical literature. Edwards labels his version of moderate alethic pluralism determination pluralism. At first blush, determination pluralism appears philosophically promising. The position deserves thoughtful consideration, particularly because of its capacity to accommodate the scope problem. I argue, however, that upon analysis the view is better understood as (...)
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  • Typology and Natural Kinds in Evo-Devo.Ingo Brigandt - 2021 - In Laura Nuño De La Rosa & Gerd Müller (eds.), Evolutionary Developmental Biology: A Reference Guide. Cham: Springer. pp. 483-493.
    The traditional practice of establishing morphological types and investigating morphological organization has found new support from evolutionary developmental biology (evo-devo), especially with respect to the notion of body plans. Despite recurring claims that typology is at odds with evolutionary thinking, evo-devo offers mechanistic explanations of the evolutionary origin, transformation, and evolvability of morphological organization. In parallel, philosophers have developed non-essentialist conceptions of natural kinds that permit kinds to exhibit variation and undergo change. This not only facilitates a construal of species (...)
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  • How Should We Select Conceptual Content for Biology High School Curricula?Ítalo Nascimento de Carvalho, Charbel N. El-Hani & Nei Nunes-Neto - 2020 - Science & Education 29 (3):513-547.
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  • The Case for Multiple Realization in Biology.Wei Fang - 2018 - Biology and Philosophy 33 (1-2):3.
    Polger and Shapiro argue that their official recipe, a criterion for judging when the phenomenon of multiple realization exists, renders MR less widespread than its proponents have assumed. I argue that, although Polger and Shapiro’s criterion is a useful contribution, they arrive at their conclusion too hastily. Contrary to Polger and Shapiro, I claim that the phenomenon of multiple realization in the biological world, judged by their criterion, is not as scarce as they suggest. To show this, an updated official (...)
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  • The Notion of Scientific Knowledge in Biology.Silvia Morante & Giancarlo Rossi - 2016 - Science & Education 25 (1-2):165-197.
    The purpose of this work is to reconsider and critically discuss the conceptual foundations of modern biology and bio-sciences in general, and provide an epistemological guideline to help framing the teaching of these disciplines and enhancing the quality of their presentation in High School, Master and Ph.D. courses. After discussing the methodological problems that arise in trying to construct a sensible and useful scientific approach applicable to the study of living systems, we illustrate what are the general requirements that a (...)
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  • In Defense of Levels: Layer Cakes and Guilt by Association.Daniel Brooks - 2017 - Biological Theory 12 (3).
    Despite the ubiquity of “levels of organization” in the scientific literature, a nascent “levels skepticism” now claims that the concept of levels is an inherently flawed, misleading, or otherwise inadequate notion for understanding how life scientists produce knowledge about the natural world. However, levels skeptics rely on the maligned “layer-cake” account of levels stemming from Oppenheim and Putnam’s defense of the unity of science for their critical commentary. Recourse to layer-cake levels is understandable, as it is arguably the default conception (...)
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  • The Unity of Neuroscience: A Flat View.Arnon Levy - 2016 - Synthese 193 (12):3843-3863.
    This paper offers a novel view of unity in neuroscience. I set out by discussing problems with the classical account of unity-by-reduction, due to Oppenheim and Putnam. That view relies on a strong notion of levels, which has substantial problems. A more recent alternative, the mechanistic “mosaic” view due to Craver, does not have such problems. But I argue that the mosaic ideal of unity is too minimal, and we should, if possible, aspire for more. Relying on a number of (...)
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  • Time Scales and Levels of Organization.James DiFrisco - 2017 - Erkenntnis 82 (4):795-818.
    The concept of levels of organization, despite its widespread scientific currency, has recently been criticized by a number of philosophers of science. This paper diagnoses the main source of problems facing theories of levels. On this basis, the problems with the usual criteria for distinguishing levels are evaluated: compositional relations, organizational types, and spatial scales. Drawing on some work on hierarchies in ecology, I argue in favor of an alternative conception of levels defined by the criterion of rates or time (...)
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  • Discovering Patterns: On the Norms of Mechanistic Inquiry.Lena Kästner & Philipp Haueis - forthcoming - Erkenntnis 3:1-26.
    What kinds of norms constrain mechanistic discovery and explanation? In the mechanistic literature, the norms for good explanations are directly derived from answers to the metaphysical question of what explanations are. Prominent mechanistic accounts thus emphasize either ontic or epistemic norms. Still, mechanistic philosophers on both sides agree that there is no sharp distinction between the processes of discovery and explanation. Thus, it seems reasonable to expect that ontic and epistemic accounts of explanation will be accompanied by ontic and epistemic (...)
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  • Levels of Organization: A Deflationary Account.Markus Eronen - 2015 - Biology and Philosophy 30 (1):39-58.
    The idea of levels of organization plays a central role in the philosophy of the life sciences. In this article, I first examine the explanatory goals that have motivated accounts of levels of organization. I then show that the most state-of-the-art and scientifically plausible account of levels of organization, the account of levels of mechanism proposed by Bechtel and Craver, is fundamentally problematic. Finally, I argue that the explanatory goals can be reached by adopting a deflationary approach, where levels of (...)
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  • The Levels of the Empirical Sciences.Samuel Elgin - manuscript
    It is the aim of this paper to develop and defend an interpretation of level of scientific discipline within the truth-maker framework. In particular, I exploit the mereological relation of proper parthood, which is integral to truth-maker semantics, in order to provide an account of scientific level.
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  • Integration of Specialties: An Institutional and Organizational View.Elihu M. Gerson - 2013 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 44 (4a):515-524.
    By what mechanisms of organizational and institutional change do different specialties succeed in accommodating and working with one another? How do these mechanisms function over time to support and retard the emergence and stability of new knowledge? This paper considers two such mechanisms, metawork and common knowledge. These mechanisms integrate specialties by making the activities of multiple specialties dependent upon one another, and by segmenting the common effort from the parent specialties. Integration of specialties can lead to the development of (...)
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  • Disciplinary Fields in the Life Sciences: Evolving Divides and Anchor Concepts.Alessandro Minelli - 2020 - Philosophies 5 (34):34-0.
    Recent and ongoing debates in biology and in the philosophy of biology reveal widespread dissatisfaction with the current definitions or circumscriptions, which are often vague or controversial, of key concepts such as the gene, individual, species, and homology, and even of whole disciplinary fields within the life sciences. To some extent, the long growing awareness of these conceptual issues and the contrasting views defended in their regard can be construed as a symptom of the need to revisit traditional unchallenged partitions (...)
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  • Limiting the explanatory scope of extended active inference: the implications of a causal pattern analysis of selective niche construction, developmental niche construction, and organism-niche coordination dynamics.Regina E. Fabry - 2021 - Biology and Philosophy 36 (1):1-26.
    Research in evolutionary biology and philosophy of biology and cognition strongly suggests that human organisms modify their environment through active processes of niche construction. Recently, proponents of the free-energy principle and variational active inference have argued that their approach can deepen our understanding of the reciprocal causal relationship between organisms and their niche on various scales. This paper examines the feasibility and scope of variational formalisations and conceptualisations of the organism-niche nexus with a particular focus on the extended active inference (...)
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  • Patterns in Cognitive Phenomena and Pluralism of Explanatory Styles.Angela Potochnik & Guilherme Sanches de Oliveira - 2019 - Topics in Cognitive Science 12 (4):1306-1320.
    Debate about cognitive science explanations has been formulated in terms of identifying the proper level(s) of explanation. Views range from reductionist, favoring only neuroscience explanations, to mechanist, favoring the integration of multiple levels, to pluralist, favoring the preservation of even the most general, high-level explanations, such as those provided by embodied or dynamical approaches. In this paper, we challenge this framing. We suggest that these are not different levels of explanation at all but, rather, different styles of explanation that capture (...)
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  • Social Ontology.Brian Epstein - 2018 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    Social ontology is the study of the nature and properties of the social world. It is concerned with analyzing the various entities in the world that arise from social interaction. -/- A prominent topic in social ontology is the analysis of social groups. Do social groups exist at all? If so, what sorts of entities are they, and how are they created? Is a social group distinct from the collection of people who are its members, and if so, how is (...)
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  • Ecological Hierarchy and Biodiversity.Christopher Lean & Kim Sterelny - 2016 - In Justin Garson, Anya Plutynski & Sahotra Sarkar (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Biodiversity. London: Routledge. pp. 56 - 68.
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  • Multiscale Modeling of Gene–Behavior Associations in an Artificial Neural Network Model of Cognitive Development.Michael S. C. Thomas, Neil A. Forrester & Angelica Ronald - 2016 - Cognitive Science 40 (1):51-99.
    In the multidisciplinary field of developmental cognitive neuroscience, statistical associations between levels of description play an increasingly important role. One example of such associations is the observation of correlations between relatively common gene variants and individual differences in behavior. It is perhaps surprising that such associations can be detected despite the remoteness of these levels of description, and the fact that behavior is the outcome of an extended developmental process involving interaction of the whole organism with a variable environment. Given (...)
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  • A New Look at Emergence. Or When After is Different.Alexandre Guay & Olivier Sartenaer - 2016 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 6 (2):297-322.
    In this paper, we put forward a new account of emergence called “transformational emergence”. Such an account captures a variety of emergence that can be considered as being diachronic and weakly ontological. The fact that transformational emergence actually constitutes a genuine form of emergence is motivated. Besides, the account is free of traditional problems surrounding more usual, synchronic versions of emergence, and it can find a strong empirical support in a specific physical phenomenon, the fractional quantum Hall effect, which has (...)
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  • What is a Cognitive Ontology, Anyway?Annelli Janssen, Colin Klein & Marc Slors - 2017 - Philosophical Explorations 20 (2):123-128.
    This special issue brings together philosophical perspectives on the debate over cognitive ontology. We contextualize the papers in this issue by considering several different senses of the term “cognitive ontology” and linking those debates to traditional debates in philosophy of mind.
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  • Achieving Cumulative Progress In Understanding Crime: Some Insights From the Philosophy of Science.Jacqueline Anne Sullivan - forthcoming - Psychology, Crime and Law.
    Crime is a serious social problem, but its causes are not exclusively social. There is growing consensus that explaining and preventing it requires interdisciplinary research efforts. Indeed, the landscape of contemporary criminology includes a variety of theoretical models that incorporate psychological, biological and sociological factors. These multi-disciplinary approaches, however, have yet to radically advance scientific understandings of crime and shed light on how to manage it. In this paper, using conceptual tools on offer in the philosophy of science in combination (...)
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  • How to Define Levels of Explanation and Evaluate Their Indispensability.Christopher Clarke - 2017 - Synthese 194 (6).
    Some explanations in social science, psychology and biology belong to a higher level than other explanations. And higher explanations possess the virtue of abstracting away from the details of lower explanations, many philosophers argue. As a result, these higher explanations are irreplaceable. And this suggests that there are genuine higher laws or patterns involving social, psychological and biological states. I show that this ‘abstractness argument’ is really an argument schema, not a single argument. This is because the argument uses the (...)
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  • Multilevel Lineages and Multidimensional Trees: The Levels of Lineage and Phylogeny Reconstruction.Matthew H. Haber - 2012 - Philosophy of Science 79 (5):609-623.
    The relation between method, concept and theory in science is complicated. I seek to shed light on that relation by considering an instance of it in systematics: The additional challenges phylogeneticists face when reconstructing phylogeny not at a single level, but simultaneously at multiple levels of the hierarchy. How does this complicate the task of phylogenetic inference, and how might it inform and shape the conceptual foundations of phylogenetics? This offers a lens through which the interplay of method, theory and (...)
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  • No Levels, No Problems: Downward Causation in Neuroscience.Markus Eronen - 2013 - Philosophy of Science 80 (5):1042-1052.
    I show that the recent account of levels in neuroscience proposed by Craver and Bechtel is unsatisfactory since it fails to provide a plausible criterion for being at the same level and is incompatible with Craver and Bechtel’s account of downward causation. Furthermore, I argue that no distinct notion of levels is needed for analyzing explanations and causal issues in neuroscience: it is better to rely on more well-defined notions such as composition and scale. One outcome of this is that (...)
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  • Major Problems in Evolutionary Transitions: How a Metabolic Perspective Can Enrich Our Understanding of Macroevolution.Maureen A. O’Malley & Russell Powell - 2016 - Biology and Philosophy 31 (2):159-189.
    The model of major transitions in evolution devised by Maynard Smith and Szathmáry has exerted tremendous influence over evolutionary theorists. Although MTE has been criticized for inconsistently combining different types of event, its ongoing appeal lies in depicting hierarchical increases in complexity by means of evolutionary transitions in individuality. In this paper, we consider the implications of major evolutionary events overlooked by MTE and its ETI-oriented successors, specifically the biological oxygenation of Earth, and the acquisitions of mitochondria and plastids. By (...)
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  • Levels of Organization in Biology.Markus Eronen & Daniel Stephen Brooks - unknown - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    Levels of organization are structures in nature, usually defined by part-whole relationships, with things at higher levels being composed of things at the next lower level. Typical levels of organization that one finds in the literature include the atomic, molecular, cellular, tissue, organ, organismal, group, population, community, ecosystem, landscape, and biosphere levels. References to levels of organization and related hierarchical depictions of nature are prominent in the life sciences and their philosophical study, and appear not only in introductory textbooks and (...)
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