Biological explanations, realism, ontology, and categories

Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 44 (4):617-622 (2013)
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This is an extended review of John Dupré's _Processes of Life_, a collection of essays. It clarifies Dupré's concepts of reductionism and anti-reductionism, and critically examines his associated discussions of downward causation, and both the context sensitivity and multiple realization of categories. It reviews his naturalistic monism, and critically distinguishes between his realism about categories and constructivism about classification. Challenges to his process ontology are presented, as are arguments for his pluralism about scientific categories. None of his main conclusions are rejected; rather it is main arguments for them that are the focus.

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Matt Barker
Concordia University


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