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  1. Emergence: Logical, Functional and Dynamical. [REVIEW]Sandra D. Mitchell - 2012 - Synthese 185 (2):171-186.
    Philosophical accounts of emergence have been explicated in terms of logical relationships between statements (derivation) or static properties (function and realization). Jaegwon Kim is a modern proponent. A property is emergent if it is not explainable by (or reducible to) the properties of lower level components. This approach, I will argue, is unable to make sense of the kinds of emergence that are widespread in scientific explanations of complex systems. The standard philosophical notion of emergence posits the wrong dichotomies, confuses (...)
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  • A World of States of Affairs.John Heil & D. M. Armstrong - 1999 - Philosophical Review 108 (1):115.
    Despite heroic efforts, philosophers have found it increasingly difficult to evade discussion of metaphysical topics. Take the philosophy of mind. Take, in particular, the mind-body problem in its latest guise: the problem of causal relevance. If mental properties are not reducible to physical properties, how can we reconcile the role such properties seem to have in producing bodily motions that constitute actions with the apparent fact that the very same motions are entirely explicable on the basis of purely physical properties (...)
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  • Development and Natural Kinds: Some Lessons From Biology.Marco J. Nathan & Andrea Borghini - 2014 - Synthese 191 (3):539-556.
    While philosophers tend to consider a single type of causal history, biologists distinguish between two kinds of causal history: evolutionary history and developmental history. This essay studies the peculiarity of development as a criterion for the individuation of biological traits and its relation to form, function, and evolution. By focusing on examples involving serial homologies and genetic reprogramming, we argue that morphology (form) and function, even when supplemented with evolutionary history, are sometimes insufficient to individuate traits. Developmental mechanisms bring in (...)
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  • Typology Now: Homology and Developmental Constraints Explain Evolvability.Ingo Brigandt - 2007 - Biology and Philosophy 22 (5):709-725.
    By linking the concepts of homology and morphological organization to evolvability, this paper attempts to (1) bridge the gap between developmental and phylogenetic approaches to homology and to (2) show that developmental constraints and natural selection are compatible and in fact complementary. I conceive of a homologue as a unit of morphological evolvability, i.e., as a part of an organism that can exhibit heritable phenotypic variation independently of the organism’s other homologues. An account of homology therefore consists in explaining how (...)
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  • On Multiple Realization and the Special Sciences.Alex Rosenberg - 2001 - Journal of Philosophy 98 (7):365.
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  • On Multiple Realization and the Special Sciences.Alex Rosenberg - 2001 - Journal of Philosophy 98 (7):365-373.
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  • The Molecular and Mathematical Basis of Waddington's Epigenetic Landscape: A Framework for Post‐Darwinian Biology?Sui Huang - 2012 - Bioessays 34 (2):149-157.
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  • Reprogramming Cell Fates: Reconciling Rarity with Robustness.Sui Huang - 2009 - Bioessays 31 (5):546-560.
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  • Towards a Processual Microbial Ontology.Eric Bapteste & John Dupre - 2013 - Biology and Philosophy 28 (2):379-404.
    Standard microbial evolutionary ontology is organized according to a nested hierarchy of entities at various levels of biological organization. It typically detects and defines these entities in relation to the most stable aspects of evolutionary processes, by identifying lineages evolving by a process of vertical inheritance from an ancestral entity. However, recent advances in microbiology indicate that such an ontology has important limitations. The various dynamics detected within microbiological systems reveal that a focus on the most stable entities (or features (...)
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  • Living Causes.John Dupré - 2013 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 87 (1):19-37.
    This paper considers the applicability of standard accounts of causation to living systems. In particular it examines critically the increasing tendency to equate causal explanation with the identification of a mechanism. A range of differences between living systems and paradigm mechanisms are identified and discussed. While in principle it might be possible to accommodate an account of mechanism to these features, the attempt to do so risks reducing the idea of a mechanism to vacuity. It is proposed that the solution (...)
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  • Distributed Robustness Versus Redundancy as Causes of Mutational Robustness.Andreas Wagner - 2005 - Bioessays 27 (2):176-188.
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  • Science and the Modern World.Alfred North Whitehead - 1925 - New York: Free Press.
    Alfred North Whitehead's SCIENCE AND THE MODERN WORLD, originally published in 1925, redefines the concept of modern science.
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  • What Is a Mechanism? A Counterfactual Account.James Woodward - 2002 - Philosophy of Science 69 (S3):S366-S377.
    This paper presents a counterfactual account of what a mechanism is. Mechanisms consist of parts, the behavior of which conforms to generalizations that are invariant under interventions, and which are modular in the sense that it is possible in principle to change the behavior of one part independently of the others. Each of these features can be captured by the truth of certain counterfactuals.
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  • Evolutionary Developmental Biology and the Limits of Philosophical Accounts of Mechanistic Explanation.Ingo Brigandt - 2015 - In P.-A. Braillard & C. Malaterre (eds.), Explanation in Biology: An Enquiry into the Diversity of Explanatory Patterns in the Life Sciences. Springer. pp. 135–173.
    Evolutionary developmental biology (evo-devo) is considered a ‘mechanistic science,’ in that it causally explains morphological evolution in terms of changes in developmental mechanisms. Evo-devo is also an interdisciplinary and integrative approach, as its explanations use contributions from many fields and pertain to different levels of organismal organization. Philosophical accounts of mechanistic explanation are currently highly prominent, and have been particularly able to capture the integrative nature of multifield and multilevel explanations. However, I argue that evo-devo demonstrates the need for a (...)
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  • Emergence as Non-Aggregativity and the Biases of Reductionisms.William C. Wimsatt - 2000 - Foundations of Science 5 (3):269-297.
    Most philosophical accounts of emergence are incompatible with reduction. Most scientists regard a system property as emergent relative to properties of its parts if it depends upon their mode of organization-a view consistent with reduction. Emergence is a failure of aggregativity, in which ``the whole is nothing more than the sum of its parts''. Aggregativity requires four conditions, giving powerful tools for analyzing modes of organization. Differently met for different decompositions of the system, and in different degrees, the structural conditions (...)
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  • Topological Explanations and Robustness in Biological Sciences.Philippe Huneman - 2010 - Synthese 177 (2):213-245.
    This paper argues that besides mechanistic explanations, there is a kind of explanation that relies upon “topological” properties of systems in order to derive the explanandum as a consequence, and which does not consider mechanisms or causal processes. I first investigate topological explanations in the case of ecological research on the stability of ecosystems. Then I contrast them with mechanistic explanations, thereby distinguishing the kind of realization they involve from the realization relations entailed by mechanistic explanations, and explain how both (...)
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  • Explaining the Brain: Mechanisms and the Mosaic Unity of Neuroscience.Carl F. Craver - 2007 - Oxford University Press, Clarendon Press.
    Carl Craver investigates what we are doing when we sue neuroscience to explain what's going on in the brain.
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  • A World of States of Affairs.D. Armstrong - 1993 - Philosophical Perspectives 7:429-440.
    In this important study D. M. Armstrong offers a comprehensive system of analytical metaphysics that synthesises but also develops his thinking over the last twenty years. Armstrong's analysis, which acknowledges the 'logical atomism' of Russell and Wittgenstein, makes facts the fundamental constituents of the world, examining properties, relations, numbers, classes, possibility and necessity, dispositions, causes and laws. All these, it is argued, find their place and can be understood inside a scheme of states of affairs. This is a comprehensive and (...)
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  • Mechanism, Vitalism and Organicism in Late Nineteenth and Twentieth-Century Biology: The Importance of Historical Context.Garland E. Allen - 2005 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 36 (2):261-283.
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  • Degeneracy at Multiple Levels of Complexity.Paul H. Mason - 2010 - Biological Theory 5 (3):277-288.
    Degeneracy is a poorly understood process, essential to natural selection. In the 18th and 19th centuries, the concept of degeneracy was commandeered by the colonial imagination. A rigid understanding of species, race, and culture grew to dominate the normative thinking that persisted well into the burgeoning new industrial age. A 20th-century reconfiguration of the concept by George Gamow highlighted a form of intraorganismic variation that is still underexplored. Degeneracy exists in a population of variants where structurally different components perform a (...)
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  • The Units of Selection Revisited: The Modules of Selection. [REVIEW]Robert N. Brandon - 1999 - Biology and Philosophy 14 (2):167-180.
    Richard Lewontin's (1970) early work on the units of selection initiated the conceptual and theoretical investigations that have led to the hierarchical perspective on selection that has reached near consensus status today. This paper explores other aspects of his work, work on what he termed continuity and quasi-independence, that connect to contemporary explorations of modularity in development and evolution. I characterize such modules and argue that they are the true units of selection in that they are what evolution by natural (...)
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  • Typology Reconfigured: From the Metaphysics of Essentialism to the Epistemology of Representation.Alan C. Love - 2009 - Acta Biotheoretica 57 (1-2):51-75.
    The goal of this paper is to encourage a reconfiguration of the discussion about typology in biology away from the metaphysics of essentialism and toward the epistemology of classifying natural phenomena for the purposes of empirical inquiry. First, I briefly review arguments concerning ‘typological thinking’, essentialism, species, and natural kinds, highlighting their predominantly metaphysical nature. Second, I use a distinction between the aims, strategies, and tactics of science to suggest how a shift from metaphysics to epistemology might be accomplished. Typological (...)
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  • Modularity: Understanding the Development and Evolution of Natural Complex Systems.Werner Callebaut & Diego Rasskin-Gutman (eds.) - 2005 - MIT Press.
    This collection broadens the scientific discussion of modularity by bringing together experts from a variety of disciplines, including artificial life, ...
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  • Downward Causation.P. B. Andersen, Claus Emmeche, N. O. Finnemann & P. V. Christiansen (eds.) - 2000 - Aarhus, Denmark: University of Aarhus Press.
    The book deals with the notion of Downward Causation from a wide array of perspectives, including physics, biology, psychology, social science, communication studies, text theory, and philosophy. The book includes proponents as well as opponents discussing the validity of the notion.
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  • A World of States of Affairs.D. M. Armstrong - 1996 - Cambridge University Press.
    In this important study D. M. Armstrong offers a comprehensive system of analytical metaphysics that synthesises but also develops his thinking over the last twenty years. Armstrong's analysis, which acknowledges the 'logical atomism' of Russell and Wittgenstein, makes facts the fundamental constituents of the world, examining properties, relations, numbers, classes, possibility and necessity, dispositions, causes and laws. All these, it is argued, find their place and can be understood inside a scheme of states of affairs. This is a comprehensive and (...)
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  • Laws in Nature.Stephen Mumford - 2002 - Routledge.
    This book outlines a major new theory of natural laws. The book begins with the question of whether there are any genuinely law-like phenomena in nature. The discussion addresses questions currently being debated by metaphysicians such as whether the laws of nature are necessary or contingent and whether a property can be identified independently of its causal role.
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  • Thinking About Mechanisms.Peter Machamer, Lindley Darden & Carl F. Craver - 2000 - Philosophy of Science 67 (1):1-25.
    The concept of mechanism is analyzed in terms of entities and activities, organized such that they are productive of regular changes. Examples show how mechanisms work in neurobiology and molecular biology. Thinking in terms of mechanisms provides a new framework for addressing many traditional philosophical issues: causality, laws, explanation, reduction, and scientific change.
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  • Science and the Modern World by Alfred North Whitehead. [REVIEW]William Curtis Swabey - 1926 - Philosophical Review 35 (3):272.
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  • Explanation: A Mechanist Alternative.William Bechtel - 2005 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Biol and Biomed Sci 36 (2):421--441.
    Explanations in the life sciences frequently involve presenting a model of the mechanism taken to be responsible for a given phenomenon. Such explanations depart in numerous ways from nomological explanations commonly presented in philosophy of science. This paper focuses on three sorts of differences. First, scientists who develop mechanistic explanations are not limited to linguistic representations and logical inference; they frequently employ dia- grams to characterize mechanisms and simulations to reason about them. Thus, the epistemic resources for presenting mechanistic explanations (...)
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  • Development and Mechanistic Explanation.Fabrizzio Mc Manus - 2012 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 43 (2):532-541.
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  • Development and Mechanistic Explanation.Fabrizzio Mc Manus - 2012 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 43 (2):532-541.
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  • Strategies in the Interfield Discovery of the Mechanism of Protein Synthesis.Lindley Darden & Carl Craver - 2002 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 33 (1):1-28.
    In the 1950s and 1960s, an interfield interaction between molecular biologists and biochemists integrated important discoveries about the mechanism of protein synthesis. This extended discovery episode reveals two general reasoning strategies for eliminating gaps in descriptions of the productive continuity of mechanisms: schema instantiation and forward chaining/backtracking. Schema instantiation involves filling roles in an overall framework for the mechanism. Forward chaining and backtracking eliminate gaps using knowledge about types of entities and their activities. Attention to mechanisms highlights salient features of (...)
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  • I—Living Causes.John Dupré - 2013 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 87 (1):19-37.
    This paper considers the applicability of standard accounts of causation to living systems. In particular it examines critically the increasing tendency to equate causal explanation with the identification of a mechanism. A range of differences between living systems and paradigm mechanisms are identified and discussed. While in principle it might be possible to accommodate an account of mechanism to these features, the attempt to do so risks reducing the idea of a mechanism to vacuity. It is proposed that the solution (...)
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  • From Reduction Back to Higher Levels.William Bechtel & Adele Abrahamsen - 2008 - In B. C. Love, K. McRae & V. M. Sloutsky (eds.), Proceedings of the 30th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society. Cognitive Science Society. pp. 559--564.
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  • What is a Mechanism? A Counterfactual Account.Jim Woodward - 2002 - Proceedings of the Philosophy of Science Association 2002 (3):S366-S377.
    This paper presents a counterfactual account of what a mechanism is. Mechanisms consist of parts, the behavior of which conforms to generalizations that are invariant under interventions, and which are modular in the sense that it is possible in principle to change the behavior of one part independently of the others. Each of these features can be captured by the truth of certain counterfactuals.
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  • Mechanisms and Models.Lindley Darden - 2007 - In David L. Hull & Michael Ruse (eds.), The Cambridge Companion to the Philosophy of Biology. Cambridge University Press.
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  • Dynamic Mechanistic Explanation: Computational Modeling of Circadian Rhythms as an Exemplar for Cognitive Science.William Bechtel & Adele Abrahamsen - 2010 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 41 (3):321-333.
    Two widely accepted assumptions within cognitive science are that (1) the goal is to understand the mechanisms responsible for cognitive performances and (2) computational modeling is a major tool for understanding these mechanisms. The particular approaches to computational modeling adopted in cognitive science, moreover, have significantly affected the way in which cognitive mechanisms are understood. Unable to employ some of the more common methods for conducting research on mechanisms, cognitive scientists’ guiding ideas about mechanism have developed in conjunction with their (...)
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  • The Causality Horizon and the Developmental Bases of Morphological Evolution.Jukka Jernvall - 2013 - Biological Theory 8 (3):286-292.
    With the advent of evolutionary developmental research, or EvoDevo, there is hope of discovering the roles that the genetic bases of development play in morphological evolution. Studies in EvoDevo span several levels of organismal organization. Low-level studies identify the ultimate genetic changes responsible for morphological variation and diversity. High-level studies of development focus on how genetic differences affect the dynamics of gene networks and epigenetic interactions to modify morphology. Whereas an increasing number of studies link independent acquisition of homoplastic or (...)
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  • Moving Parts: The Natural Alliance Between Dynamical and Mechanistic Modeling Approaches.David Michael Kaplan - 2015 - Biology and Philosophy 30 (6):757-786.
    Recently, it has been provocatively claimed that dynamical modeling approaches signal the emergence of a new explanatory framework distinct from that of mechanistic explanation. This paper rejects this proposal and argues that dynamical explanations are fully compatible with, even naturally construed as, instances of mechanistic explanations. Specifically, it is argued that the mathematical framework of dynamics provides a powerful descriptive scheme for revealing temporal features of activities in mechanisms and plays an explanatory role to the extent it is deployed for (...)
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  • The Concept of Mechanism in Biology.Daniel J. Nicholson - 2012 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 43 (1):152-163.
    The concept of mechanism in biology has three distinct meanings. It may refer to a philosophical thesis about the nature of life and biology (‘mechanicism’), to the internal workings of a machine-like structure (‘machine mechanism’), or to the causal explanation of a particular phenomenon (‘causal mechanism’). In this paper I trace the conceptual evolution of ‘mechanism’ in the history of biology, and I examine how the three meanings of this term have come to be featured in the philosophy of biology, (...)
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  • Explanation: A Mechanist Alternative.William Bechtel & Adele Abrahamsen - 2005 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 36 (2):421-441.
    Explanations in the life sciences frequently involve presenting a model of the mechanism taken to be responsible for a given phenomenon. Such explanations depart in numerous ways from nomological explanations commonly presented in philosophy of science. This paper focuses on three sorts of differences. First, scientists who develop mechanistic explanations are not limited to linguistic representations and logical inference; they frequently employ diagrams to characterize mechanisms and simulations to reason about them. Thus, the epistemic resources for presenting mechanistic explanations are (...)
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  • The Explanatory Force of Dynamical and Mathematical Models in Neuroscience: A Mechanistic Perspective.David Michael Kaplan & Carl F. Craver - 2011 - Philosophy of Science 78 (4):601-627.
    We argue that dynamical and mathematical models in systems and cognitive neuro- science explain (rather than redescribe) a phenomenon only if there is a plausible mapping between elements in the model and elements in the mechanism for the phe- nomenon. We demonstrate how this model-to-mechanism-mapping constraint, when satisfied, endows a model with explanatory force with respect to the phenomenon to be explained. Several paradigmatic models including the Haken-Kelso-Bunz model of bimanual coordination and the difference-of-Gaussians model of visual receptive fields are (...)
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  • Metagenomics and Biological Ontology.John Dupré & Maureen A. O’Malley - 2007 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 38 (4):834-846.
    Metagenomics is an emerging microbial systems science that is based on the large-scale analysis of the DNA of microbial communities in their natural environments. Studies of metagenomes are revealing the vast scope of biodiversity in a wide range of environments, as well as new functional capacities of individual cells and communities, and the complex evolutionary relationships between them. Our examination of this science focuses on the ontological implications of these studies of metagenomes and metaorganisms, and what they mean for common (...)
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  • Exhibit.[author unknown] - 2013 - The Chesterton Review 39 (1/2):351-355.
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  • Metagenomics and Biological Ontology.John Dupré & Maureen A. O’Malley - 2005 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 38 (4):834-846.
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  • Science and the Modern World.Alfred North Whitehead - 1926 - Journal of Philosophical Studies 1 (3):380-385.
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  • Science and the Modern World.Alfred North Whitehead - 1926 - Mind 35 (140):489-500.
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  • Evolutionary Developmental Biology Offers a Significant Challenge to the Neo-Darwinian Paradigm.Manfred D. Laubichler - 2010 - In Francisco José Ayala & Robert Arp (eds.), Contemporary Debates in Philosophy of Biology. Wiley-Blackwell.
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  • Pattern and Process in Evo-Devo: Descriptions and Explanations.Laura Nuño de la Rosa & Arantza Etxeberria - unknown
    In the evolutionary biology of the Modern Synthesis the study of patterns refers to how to identify and systematise order in lineages, looking for hierarchies or for branching/splitting events in the tree of life, whereas the resulting order is supposed to be due to underlying processes or mechanisms. But patterns and processes play distinct roles in evo-devo: four different views on the role of patterns and processes in descriptions and explanations of development and evolution: A) transformational; B) generative; C) processual; (...)
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  • Mechanism, Emergence, and Miscibility: The Autonomy of Evo-Devo.Denis M. Walsh - 2013 - In Philippe Huneman (ed.), Functions: Selection and Mechanisms. Springer. pp. 43--65.
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