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  1. Rethinking Causality in Biological and Neural Mechanisms: Constraints and Control.Jason Winning & William Bechtel - 2018 - Minds and Machines 28 (2).
    Existing accounts of mechanistic causation are not suited for understanding causation in biological and neural mechanisms because they do not have the resources to capture the unique causal structure of control heterarchies. In this paper, we provide a new account on which the causal powers of mechanisms are grounded by time-dependent, variable constraints. Constraints can also serve as a key bridge concept between the mechanistic approach to explanation and underappreciated work in theoretical biology that sheds light on how biological systems (...)
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  • The tissue organization field theory of cancer: A testable replacement for the somatic mutation theory.Ana M. Soto & Carlos Sonnenschein - 2011 - Bioessays 33 (5):332-340.
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  • Reductionism, Organicism, and Causality in the Biomedical Sciences: A Critique.Ana M. Soto & Carlos Sonnenschein - 2018 - Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 61 (4):489-502.
    It would be ahistorical to ridicule vitalists. When one reads the writings of one of the leading vitalists like Driesch one is forced to agree with him that many of the basic problems of biology simply cannot be solved by a philosophy as that of Descartes, in which the organism is simply considered a machine…. The logic of the critique of the vitalists was impeccable.At the turn of the new millennium, concomitant with the development of the evo-devo and eco-devo disciplines (...)
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  • What makes biological organisation teleological?Matteo Mossio & Leonardo Bich - 2017 - Synthese 194 (4):1089-1114.
    This paper argues that biological organisation can be legitimately conceived of as an intrinsically teleological causal regime. The core of the argument consists in establishing a connection between organisation and teleology through the concept of self-determination: biological organisation determines itself in the sense that the effects of its activity contribute to determine its own conditions of existence. We suggest that not any kind of circular regime realises self-determination, which should be specifically understood as self-constraint: in biological systems, in particular, self-constraint (...)
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  • Emergence, Closure and Inter-level Causation in Biological Systems.Matteo Mossio, Leonardo Bich & Alvaro Moreno - 2013 - Erkenntnis 78 (2):153-178.
    In this paper, we advocate the idea that an adequate explanation of biological systems requires appealing to organizational closure as an emergent causal regime. We first develop a theoretical justification of emergence in terms of relatedness, by arguing that configurations, because of the relatedness among their constituents, possess ontologically irreducible properties, providing them with distinctive causal powers. We then focus on those emergent causal powers exerted as constraints, and we claim that biological systems crucially differ from other natural systems in (...)
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  • An organizational account of biological functions.Matteo Mossio, Cristian Saborido & Alvaro Moreno - 2009 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 60 (4):813-841.
    In this paper, we develop an organizational account that defines biological functions as causal relations subject to closure in living systems, interpreted as the most typical example of organizationally closed and differentiated self-maintaining systems. We argue that this account adequately grounds the teleological and normative dimensions of functions in the current organization of a system, insofar as it provides an explanation for the existence of the function bearer and, at the same time, identifies in a non-arbitrary way the norms that (...)
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  • A twelve‐step program for evolving multicellularity and a division of labor.David L. Kirk - 2005 - Bioessays 27 (3):299-310.
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  • The animal sensorimotor organization: a challenge for the environmental complexity thesis.Fred Keijzer & Argyris Arnellos - 2017 - Biology and Philosophy 32 (3):421-441.
    Godfrey-Smith’s environmental complexity thesis is most often applied to multicellular animals and the complexity of their macroscopic environments to explain how cognition evolved. We think that the ECT may be less suited to explain the origins of the animal bodily organization, including this organization’s potentiality for dealing with complex macroscopic environments. We argue that acquiring the fundamental sensorimotor features of the animal body may be better explained as a consequence of dealing with internal bodily—rather than environmental complexity. To press and (...)
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  • Investigations.Stuart A. Kauffman - 2002 - Oxford University Press.
    "It may be that I have stumbled upon an adequate description of life itself." These modest yet profound words trumpet an imminent paradigm shift in scientific, economic, and technological thinking. In the tradition of Schrödinger's classic What Is Life?, Kauffman's Investigations is a tour-de-force exploration of the very essence of life itself, with conclusions that radically undermine the scientific approaches on which modern science rests--the approaches of Newton, Boltzman, Bohr, and Einstein. Building on his pivotal ideas about order and evolution (...)
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  • Biological regulation: controlling the system from within.Leonardo Bich, Matteo Mossio, Kepa Ruiz-Mirazo & Alvaro Moreno - 2016 - Biology and Philosophy 31 (2):237-265.
    Biological regulation is what allows an organism to handle the effects of a perturbation, modulating its own constitutive dynamics in response to particular changes in internal and external conditions. With the central focus of analysis on the case of minimal living systems, we argue that regulation consists in a specific form of second-order control, exerted over the core regime of production and maintenance of the components that actually put together the organism. The main argument is that regulation requires a distinctive (...)
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  • Organizational requirements for multicellular autonomy: insights from a comparative case study.Argyris Arnellos, Alvaro Moreno & Kepa Ruiz-Mirazo - 2014 - Biology and Philosophy 29 (6):851-884.
    In this paper we explore the organizational conditions underlying the emergence of organisms at the multicellular level. More specifically, we shall propose a general theoretical scheme according to which a multicellular organism is an ensemble of cells that effectively regulates its own development through collective mechanisms of control of cell differentiation and cell division processes. This theoretical result derives from the detailed study of the ontogenetic development of three multicellular systems and, in particular, of their corresponding cell-to-cell signaling networks. The (...)
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  • Introduction À l'Étude de la Médecine Expérimentale.Claude Bernard - 1865 - Librairie Joseph Gilbert.
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  • Leçons Sur les Phénomènes de la Vie Communs aux Animaux Et aux Végétaux.Claude Bernard - 1966 - Vrin.
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  • Biological Autonomy: A Philosophical and Theoretical Enquiry.Alvaro Moreno & Matteo Mossio - 2015 - Dordrecht: Springer.
    Since Darwin, Biology has been framed on the idea of evolution by natural selection, which has profoundly influenced the scientific and philosophical comprehension of biological phenomena and of our place in Nature. This book argues that contemporary biology should progress towards and revolve around an even more fundamental idea, that of autonomy. Biological autonomy describes living organisms as organised systems, which are able to self-produce and self-maintain as integrated entities, to establish their own goals and norms, and to promote the (...)
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  • Biological Individuality: The Identity and Persistence of Living Entities.Jack Wilson - 1999 - Cambridge University Press.
    What makes a biological entity an individual? Jack Wilson shows that past philosophers have failed to explicate the conditions an entity must satisfy to be a living individual. He explores the reason for this failure and explains why we should limit ourselves to examples involving real organisms rather than thought experiments. This book explores and resolves paradoxes that arise when one applies past notions of individuality to biological examples beyond the conventional range and presents an analysis of identity and persistence. (...)
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  • Evolution and the Levels of Selection.Samir Okasha - 2006 - Oxford University Press.
    Does natural selection act primarily on individual organisms, on groups, on genes, or on whole species? The question of levels of selection - on which biologists and philosophers have long disagreed - is central to evolutionary theory and to the philosophy of biology. Samir Okasha's comprehensive analysis gives a clear account of the philosophical issues at stake in the current debate.
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  • Constraint.Jon Umerez & Matteo Mossio - 2013 - In W. Dubitzky O. Wolkenhauer & K. Cho H. Yokota (eds.), Encyclopedia of Systems Biology. Springer. pp. 490-493.
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  • Evolution and the Levels of Selection.Samir Okasha - 2009 - Critica 41 (123):162-170.
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