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An Ontic Account of Explanatory Reduction in Biology

Köln: Kölner Hochschulschriften (2012)

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  1. Making Things Happen.E. Hiddleston - 2005 - Philosophical Review 114 (4):545-547.
    Woodward's long awaited book is an attempt to construct a comprehensive account of causation explanation that applies to a wide variety of causal and explanatory claims in different areas of science and everyday life. The book engages some of the relevant literature from other disciplines, as Woodward weaves together examples, counterexamples, criticisms, defences, objections, and replies into a convincing defence of the core of his theory, which is that we can analyse causation by appeal to the notion of manipulation.
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  • Philosophy of Mind.Alex Byrne & Jaegwon Kim - 1998 - Philosophical Review 107 (1):113.
    In the preface, Kim writes hopefully that his introduction to the philosophy of mind is “intended to be accessible to those without a formal background in philosophy”. The blurb at the end is more realistic: Philosophy of Mind is “a textbook for upper-level undergraduates and graduate students”. It is an admirable addition to Westview’s excellent Dimensions of Philosophy series. Brisk, workmanlike chapters profile the usual suspects: behaviorism, the identity theory, mind as computer and as causal structure, mental causation, consciousness, mental (...)
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  • The Conscious Mind: In Search of a Fundamental Theory.David J. Chalmers - 1996 - Oxford University Press.
    The book is an extended study of the problem of consciousness. After setting up the problem, I argue that reductive explanation of consciousness is impossible , and that if one takes consciousness seriously, one has to go beyond a strict materialist framework. In the second half of the book, I move toward a positive theory of consciousness with fundamental laws linking the physical and the experiential in a systematic way. Finally, I use the ideas and arguments developed earlier to defend (...)
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  • Four Decades of Scientific Explanation.Wesley C. Salmon & Anne Fagot-Largeault - 1989 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 16 (2):355.
    As Aristotle stated, scientific explanation is based on deductive argument--yet, Wesley C. Salmon points out, not all deductive arguments are qualified explanations. The validity of the explanation must itself be examined. _Four Decades of Scientific Explanation_ provides a comprehensive account of the developments in scientific explanation that transpired in the last four decades of the twentieth century. It continues to stand as the most comprehensive treatment of the writings on the subject during these years. Building on the historic 1948 essay (...)
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  • Physicalism.Daniel Stoljar - 2015 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    Physicalism is the thesis that everything is physical, or as contemporary philosophers sometimes put it, that everything supervenes on, or is necessitated by, the physical. The thesis is usually intended as a metaphysical thesis, parallel to the thesis attributed to the ancient Greek philosopher Thales, that everything is water, or the idealism of the 18th Century philosopher Berkeley, that everything is mental. The general idea is that the nature of the actual world (i.e. the universe and everything in it) conforms (...)
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  • Making Things Happen: A Theory of Causal Explanation.James Woodward - 2003 - Oxford University Press.
    Woodward's long awaited book is an attempt to construct a comprehensive account of causation explanation that applies to a wide variety of causal and explanatory claims in different areas of science and everyday life. The book engages some of the relevant literature from other disciplines, as Woodward weaves together examples, counterexamples, criticisms, defenses, objections, and replies into a convincing defense of the core of his theory, which is that we can analyze causation by appeal to the notion of manipulation.
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  • Constitution is Not Identity.Mark Johnston - 1992 - Mind 101 (401):89-106.
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  • Physicalism.Daniel Stoljar - 2010 - Routledge.
    Physicalism, the thesis that everything is physical, is one of the most controversial problems in philosophy. Its adherents argue that there is no more important doctrine in philosophy, whilst its opponents claim that its role is greatly exaggerated. In this superb introduction to the problem Daniel Stoljar focuses on three fundamental questions: the interpretation, truth and philosophical significance of physicalism. In answering these questions he covers the following key topics: -/- (i)A brief history of physicalism and its definitions, (ii)what a (...)
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  • New Work for a Theory of Universals.David Lewis - 1983 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 61 (4):343-377.
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  • Reduction of Mind.David K. Lewis - 1994 - In Samuel Guttenplan (ed.), Companion to the Philosophy of Mind. Blackwell. pp. 412-431.
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  • New Work For a Theory of Universals.David K. Lewis - 1983 - In D. H. Mellor & Alex Oliver (eds.), Properties. Oxford University Press.
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  • Hylomorphism.Mark Johnston - 2006 - Journal of Philosophy 103 (12):652-698.
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  • The Myth of Non-Reductive Materialism.Jaegwon Kim - 1989 - Proceedings and Addresses of the American Philosophical Association 63 (3):31-47.
    Somewhat loose arguments that non-reductive physicalist realism is untenable. Anomalous monism makes the mental irrelevant, functionalism is compatible with species-specific reduction, and supervenience is weak or reductive.
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  • Introduction - Reductive and Nonreductive Physicalism.Ansgar Beckermann - unknown
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  • Mental Events.Donald Davidson - 1970 - In L. Foster & J. W. Swanson (eds.). Clarendon Press. pp. 207-224.
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  • Naturalism.David Papineau - 2007 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    The term ‘naturalism’ has no very precise meaning in contemporary philosophy. Its current usage derives from debates in America in the first half of the last century. The self-proclaimed ‘naturalists’ from that period included John Dewey, Ernest Nagel, Sidney Hook and Roy Wood Sellars. These philosophers aimed to ally philosophy more closely with science. They urged that reality is exhausted by nature, containing nothing ‘supernatural’, and that the scientific method should be used to investigate all areas of reality, including the (...)
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  • The Scientific Image.Michael Friedman - 1982 - Journal of Philosophy 79 (5):274-283.
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  • Causes That Make a Difference.C. Kenneth Waters - 2007 - Journal of Philosophy 104 (11):551-579.
    Biologists studying complex causal systems typically identify some factors as causes and treat other factors as background conditions. For example, when geneticists explain biological phenomena, they often foreground genes and relegate the cellular milieu to the background. But factors in the milieu are as causally necessary as genes for the production of phenotypic traits, even traits at the molecular level such as amino acid sequences. Gene-centered biology has been criticized on the grounds that because there is parity among causes, the (...)
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  • Robust Nonreductive Materialism.Derk Pereboom - 2002 - Journal of Philosophy 99 (10):499.
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  • Robust Nonreductive Materialism.Derk Pereboom - 2002 - Journal of Philosophy 99 (10):499-531.
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  • Functional Analysis.Robert Cummins - 1975 - Journal of Philosophy 72 (November):741-64.
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  • Explanation and Scientific Understanding.Michael Friedman - 1974 - Journal of Philosophy 71 (1):5-19.
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  • Two Concepts of Intertheoretic Reduction.Thomas Nickles - 1973 - Journal of Philosophy 70 (April):181-201.
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  • Why Constitution is Not Identity.Lynne Rudder Baker - 1997 - Journal of Philosophy 94 (12):599.
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  • Why Constitution is Not Identity.Lynne Rudder Baker - 1997 - Journal of Philosophy 94 (12):599-621.
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  • Constitutive Explanatory Relevance.Carl Craver - 2007 - Journal of Philosophical Research 32:3-20.
    In what sense are the activities and properties of components in a mechanism explanatorily relevant to the behavior of a mechanism as a whole? I articulate this problem, the problem of constitutive relevance, and I show that it must be solved if we are to understand mechanisms and mechanistic explanation. I argue against some putative solutions to the problem of constitutive relevance, and I sketch a positive account according to which relevance is analyzed in terms ofrelationships of mutual manipulability between (...)
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  • Sensations and Brain Processes.Jjc Smart - 1959 - Philosophical Review 68 (April):141-56.
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  • Natural Laws in Scientific Practice.John W. Carroll - 2005 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 71 (1):240-245.
    This is a review of Marc Lange's _Natural Laws in Scientific Practice<D>.
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  • When Mechanistic Models Explain.Carl Craver - 2006 - Synthese 153 (3):355-376.
    Not all models are explanatory. Some models are data summaries. Some models sketch explanations but leave crucial details unspecified or hidden behind filler terms. Some models are used to conjecture a how-possibly explanation without regard to whether it is a how-actually explanation. I use the Hodgkin and Huxley model of the action potential to illustrate these ways that models can be useful without explaining. I then use the subsequent development of the explanation of the action potential to show what is (...)
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  • Re-Engineering Philosophy for Limited Beings: Piecewise Approximations to Reality.William Wimsatt - 2007 - Harvard University Press.
    This book offers a philosophy for error-prone humans trying to understand messy systems in the real world.
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  • Depth. An Account of Scientific Explanation.Michael Strevens - 2008 - Harvard University Press.
    Approaches to explanation -- Causal and explanatory relevance -- The kairetic account of /D making -- The kairetic account of explanation -- Extending the kairetic account -- Event explanation and causal claims -- Regularity explanation -- Abstraction in regularity explanation -- Approaches to probabilistic explanation -- Kairetic explanation of frequencies -- Kairetic explanation of single outcomes -- Looking outward -- Looking inward.
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  • Causality and Explanation.Wesley C. Salmon - 1997 - Oxford University Press USA.
    "A rich collection. Since it holds a number of introductory pieces along with advanced essays and review articles, the volume will be accessible to a broad audience and will work well in philosophy of science courses....Essential."--Lawrence Sklar, University of Michigan.
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  • Function and Design.Philip Kitcher - 1993 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 18 (1):379-397.
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  • Explanation in Two Dimensions: Diagrams and Biological Explanation.Laura Perini - 2005 - Biology and Philosophy 20 (2-3):257-269.
    Molecular biologists and biochemists often use diagrams to present hypotheses. Analysis of diagrams shows that their content can be expressed with linguistic representations. Why do biologists use visual representations instead? One reason is simple comprehensibility: some diagrams present information which is readily understood from the diagram format, but which would not be comprehensible if the same information was expressed linguistically. But often diagrams are used even when concise, comprehensible linguistic alternatives are available. I explain this phenomenon by showing why diagrammatic (...)
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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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  • The Conscious Mind: In Search of a Fundamental Theory.David J. Chalmers - 1996 - Oxford University Press USA.
    What is consciousness? How do physical processes in the brain give rise to the self-aware mind and to feelings as profoundly varied as love or hate, aesthetic pleasure or spiritual yearning? These questions today are among the most hotly debated issues among scientists and philosophers, and we have seen in recent years superb volumes by such eminent figures as Francis Crick, Daniel C. Dennett, Gerald Edelman, and Roger Penrose, all firing volleys in what has come to be called the consciousness (...)
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  • Scientific Explanation.James Woodward - 1979 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 30 (1):41-67.
    Issues concerning scientific explanation have been a focus of philosophical attention from Pre- Socratic times through the modern period. However, recent discussion really begins with the development of the Deductive-Nomological (DN) model. This model has had many advocates (including Popper 1935, 1959, Braithwaite 1953, Gardiner, 1959, Nagel 1961) but unquestionably the most detailed and influential statement is due to Carl Hempel (Hempel 1942, 1965, and Hempel & Oppenheim 1948). These papers and the reaction to them have structured subsequent discussion concerning (...)
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  • Mechanisms in Cognitive Psychology: What Are the Operations?William Bechtel - 2008 - Philosophy of Science 75 (5):983-994.
    Cognitive psychologists, like biologists, frequently describe mechanisms when explaining phenomena. Unlike biologists, who can often trace material transformations to identify operations, psychologists face a more daunting task in identifying operations that transform information. Behavior provides little guidance as to the nature of the operations involved. While not itself revealing the operations, identification of brain areas involved in psychological mechanisms can help constrain attempts to characterize the operations. In current memory research, evidence that the same brain areas are involved in what (...)
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  • Rethinking Mechanistic Explanation.Stuart Glennan - 2002 - Proceedings of the Philosophy of Science Association 2002 (3):S342-353.
    Philosophers of science typically associate the causal-mechanical view of scientific explanation with the work of Railton and Salmon. In this paper I shall argue that the defects of this view arise from an inadequate analysis of the concept of mechanism. I contrast Salmon's account of mechanisms in terms of the causal nexus with my own account of mechanisms, in which mechanisms are viewed as complex systems. After describing these two concepts of mechanism, I show how the complex-systems approach avoids certain (...)
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  • Non-Reductive Physicalism and Degrees of Freedom.J. Wilson - 2010 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 61 (2):279-311.
    Some claim that Non-reductive Physicalism is an unstable position, on grounds that NRP either collapses into reductive physicalism, or expands into emergentism of a robust or ‘strong’ variety. I argue that this claim is unfounded, by attention to the notion of a degree of freedom—roughly, an independent parameter needed to characterize an entity as being in a state functionally relevant to its law-governed properties and behavior. I start by distinguishing three relations that may hold between the degrees of freedom needed (...)
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  • A Material Theory of Induction.John D. Norton - 2003 - Philosophy of Science 70 (4):647-670.
    Contrary to formal theories of induction, I argue that there are no universal inductive inference schemas. The inductive inferences of science are grounded in matters of fact that hold only in particular domains, so that all inductive inference is local. Some are so localized as to defy familiar characterization. Since inductive inference schemas are underwritten by facts, we can assess and control the inductive risk taken in an induction by investigating the warrant for its underwriting facts. In learning more facts, (...)
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  • Levels of Explanation Reconceived.Angela Potochnik - 2010 - Philosophy of Science 77 (1):59-72.
    A common argument against explanatory reductionism is that higher‐level explanations are sometimes or always preferable because they are more general than reductive explanations. Here I challenge two basic assumptions that are needed for that argument to succeed. It cannot be assumed that higher‐level explanations are more general than their lower‐level alternatives or that higher‐level explanations are general in the right way to be explanatory. I suggest a novel form of pluralism regarding levels of explanation, according to which explanations at different (...)
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  • Philosophy Inside Out.Philip Kitcher - 2011 - Metaphilosophy 42 (3):248-260.
    Abstract: Philosophy is often conceived in the Anglophone world today as a subject that focuses on questions in particular “core areas,” pre-eminently epistemology and metaphysics. This article argues that the contemporary conception is a new version of the scholastic “self-indulgence for the few” of which Dewey complained nearly a century ago. Philosophical questions evolve, and a first task for philosophers is to address issues that arise for their own times. The article suggests that a renewal of philosophy today should turn (...)
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  • How is Biological Explanation Possible?Alex Rosenberg - 2001 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 52 (4):735-760.
    That biology provides explanations is not open to doubt. But how it does so must be a vexed question for those who deny that biology embodies laws or other generalizations with the sort of explanatory force that the philosophy of science recognizes. The most common response to this problem has involved redefining law so that those grammatically general statements which biologists invoke in explanations can be counted as laws. But this terminological innovation cannot identify the source of biology's explanatory power. (...)
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  • Parts and Theories in Compositional Biology.Rasmus Grønfeldt Winther - 2006 - Biology and Philosophy 21 (4):471-499.
    I analyze the importance of parts in the style of biological theorizing that I call compositional biology. I do this by investigating various aspects, including partitioning frames and explanatory accounts, of the theoretical perspectives that fall under and are guided by compositional biology. I ground this general examination in a comparative analysis of three different disciplines with their associated compositional theoretical perspectives: comparative morphology, functional morphology, and developmental biology. I glean data for this analysis from canonical textbooks and defend the (...)
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  • Non-Reductive Physicalism and Degrees of Freedom.Jessica M. Wilson - 2010 - British Journal for Philosophy of Science 61 (2):279-311.
    Some claim that Non- reductive Physicalism is an unstable position, on grounds that NRP either collapses into reductive physicalism, or expands into emergentism of a robust or ‘strong’ variety. I argue that this claim is unfounded, by attention to the notion of a degree of freedom—roughly, an independent parameter needed to characterize an entity as being in a state functionally relevant to its law-governed properties and behavior. I start by distinguishing three relations that may hold between the degrees of freedom (...)
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  • Explanation, Reduction and Empiricism.P. K. Feyerabend - 1967 - Critica 1 (2):103-106.
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  • The Multiple Realizability Argument Against Reductionism.Elliott Sober - 1999 - Philosophy of Science 66 (4):542-564.
    Reductionism is often understood to include two theses: (1) every singular occurrence that the special sciences can explain also can be explained by physics; (2) every law in a higher-level science can be explained by physics. These claims are widely supposed to have been refuted by the multiple realizability argument, formulated by Putnam (1967, 1975) and Fodor (1968, 1975). The present paper criticizes the argument and identifies a reductionistic thesis that follows from one of the argument's premises.
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  • Part-Whole Science.Rasmus Grønfeldt Winther - 2011 - Synthese 178 (3):397-427.
    A scientific explanatory project, part-whole explanation, and a kind of science, part-whole science are premised on identifying, investigating, and using parts and wholes. In the biological sciences, mechanistic, structuralist, and historical explanations are part-whole explanations. Each expresses different norms, explananda, and aims. Each is associated with a distinct partitioning frame for abstracting kinds of parts. These three explanatory projects can be complemented in order to provide an integrative vision of the whole system, as is shown for a detailed case study: (...)
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  • Instrumental Biology or the Disunity of Science.Alexander Rosenberg - 1997 - Philosophical Quarterly 47 (186):120-122.
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