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  1. Causation in biology: Stability, specificity, and the choice of levels of explanation.James Woodward - 2010 - Biology and Philosophy 25 (3):287-318.
    This paper attempts to elucidate three characteristics of causal relationships that are important in biological contexts. Stability has to do with whether a causal relationship continues to hold under changes in background conditions. Proportionality has to do with whether changes in the state of the cause “line up” in the right way with changes in the state of the effect and with whether the cause and effect are characterized in a way that contains irrelevant detail. Specificity is connected both to (...)
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  • Which Kind of Causal Specificity Matters Biologically?Marcel Weber - 2017 - Philosophy of Science 84 (3):574-585.
    Griffiths et al. (2015) have proposed a quantitative measure of causal specificity and used it to assess various attempts to single out genetic causes as being causally more specific than other cellular mechanisms, for example, alternative splicing. Focusing in particular on developmental processes, they have identified a number of important challenges for this project. In this discussion note, I would like to show how these challenges can be met.
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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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  • Restricted Causal Relevance.Anders Strand & Gry Oftedal - 2019 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 70 (2):431-457.
    Causal selection and priority are at the heart of discussions of the causal parity thesis, which says that all causes of a given effect are on a par, and that any justified priority assigned to a given cause results from causal explanatory interests. In theories of causation that provide necessary and sufficient conditions for the truth of causal claims, status as cause is an either/or issue: either a given cause satisfies the conditions or it does not. Consequently, assessments of causal (...)
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  • Measuring Causal Specificity.Paul E. Griffiths, Arnaud Pocheville, Brett Calcott, Karola Stotz, Hyunju Kim & Rob Knight - 2015 - Philosophy of Science 82 (4):529-555.
    Several authors have argued that causes differ in the degree to which they are ‘specific’ to their effects. Woodward has used this idea to enrich his influential interventionist theory of causal explanation. Here we propose a way to measure causal specificity using tools from information theory. We show that the specificity of a causal variable is not well-defined without a probability distribution over the states of that variable. We demonstrate the tractability and interest of our proposed measure by measuring the (...)
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  • Darwin's Dangerous Idea: Evolution and the Meanings of Life.David L. Hull - 1997 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 48 (3):435-438.
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  • Causal specificity and the instructive–permissive distinction.Brett Calcott - 2017 - Biology and Philosophy 32 (4):481-505.
    I use some recent formal work on measuring causation to explore a suggestion by James Woodward: that the notion of causal specificity can clarify the distinction in biology between permissive and instructive causes. This distinction arises when a complex developmental process, such as the formation of an entire body part, can be triggered by a simple switch, such as the presence of particular protein. In such cases, the protein is said to merely induce or "permit" the developmental process, whilst the (...)
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  • What are narratives good for?John Beatty - 2016 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 58:33-40.
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  • Causation as influence.David K. Lewis - 2000 - Journal of Philosophy 97 (4):182-197.
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  • Biological modalities.Maximilian Huber - unknown
    Biological modalities play an important explanatory role in biological practice. However, biological modalities lack truth conditions and the inferential relationship between biological and other modalities is unclear. This thesis addresses these problems, first, by improving upon Daniel Dennett's Library of Mendel. Second, a family of modal logics is introduced. In the simplest model, states are interpreted as codons, the binary relation is interpreted as single substitution mutation and the valuation induces a partition of blocks of codons that code for some (...)
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