Results for 'Biological Explanation'

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  1. On Nature and Normativity: Normativity, Teleology, and Mechanism in Biological Explanation.Lenny Moss & 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):88-91.
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  2. Biological Explanation.Angela Potochnik - 2013 - In Kostas Kampourakis (ed.), The Philosophy of Biology: A Companion for Educators. Springer. pp. 49-65.
    One of the central aims of science is explanation: scientists seek to uncover why things happen the way they do. This chapter addresses what kinds of explanations are formulated in biology, how explanatory aims influence other features of the field of biology, and the implications of all of this for biology education. Philosophical treatments of scientific explanation have been both complicated and enriched by attention to explanatory strategies in biology. Most basically, whereas traditional philosophy of science based (...) on derivation from scientific laws, there are many biological explanations in which laws play little or no role. Instead, the field of biology is a natural place to turn for support for the idea that causal information is explanatory. Biology has also been used to motivate mechanistic accounts of explanation, as well as criticisms of that approach. Ultimately, the most pressing issue about explanation in biology may be how to account for the wide range of explanatory styles encountered in the field. This issue is crucial, for the aims of biological explanation influence a variety of other features of the field of biology. Explanatory aims account for the continued neglect of some central causal factors, a neglect that would otherwise be mysterious. This is linked to the persistent use of models like evolutionary game theory and population genetic models, models that are simplified to the point of unreality. These explanatory aims also offer a way to interpret many biologists’ total commitment to one or another methodological approach, and the intense disagreements that result. In my view, such debates are better understood as arising not from different theoretical commitments, but commitments to different explanatory projects. Biology education would thus be enriched by attending to approaches to biological explanation, as well as the unexpected ways that these explanatory aims influence other features of biology. I suggest five lessons for teaching about explanation in biology that follow from the considerations of this chapter. (shrink)
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  3. Determinism and Total Explanation in the Biological and Behavioral Sciences.Rasmus Grønfeldt Winther - 2014 - Encyclopedia of Life Sciences.
    Should we think of our universe as law-governed and “clockwork”-like or as disorderly and “soup”-like? Alternatively, should we consciously and intentionally synthesize these two extreme pictures? More concretely, how deterministic are the postulated causes and how rigid are the modeled properties of the best statistical methodologies used in the biological and behavioral sciences? The charge of this entry is to explore thinking about causation in the temporal evolution of biological and behavioral systems. Regression analysis and path analysis are (...)
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  4. Realism Explanation and Truth in the Biological Sciences.Michael Alexander Ward - 1994 - Dissertation, University of Bradford
    The traditional emphasis on the physics of the very small is questioned, and the suggestion made that a crucial test of contributions to the philosophy of science ought to be their applicability to areas which are more representative of the scientific enterprise. Life science is cited as just such an area. It is quantum physics, rather than biology, which nurtures anti-realism. The most respected anti-realism today is that provided by Bas C van Fraassen; and the persuasiveness of his "Constructive Empiricism" (...)
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  5.  98
    Unifying the Essential Concepts of Biological Networks: Biological Insights and Philosophical Foundations.Daniel Kostic, Claus Hilgetag & Marc Tittgemeyer - forthcoming - Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences.
    Over the last decades, network-based approaches have become highly popular in diverse fields of biology, including neuroscience, ecology, molecular biology and genetics. While these approaches continue to grow very rapidly, some of their conceptual and methodological aspects still require a programmatic foundation. This challenge particularly concerns the question of whether a generalized account of explanatory, organisational and descriptive levels of networks can be applied universally across biological sciences. To this end, this highly interdisciplinary theme issue focuses on the definition, (...)
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  6. From Silico to Vitro: Computational Models of Complex Biological Systems Reveal Real-World Emergent Phenomena.Orly Stettiner - 2014 - In Vincent C. Muller (ed.), Computing and Philosophy, Selected Papaers from IACAP 2014. Springer. pp. 133-147.
    Computer simulations constitute a significant scientific tool for promoting scientific understanding of natural phenomena and dynamic processes. Substantial leaps in computational force and software engineering methodologies now allow the design and development of large-scale biological models, which – when combined with advanced graphics tools – may produce realistic biological scenarios, that reveal new scientific explanations and knowledge about real life phenomena. A state-of-the-art simulation system termed Reactive Animation (RA) will serve as a study case to examine the contemporary (...)
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  7. The Ontic Account of Scientific Explanation.Carl F. Craver - 2014 - In Marie I. Kaiser, Oliver R. Scholz, Daniel Plenge & Andreas Hüttemann (eds.), Explanation in the Special Sciences: The Case of Biology and History. Springer Verlag. pp. 27-52.
    According to one large family of views, scientific explanations explain a phenomenon (such as an event or a regularity) by subsuming it under a general representation, model, prototype, or schema (see Bechtel, W., & Abrahamsen, A. (2005). Explanation: A mechanist alternative. Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, 36(2), 421–441; Churchland, P. M. (1989). A neurocomputational perspective: The nature of mind and the structure of science. Cambridge: MIT Press; Darden (2006); Hempel, C. G. (1965). Aspects (...)
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  8. Equilibrium Explanation as Structural Non-Mechanistic Explanation: The Case Long-Term Bacterial Persistence in Human Hosts.Javier Suárez & Roger Deulofeu - 2019 - Teorema: International Journal of Philosophy 3 (38):95-120.
    Philippe Huneman has recently questioned the widespread application of mechanistic models of scientific explanation based on the existence of structural explanations, i.e. explanations that account for the phenomenon to be explained in virtue of the mathematical properties of the system where the phenomenon obtains, rather than in terms of the mechanisms that causally produce the phenomenon. Structural explanations are very diverse, including cases like explanations in terms of bowtie structures, in terms of the topological properties of the system, or (...)
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  9.  17
    Aristotle and the Search of a Rational Framework for Biology.Armando Aranda-Anzaldo - 2019 - Organisms 3 (2):54-64.
    Chance and necessity are mainstays of explanation in current biology, dominated by the neo-Darwinian outlook, a blend of the theory of evolution by natural selection with the basic tenets of population genetics. In such a framework the form of living organisms is somehow a side effect of highly contingent, historical accidents. Thus, at a difference of other sciences, biology apparently lacks theoretical principles that in a law-like fashion may explain the emergence and persistence of the characteristic forms of living (...)
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  10. The Cambrian Explosion and the Origins of Embodied Cognition.Michael Trestman - 2013 - Biological Theory 8 (1):80-92.
    Around 540 million years ago there was a sudden, dramatic adaptive radiation known as the Cambrian Explosion. This event marked the origin of almost all of the phyla (major lineages characterized by fundamental body plans) of animals that would ever live on earth, as well the appearance of many notable features such as rigid skeletons and other hard parts, complex jointed appendages, eyes, and brains. This radical evolutionary event has been a major puzzle for evolutionary biologists since Darwin, and while (...)
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  11. What Constitutes an Explanation in Biology?Angela Potochnik - forthcoming - In Kostas Kampourakis & Tobias Uller (eds.), Philosophy of Science for Biologists. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
    One of biology's fundamental aims is to generate understanding of the living world around—and within—us. In this chapter, I aim to provide a relatively nonpartisan discussion of the nature of explanation in biology, grounded in widely shared philosophical views about scientific explanation. But this discussion also reflects what I think is important for philosophers and biologists alike to appreciate about successful scientific explanations, so some points will be controversial, at least among philosophers. I make three main points: (1) (...)
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  12. Biological Autonomy.Attila Grandpierre & Menas Kafatos - 2012 - Philosophy Study 2 (9):631-649.
    We argue that genuine biological autonomy, or described at human level as free will, requires taking into account quantum vacuum processes in the context of biological teleology. One faces at least three basic problems of genuine biological autonomy: (1) if biological autonomy is not physical, where does it come from? (2) Is there a room for biological causes? And (3) how to obtain a workable model of biological teleology? It is shown here that the (...)
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  13. A Weakened Mechanism is Still a Mechanism: On the Causal Role of Absences in Mechanistic Explanation.Alexander Mebius - 2013 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 45 (1):43-48.
    Much contemporary debate on the nature of mechanisms centers on the issue of modulating negative causes. One type of negative causability, which I refer to as “causation by absence,” appears difficult to incorporate into modern accounts of mechanistic explanation. This paper argues that a recent attempt to resolve this problem, proposed by Benjamin Barros, requires improvement as it overlooks the fact that not all absences qualify as sources of mechanism failure. I suggest that there are a number of additional (...)
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  14. Causal Graphs and Biological Mechanisms.Alexander Gebharter & Marie I. Kaiser - 2014 - In Marie I. Kaiser, Oliver Scholz, Daniel Plenge & Andreas Hüttemann (eds.), Explanation in the special sciences: The case of biology and history. Dordrecht: Springer. pp. 55-86.
    Modeling mechanisms is central to the biological sciences – for purposes of explanation, prediction, extrapolation, and manipulation. A closer look at the philosophical literature reveals that mechanisms are predominantly modeled in a purely qualitative way. That is, mechanistic models are conceived of as representing how certain entities and activities are spatially and temporally organized so that they bring about the behavior of the mechanism in question. Although this adequately characterizes how mechanisms are represented in biology textbooks, contemporary (...) research practice shows the need for quantitative, probabilistic models of mechanisms, too. In this paper we argue that the formal framework of causal graph theory is well-suited to provide us with models of biological mechanisms that incorporate quantitative and probabilistic information. On the ba-sis of an example from contemporary biological practice, namely feedback regulation of fatty acid biosynthesis in Brassica napus, we show that causal graph theoretical models can account for feedback as well as for the multi-level character of mechanisms. However, we do not claim that causal graph theoretical representations of mechanisms are advantageous in all respects and should replace common qualitative models. Rather, we endorse the more balanced view that causal graph theoretical models of mechanisms are useful for some purposes, while being insufficient for others. (shrink)
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  15. Object Spaces: An Organizing Strategy for Biological Theorizing.Beckett Sterner - 2009 - Biological Theory 4 (3):280-286.
    A classic analytic approach to biological phenomena seeks to refine definitions until classes are sufficiently homogenous to support prediction and explanation, but this approach founders on cases where a single process produces objects with similar forms but heterogeneous behaviors. I introduce object spaces as a tool to tackle this challenging diversity of biological objects in terms of causal processes with well-defined formal properties. Object spaces have three primary components: (1) a combinatorial biological process such as protein (...)
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  16. Bowtie Structures, Pathway Diagrams, and Topological Explanation.Nicholaos Jones - 2014 - Erkenntnis 79 (5):1135-1155.
    While mechanistic explanation and, to a lesser extent, nomological explanation are well-explored topics in the philosophy of biology, topological explanation is not. Nor is the role of diagrams in topological explanations. These explanations do not appeal to the operation of mechanisms or laws, and extant accounts of the role of diagrams in biological science explain neither why scientists might prefer diagrammatic representations of topological information to sentential equivalents nor how such representations might facilitate important processes of (...)
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  17. Diagrams as Locality Aids for Explanation and Model Construction in Cell Biology.Nicholaos Jones & Olaf Wolkenhauer - 2012 - Biology and Philosophy 27 (5):705-721.
    Using as case studies two early diagrams that represent mechanisms of the cell division cycle, we aim to extend prior philosophical analyses of the roles of diagrams in scientific reasoning, and specifically their role in biological reasoning. The diagrams we discuss are, in practice, integral and indispensible elements of reasoning from experimental data about the cell division cycle to mathematical models of the cycle’s molecular mechanisms. In accordance with prior analyses, the diagrams provide functional explanations of the cell cycle (...)
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  18. Subjectivity: A Case of Biological Individuation and an Adaptive Response to Informational Overflow.Jakub Jonkisz - 2016 - Frontiers in Psychology 7.
    The article presents a perspective on the scientific explanation of the subjectivity of conscious experience. It proposes plausible answers for two empirically valid questions: the ‘how’ question concerning the developmental mechanisms of subjectivity, and the ‘why’ question concerning its function. Biological individuation, which is acquired in several different stages, serves as a provisional description of how subjective perspectives may have evolved. To the extent that an individuated informational space seems the most efficient way for a given organism to (...)
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  19. Formal Biology and Compositional Biology as Two Kinds of Biological Theorizing.Rasmus Grønfeldt Winther - 2003 - Dissertation, Indiana University, HPS
    There are two fundamentally distinct kinds of biological theorizing. "Formal biology" focuses on the relations, captured in formal laws, among mathematically abstracted properties of abstract objects. Population genetics and theoretical mathematical ecology, which are cases of formal biology, thus share methods and goals with theoretical physics. "Compositional biology," on the other hand, is concerned with articulating the concrete structure, mechanisms, and function, through developmental and evolutionary time, of material parts and wholes. Molecular genetics, biochemistry, developmental biology, and physiology, which (...)
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  20.  77
    Is It Worth to Fit the Social Sciences in the Same Track as the Study of Biological Evolution?Armando Aranda-Anzaldo - 2000 - Ludus Vitalis 8 (14):213-218.
    For some the gene-centered reductionism that permeates contemporary neo-Darwinism is an obstacle for finding a common explanatory framework for both biological and cultural evolution. Thus social scientists are tempted to find new concepts that might bridge the divide between biology and sociology. Yet since Aristotle we know that the level of explanation must be commensurate with the particular question to be answered. In modern natural science there are many instances where a reductionist approach has failed to provide the (...)
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  21.  97
    Behavioral Traits, the Intentional Stance, and Biological Functions.Marcel Weber - 2011 - In Kathryn Plaisance & Thomas A. C. Reydon (eds.), Philosophy of Behavioral Biology. Berlin: Springer. pp. 317-328.
    It has been claimed that the intentional stance is necessary to individuate behavioral traits. This thesis, while clearly false, points to two interesting sets of problems concerning biological explanations of behavior: The first is a general in the philosophy of science: the theory-ladenness of observation. The second problem concerns the principles of trait individuation, which is a general problem in philosophy of biology. After discussing some alternatives, I show that one way of individuating the behavioral traits of an organism (...)
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  22. The Scope and Limits of Biological Explanations in Archaeology.Ben Jeffares - 2003 - Dissertation, Victoria University of Wellington
    I show how archaeologists have two problems. The construction of scenarios accounting for the raw data of Archaeology, the material remains of the past, and the explanation of pre-history. Within Archaeology, there has been an ongoing debate about how to constrain speculation within both of these archaeological projects, and archaeologists have consistently looked to biological mechanisms for constraints. I demonstrate the problems of using biology, either as an analogy for cultural processes or through direct application of biological (...)
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  23. Reducing the Dauer Larva: Molecular Models of Biological Phenomena in Caenorhabditis Elegans Research.Arciszewski Michal - manuscript
    One important aspect of biological explanation is detailed causal modeling of particular phenomena in limited experimental background conditions. Recognising this allows a new avenue for intertheoretic reduction to be seen. Reductions in biology are possible, when one fully recognises that a sufficient condition for a reduction in biology is a molecular model of 1) only the demonstrated causal parameters of a biological model and 2) only within a replicable experimental background. These intertheoretic identifications –which are ubiquitous in (...)
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  24. A Biological Alternative to Moral Explanations.Joseph Millum - 2008 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 46 (3):385-407.
    Some moral realists claim that moral facts are a species of natural fact, amenable to scientific investigation. They argue that these moral facts are needed in the best explanations of certain phenomena and that this is evidence that they are real. In this paper I present part of a biological account of the function of morality. The account allows the identification of a plausible natural kind that could play the explanatory role that a moral kind would play in naturalist (...)
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  25. Analytic Philosophy for Biomedical Research: The Imperative of Applying Yesterday's Timeless Messages to Today's Impasses.Sepehr Ehsani - forthcoming - In P. Glauner & P. Plugmann (eds.), Innovative Technologies for Market Leadership - Investing in the Future. Springer.
    The mantra that "the best way to predict the future is to invent it" (attributed to the computer scientist Alan Kay) exemplifies some of the expectations from the technical and innovative sides of biomedical research at present. However, for technical advancements to make real impacts both on patient health and genuine scientific understanding, quite a number of lingering challenges facing the entire spectrum from protein biology all the way to randomized controlled trials should start to be overcome. The proposal in (...)
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  26. Explaining Causal Selection with Explanatory Causal Economy: Biology and Beyond.L. R. Franklin-Hall - 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. 413-438.
    Among the factors necessary for the occurrence of some event, which of these are selectively highlighted in its explanation and labeled as causes — and which are explanatorily omitted, or relegated to the status of background conditions? Following J. S. Mill, most have thought that only a pragmatic answer to this question was possible. In this paper I suggest we understand this ‘causal selection problem’ in causal-explanatory terms, and propose that explanatory trade-offs between abstraction and stability can provide a (...)
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  27. Grounding Explanations.Louis deRosset - 2013 - Philosophers' Imprint 13.
    A compelling idea holds that reality has a layered structure. We often disagree about what inhabits the bottom layer, but we agree that higher up we find chemical, biological, geological, psychological, sociological, economic, /etc./, entities: molecules, human beings, diamonds, mental states, cities, interest rates, and so on. How is this intuitive talk of a layered structure of entities to be understood? Traditionally, philosophers have proposed to understand layered structure in terms of either reduction or supervenience. But these traditional views (...)
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  28.  64
    An Ontic Account of Explanatory Reduction in Biology.Marie I. Kaiser - 2012 - Köln: Kölner Hochschulschriften.
    Convincing disputes about explanatory reductionism in the philosophy of biology require a clear and precise understanding of what a reductive explanation in biology is. The central aim of this book is to provide such an account by revealing the features that determine the reductive character of a biological explanation. Chapters I-IV provide the ground, on which I can then, in Chapter V, develop my own account of explanatory reduction in biology: Chapter I reveals the meta-philosophical assumptions that (...)
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  29. What Was Hodgkin and Huxley's Achievement?Arnon Levy - 2013 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science (3):axs043.
    The Hodgkin–Huxley (HH) model of the action potential is a theoretical pillar of modern neurobiology. In a number of recent publications, Carl Craver ([2006], [2007], [2008]) has argued that the model is explanatorily deficient because it does not reveal enough about underlying molecular mechanisms. I offer an alternative picture of the HH model, according to which it deliberately abstracts from molecular specifics. By doing so, the model explains whole-cell behaviour as the product of a mass of underlying low-level events. The (...)
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  30. Presume It Not: True Causes in the Search for the Basis of Heredity.Aaron Novick & Raphael Scholl - 2017 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science (1):axy001.
    Kyle Stanford has recently given substance to the problem of unconceived alternatives, which challenges the reliability of inference to the best explanation (IBE) in remote domains of nature. Conjoined with the view that IBE is the central inferential tool at our disposal in investigating these domains, the problem of unconceived alternatives leads to scientific anti-realism. We argue that, at least within the biological community, scientists are now and have long been aware of the dangers of IBE. We re-analyze (...)
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  31. Explaining the Behaviour of Random Ecological Networks: The Stability of the Microbiome as a Case of Integrative Pluralism.Roger Deulofeu, Javier Suárez & Alberto Pérez-Cervera - forthcoming - Synthese:1-23.
    Explaining the behaviour of ecosystems is one of the key challenges for the biological sciences. Since 2000, new-mechanicism has been the main model to account for the nature of scientific explanation in biology. The universality of the new-mechanist view in biology has been however put into question due to the existence of explanations that account for some biological phenomena in terms of their mathematical properties (mathematical explanations). Supporters of mathematical explanation have argued that the explanation (...)
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  32. Necessidade, Teleologia e Hilemorfismo em Aristóteles.Lucas Angioni - 2006 - Cadernos de História E Filosofia da Ciência 16 (1):33-57.
    I argue that Aristotle’s teleology in natural science (more specifically, in biology) is not incompatible with his admissions of the “brute necessity” of the movements of matter. Aristotle thinks that the brute necessity emerging from the movements of matter is not sufficient to explain why living beings are what they are and behave the way they behave. Nevertheless, Aristotle takes this brute necessity to be a sine qua non condition in biological explanations. The full explanation of the features (...)
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  33. How to Define Levels of Explanation and Evaluate Their Indispensability.Christopher Clarke - 2017 - Synthese 194 (6).
    Some explanations in social science, psychology and biology belong to a higher level than other explanations. And higher explanations possess the virtue of abstracting away from the details of lower explanations, many philosophers argue. As a result, these higher explanations are irreplaceable. And this suggests that there are genuine higher laws or patterns involving social, psychological and biological states. I show that this ‘abstractness argument’ is really an argument schema, not a single argument. This is because the argument uses (...)
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  34. The Ties That Undermine.John Beverley - 2016 - Bioethics 30 (5):304-311.
    Do biological relations ground responsibilities between biological fathers and their offspring? Few think biological relations ground either necessary or sufficient conditions for responsibility. Nevertheless, many think biological relations ground responsibility at least partially. Various scenarios, such as cases concerning the responsibilities of sperm donors, have been used to argue in favor of biological relations as partially grounding responsibilities. In this article, I seek to undermine the temptation to explain sperm donor scenarios via biological relations (...)
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  35. Mental Mechanisms and Psychological Construction.Mitchell Herschbach & William Bechtel - 2014 - In Lisa Feldman Barrett & James Russell (eds.), The Psychological Construction of Emotion. Guilford Press. pp. 21-44.
    Psychological construction represents an important new approach to psychological phenomena, one that has the promise to help us reconceptualize the mind both as a behavioral and as a biological system. It has so far been developed in the greatest detail for emotion, but it has important implications for how researchers approach other mental phenomena such as reasoning, memory, and language use. Its key contention is that phenomena that are characterized in (folk) psychological vocabulary are not themselves basic features of (...)
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  36. Cladistic Parsimony, Historical Linguistics and Cultural Phylogenetics.Frank Cabrera - 2017 - Mind and Language 32 (1):65-100.
    Here, I consider the recent application of phylogenetic methods in historical linguistics. After a preliminary survey of one such method, i.e. cladistic parsimony, I respond to two common criticisms of cultural phylogenies: that cultural artifacts cannot be modeled as tree-like because of borrowing across lineages, and that the mechanism of cultural change differs radically from that of biological evolution. I argue that while perhaps remains true for certain cultural artifacts, the nature of language may be such as to side-step (...)
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  37. Understanding Human Action: Integrating Meanings, Mechanisms, Causes, and Contexts.Machiel Keestra - 2011 - In Repko Allen, Szostak Rick & Newell William (eds.), Interdisciplinary Research: Case Studies of Integrative Understandings of Complex Problems. Sage Publications. pp. 201-235.
    Humans are capable of understanding an incredible variety of actions performed by other humans. Even though these range from primary biological actions, like eating and fleeing, to acts in parliament or in poetry, humans generally can make sense of each other’s actions. Understanding other people’s actions is called action understanding, and it can transcend differences in race, gender, culture, age, and social and historical circumstances. Action understanding is the cognitive ability to make sense of another person’s action by integrating (...)
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  38. N, N-DIMETHYLTRYPTAMINE AND BIOLOGICAL REDUCTIVE ACCOUNTS FOR RELIGIOUS AND SPIRITUAL EXPERIENCES.Shaun Smith - forthcoming - Liberty University Digital Commons.
    There is unquestionably a plethora of details and mysteries regarding the mind and the body. However, with the advent of psychopharmacology (the study of how psychedelics inform or alter brain states) there are more issues at hand. Do psychedelics allow us to access deeper areas of our consciousness? Are we having a spiritual experience under the influence of psychedelics? Dr. Rick Strassman does not want to continue asking these rather conspiratorial-like questions. Instead, Dr. Strassman believes that there is one special, (...)
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  39. The Unplanned Obsolescence of Psychological Science and an Argument for its Revival.Stan Klein - 2016 - Pyshcology of Consciousness: Theory, Research, and Practice 3:357-379.
    I examine some of the key scientific pre-commitments of modern psychology, and argue that their adoption has the unintended consequence of rendering a purely psychological analysis of mind indistinguishable from a purely biological treatment. And, since these pre-commitments sanction an “authority of the biological”, explanation of phenomena traditionally considered the purview of psychological analysis is fully subsumed under the biological. I next evaluate the epistemic warrant of these pre-commitments and suggest there are good reasons to question (...)
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  40. Probabilistic Causation and the Explanatory Role of Natural Selection.Pablo Razeto-Barry & Ramiro Frick - 2011 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 42 (3):344-355.
    The explanatory role of natural selection is one of the long-term debates in evolutionary biology. Nevertheless, the consensus has been slippery because conceptual confusions and the absence of a unified, formal causal model that integrates different explanatory scopes of natural selection. In this study we attempt to examine two questions: (i) What can the theory of natural selection explain? and (ii) Is there a causal or explanatory model that integrates all natural selection explananda? For the first question, we argue that (...)
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  41. Disciplinary Capture and Epistemological Obstacles to Interdisciplinary Research: Lessons From Central African Conservation Disputes.Evelyn Brister - 2016 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 56:82-91.
    Complex environmental problems require well-researched policies that integrate knowledge from both the natural and social sciences. Epistemic differences can impede interdisciplinary collaboration, as shown by debates between conservation biologists and anthropologists who are working to preserve biological diversity and support economic development in central Africa. Disciplinary differences with regard to 1) facts, 2) rigor, 3) causal explanation, and 4) research goals reinforce each other, such that early decisions about how to define concepts or which methods to adopt may (...)
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  42. Evolutionary Psychology, Adaptation and Design.Stephen M. Downes - 2014 - In P. Huneman & M. Silberstein (eds.), Handbook of Evolutionary Thinking in the Sciences. Springer. pp. 659-673.
    I argue that Evolutionary Psychologists’ notion of adaptationism is closest to what Peter Godfrey-Smith (2001) calls explanatory adaptationism and as a result, is not a good organizing principle for research in the biology of human behavior. I also argue that adopting an alternate notion of adaptationism presents much more explanatory resources to the biology of human behavior. I proceed by introducing Evolutionary Psychology and giving some examples of alternative approaches to the biological explanation of human behavior. Next I (...)
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  43.  13
    When Bioscience Meets Philosophy: Major Issues in the Philosophy of Biology.Sun Kyeong Yu - 2011 - Philosophy and Reality 91:99-110.
    CONTENT 1. Misconceptions of Darwin's Theory of Evolution 2. Darwinism against Essentialism and the Concept of Species 3. Function and Biological Explanation 4. The Gene 목차 1. 다윈의 진화론에 대한 오해들 2. 본질주의에 대한 진화론의 반대와 종(Species)의 개념 3. 기능(function)과 생명과학적 설명 4. 유전자 맺음말.
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  44. The Debunking Challenge to Realism: How Evolution (Ultimately) Matters.Levy Arnon & Yair Levy - 2016 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy (1):1-8.
    Evolutionary debunking arguments (EDAs) have attracted extensive attention in meta-ethics, as they pose an important challenge to moral realism. Mogensen (2015) suggests that EDAs contain a fallacy, by confusing two distinct forms of biological explanation – ultimate and proximate. If correct, the point is of considerable importance: evolutionary genealogies of human morality are simply irrelevant for debunking. But we argue that the actual situation is subtler: while ultimate claims do not strictly entail proximate ones, there are important evidential (...)
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  45. Teleology and the Meaning of Life.Osamu Kiritani - 2012 - Journal of Mind and Behavior 33 (1-2):97-102.
    The “units of selection” debate in philosophy of biology addresses which entity benefits from natural selection. Nanay has tried to explain why we are obsessed with the question about the meaning of life, using the notion of group selection, although he is skeptical about answering the question from a biological point of view. The aim of this paper is to give a biological explanation to the meaning of life. I argue that the meaning of life is survival (...)
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  46. Adaptive Speciation: The Role of Natural Selection in Mechanisms of Geographic and Non-Geographic Speciation.Jason M. Byron - 2005 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 36 (2):303-326.
    Recent discussion of mechanism has suggested new approaches to several issues in the philosophy of science, including theory structure, causal explanation, and reductionism. Here, I apply what I take to be the fruits of the 'new mechanical philosophy' to an analysis of a contemporary debate in evolutionary biology about the role of natural selection in speciation. Traditional accounts of that debate focus on the geographic context of genetic divergence--namely, whether divergence in the absence of geographic isolation is possible (or (...)
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  47.  63
    Nicolai Hartmann and the Metaphysical Foundation of Phylogenetic Systematics.Frederic Tremblay - 2013 - Biological Theory 7 (1):56-68.
    When developing phylogenetic systematics, the entomologist Willi Hennig adopted elements from Nicolai Hartmann’s ontology. In this historical essay I take on the task of documenting this adoption. I argue that in order to build a metaphysical foundation for phylogenetic systematics, Hennig adopted from Hartmann four main metaphysical theses. These are (1) that what is real is what is temporal; (2) that the criterion of individuality is to have duration; (3) that species are supra-individuals; and (4) that there are levels of (...)
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  48. A Biological Account of Design in Nature.Attila Grandpierre - 2012 - In Swan Liz, Gordon Richard & Seckbach Joseph (eds.), Origin of Design in Nature.
    We consider first the most fundamental „design in Nature”, the explanatory structure of the Universe on the basis of the natural sciences, and the related problem of teleology in Nature. We point out that it is necessary to generalize the presently used explanatory scheme of physics. We derive here the first essentially complete scientific world picture, and obtain new insights answering to the problem of cosmic design. Considering some important objections against teleology, we present counter-arguments, give a new classification of (...)
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  49. Eight Other Questions About Explanation.Angela Potochnik - 2018 - In Alexander Reutlinger & Juha Saatsi (eds.), Explanation Beyond Causation: Philosophical Perspectives on Non-Causal Explanations. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    The tremendous philosophical focus on how to characterize explanatory metaphysical dependence has eclipsed a number of other unresolved issued about scientific explanation. The purpose of this paper is taxonomical. I will outline a number of other questions about the nature of explanation and its role in science—eight, to be precise—and argue that each is independent. All of these topics have received some philosophical attention, but none nearly so much as it deserves. Furthermore, existing views on these topics have (...)
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  50. Does IBE Require a ‘Model’ of Explanation?Frank Cabrera - 2017 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 71 (2):727-750.
    In this article, I consider an important challenge to the popular theory of scientific inference commonly known as ‘inference to the best explanation’, one that has received scant attention.1 1 The problem is that there exists a wide array of rival models of explanation, thus leaving IBE objectionably indeterminate. First, I briefly introduce IBE. Then, I motivate the problem and offer three potential solutions, the most plausible of which is to adopt a kind of pluralism about the rival (...)
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