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Philosophy Of Cancer

Author: Marta Bertolaso
Publisher: Springer
ISBN: 9402408657
Size: 60.14 MB
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Since the 1970s, the origin of cancer is being explored from the point of view of the Somatic Mutation Theory (SMT), focusing on genetic mutations and clonal expansion of somatic cells. As cancer research expanded in several directions, the dominant focus on cells remained steady, but the classes of genes and the kinds of extra-genetic factors that were shown to have causal relevance in the onset of cancer multiplied. The wild heterogeneity of cancer-related mutations and phenotypes, along with the increasing complication of models, led to an oscillation between the hectic search of ‘the’ few key factors that cause cancer and the discouragement in face of a seeming ‘endless complexity’. To tame this complexity, cancer research started to avail itself of the tools that were being developed by Systems Biology. At the same time, anti-reductionist voices began claiming that cancer research was stuck in a sterile research paradigm. This alternative discourse even gave birth to an alternative theory: the Tissue Organization Field Theory (TOFT). A deeper philosophical analysis shows limits and possibilities of reductionist and anti-reductionist positions and of their polarization. This book demonstrates that a radical philosophical reflection is necessary to drive cancer research out of its impasses. At the very least, this will be a reflection on the assumptions of different kinds of cancer research, on the implications of what cancer research has been discovering over 40 years and more, on a view of scientific practice that is most able to make sense of the cognitive and social conflicts that are seen in the scientific community (and in its results), and, finally, on the nature of living entities with which we entertain this fascinating epistemological dance that we call scientific research. The proposed Dynamic and Relational View of carcinogenesis is a starting point in all these directions.

Reductive Explanation In The Biological Sciences

Author: Marie I. Kaiser
Publisher: Springer
ISBN: 3319253107
Size: 19.94 MB
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This book develops a philosophical account that reveals the major characteristics that make an explanation in the life sciences reductive and distinguish them from non-reductive explanations. Understanding what reductive explanations are enables one to assess the conditions under which reductive explanations are adequate and thus enhances debates about explanatory reductionism. The account of reductive explanation presented in this book has three major characteristics. First, it emerges from a critical reconstruction of the explanatory practice of the life sciences itself. Second, the account is monistic since it specifies one set of criteria that apply to explanations in the life sciences in general. Finally, the account is ontic in that it traces the reductivity of an explanation back to certain relations that exist between objects in the world (such as part-whole relations and level relations), rather than to the logical relations between sentences. Beginning with a disclosure of the meta-philosophical assumptions that underlie the author’s analysis of reductive explanation, the book leads into the debate about reduction(ism) in the philosophy of biology and continues with a discussion on the two perspectives on explanatory reduction that have been proposed in the philosophy of biology so far. The author scrutinizes how the issue of reduction becomes entangled with explanation and analyzes two concepts, the concept of a biological part and the concept of a level of organization. The results of these five chapters constitute the ground on which the author bases her final chapter, developing her ontic account of reductive explanation.

Entangled Life

Author: Gillian Barker
Publisher: Springer Science & Business Media
ISBN: 9400770677
Size: 49.29 MB
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This volume explores the interactions between organisms and their environments and how this “entanglement” is a fundamental aspect of all life. It brings together the work and ideas of historians, philosophers, biologists, and social scientists, uniting a range of new perspectives, methods, and frameworks for examining and understanding the ways that organisms and environments interact. The volume is organized into three main sections: historical perspectives, contested models, and emerging frameworks. The first section explores the origins of the modern idea of organism-environment interaction in the mid-nineteenth century and its development by later psychologists and anthropologists. In the second section, a variety of controversial models—from mathematical representations of evolution to model organisms in medical research—are discussed and reframed in light of recent questions about the interplay between organisms and environment. The third section investigates several new ideas that have the potential to reshape key aspects of the biological and social sciences. Populations of organisms evolve in response to changing environments; bodies and minds depend on a wide array of circumstances for their development; cultures create complex relationships with the natural world even as they alter it irrevocably. The chapters in this volume share a commitment to unraveling the mysteries of this entangled life.

Scientific Pluralism

Author: Stephen H. Kellert
Publisher: U of Minnesota Press
ISBN: 9780816647637
Size: 35.14 MB
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Scientific pluralism is an issue at the forefront of philosophy of science. This landmark work addresses the question, Can pluralism be advanced as a general, philosophical interpretation of science? Scientific Pluralism demonstrates the viability of the view that some phenomena require multiple accounts. Pluralists observe that scientists present various—sometimes even incompatible—models of the world and argue that this is due to the complexity of the world and representational limitations. Including investigations in biology, physics, economics, psychology, and mathematics, this work provides an empirical basis for a consistent stance on pluralism and makes the case that it should change the ways that philosophers, historians, and social scientists analyze scientific knowledge. Contributors: John Bell, U of Western Ontario; Michael Dickson, U of South Carolina; Carla Fehr, Iowa State U; Ronald N. Giere, U of Minnesota; Geoffrey Hellman, U of Minnesota; Alan Richardson, U of British Columbia; C. Wade Savage, U of Minnesota; Esther-Mirjam Sent, U of Nijmegen. Stephen H. Kellert is professor of philosophy at Hamline University and a fellow of the Minnesota Center for Philosophy of Science. Helen E. Longino is professor of philosophy at Stanford University. C. Kenneth Waters is associate professor of philosophy and director of the Minnesota Center for Philosophy of Science.

Philosophy And Biodiversity

Author: Markku Oksanen
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 9781139455497
Size: 57.63 MB
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This important collection focuses on the nature and importance of biodiversity. The concept is clarified and its intrinsic and instrumental value are discussed. Even though the term biodiversity was invented in the 1980s to promote the cause of species conservation, discussions on biological diversity go back to Plato. There are many controversies surrounding biodiversity and a few of them are examined here: What is worthy of protection or restoration and what is the acceptable level of costs? Is it permissible to kill sentient animals to promote native populations? Can species be reintroduced if they have disappeared a long time ago? How should the responsibilities for biodiversity be shared? This book will be of interest to philosophers of science and biologists, but also to anyone interested in conservation and the environment.

Mechanism And Causality In Biology And Economics

Author: Hsiang-Ke Chao
Publisher: Springer Science & Business Media
ISBN: 9400724543
Size: 33.60 MB
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This volume addresses fundamental issues in the philosophy of science in the context of two most intriguing fields: biology and economics. Written by authorities and experts in the philosophy of biology and economics, Mechanism and Causality in Biology and Economics provides a structured study of the concepts of mechanism and causality in these disciplines and draws careful juxtapositions between philosophical apparatus and scientific practice. By exploring the issues that are most salient to the contemporary philosophies of biology and economics and by presenting comparative analyses, the book serves as a platform not only for gaining mutual understanding between scientists and philosophers of the life sciences and those of the social sciences, but also for sharing interdisciplinary research that combines both philosophical concepts in both fields. The book begins by defining the concepts of mechanism and causality in biology and economics, respectively. The second and third parts investigate philosophical perspectives of various causal and mechanistic issues in scientific practice in the two fields. These two sections include chapters on causal issues in the theory of evolution; experiments and scientific discovery; representation of causal relations and mechanism by models in economics. The concluding section presents interdisciplinary studies of various topics concerning extrapolation of life sciences and social sciences, including chapters on the philosophical investigation of conjoining biological and economic analyses with, respectively, demography, medicine and sociology.

Philosophy Of Experimental Biology

Author: Marcel Weber
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 9781139453912
Size: 73.66 MB
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Philosophy of Experimental Biology explores some central philosophical issues concerning scientific research in experimental biology, including genetics, biochemistry, molecular biology, developmental biology, neurobiology, and microbiology. It seeks to make sense of the explanatory strategies, concepts, ways of reasoning, approaches to discovery and problem solving, tools, models and experimental systems deployed by scientific life science researchers and also integrates developments in historical scholarship, in particular the New Experimentalism. It concludes that historical explanations of scientific change that are based on local laboratory practice need to be supplemented with an account of the epistemic norms and standards that are operative in science. This book should be of interest to philosophers and historians of science as well as to scientists.

Reasoning In Biological Discoveries

Author: Lindley Darden
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 9781139458610
Size: 64.61 MB
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Reasoning in Biological Discoveries brings together a series of essays, which focus on one of the most heavily debated topics of scientific discovery. Collected together and richly illustrated, Darden's essays represent a groundbreaking foray into one of the major problems facing scientists and philosophers of science. Divided into three sections, the essays focus on broad themes, notably historical and philosophical issues at play in discussions of biological mechanism; and the problem of developing and refining reasoning strategies, including interfield relations and anomaly resolution. Darden summarizes the philosophy of discovery and elaborates on the role that mechanisms play in biological discovery. Throughout the book, she uses historical case studies to extract advisory reasoning strategies for discovery. Examples in genetics, molecular biology, biochemistry, immunology, neuroscience and evolutionary biology reveal the process of discovery in action.

Information And Meaning In Evolutionary Processes

Author: William F. Harms
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 9781139451628
Size: 38.64 MB
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This book is intended to help transform epistemology - the traditional study of knowledge - into a rigorous discipline by removing conceptual roadblocks and developing formal tools required for a fully naturalized epistemology. The evolutionary approach which Harms favours begins with the common observation that if our senses and reasoning were not reliable, then natural selection would have eliminated them long ago. The challenge for some time has been how to transform these informal musings about evolutionary epistemology into a rigorous theoretical discipline capable of complementing current scientific studies of the evolution of cognition with a philosophically defensible account of meaning and justification.