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Scale-dependency and Downward Causation in Biology

Green, Sara (2017) Scale-dependency and Downward Causation in Biology. [Preprint]

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Abstract

This paper argues that scale-dependence of physical and biological processes offers resistance to reductionism and has implications that support a specific kind of downward causation. I demonstrate how insights from multiscale modeling can provide a concrete mathematical interpretation of downward causation as boundary conditions for models used to represent processes at lower scales. The autonomy and role of macroscale parameters and higher-level constraints are illustrated through examples of multiscale modeling in physics, developmental
biology, and systems biology. Drawing on these examples, I defend the explanatory
importance of constraining relations for understanding the behavior of biological systems.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Green, Sarasaraehrenreichgreen@gmail.com
Keywords: Philosophy of Biology; Downward causation; Modeling; Multi-scale modeling; Reductionism
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Biology
General Issues > Reductionism/Holism
Depositing User: Dr. Sara Green
Date Deposited: 08 Nov 2017 14:54
Last Modified: 08 Nov 2017 14:54
Item ID: 14099
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Biology
General Issues > Reductionism/Holism
Date: 2017
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/14099

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