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Explanation of Molecular Processes Without Tracking Mechanism Operation

Brigandt, Ingo (2017) Explanation of Molecular Processes Without Tracking Mechanism Operation. [Preprint]

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Abstract

Philosophical discussions of systems biology have enriched the notion of mechanistic explanation by pointing to the role of mathematical modeling. However, such accounts still focus on explanation in terms of tracking a mechanism’s operation across time (by means of mental or computational simulation). My contention is that there are explanations of molecular systems where the explanatory understanding does not consist in tracking a mechanism’s operation and productive continuity. I make this case by a discussion of bifurcation analysis in dynamical systems, articulating the distinctive way in which explanatory understanding is provided, especially about the reversibility or irreversibility of molecular processes.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Brigandt, Ingobrigandt@ualberta.ca
Additional Information: Postprint of a paper forthcoming in Philosophy of Science
Keywords: explanation, mechanistic explanation, systems biology, mathematical models
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Biology
Specific Sciences > Biology > Molecular Biology/Genetics
General Issues > Explanation
General Issues > Models and Idealization
Depositing User: Ingo Brigandt
Date Deposited: 01 Dec 2017 21:59
Last Modified: 01 Dec 2017 21:59
Item ID: 14162
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Biology
Specific Sciences > Biology > Molecular Biology/Genetics
General Issues > Explanation
General Issues > Models and Idealization
Date: 2017
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/14162

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