Robustness, Mechanism, and the Counterfactual Attribution of Goals in Biology

In Marta Bertolaso, Silvia Caianiello & Emanuele Serrelli (eds.), Biological Robustness. Emerging Perspectives From Within the Life Sciences. Springer. pp. 55-74 (2018)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

The first part of this paper discusses two important meanings of robustness and shows their essential connection with the notion of intersubjective reproducibility. As I shall maintain, robustness in both senses of the term is intimately connected with the notion of scientific experiment. This is the important element of truth of the mechanistic systems approach, which explains events as products of robust and regular systems and processes. In the second part of this paper I shall show that the concept of robustness of a mechanism, if applied to biological systems, is one-sided and incomplete without a heuristic╦Śmethodical reference to final causes, even though the assumption of the teleological point of view is justified in biology only to the extent that we use it as a counterfactual artifice, capable of bringing to light causal relations which have a robustly reproducible content. In this way, the reflexive, typically human concept of purposefulness may be employed to investigate living beings scientifically, that is, in an intersubjectively testable and reproducible way, to discover mechanisms in living systems which are robust in both senses of the word.

Links

PhilArchive



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 83,836

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Causality, Teleology, and Thought Experiments in Biology.Marco Buzzoni - 2015 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift f├╝r Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 46 (2):279-299.
Prolegomena to a History of Robustness.Silvia Caianiello - 2018 - In Marta Bertolaso, Silvia Caianiello & Emanuele Serrelli (eds.), Biological Robustness. Emerging Perspectives From Within the Life Sciences. Springer. pp. 23-54.
Mechanisms for Robust Cognition.Matthew M. Walsh & Kevin A. Gluck - 2015 - Cognitive Science 39 (6):1131-1171.
Difference and Robustness: An Aristotelian Approach.Alfredo Marcos - 2018 - In Marta Bertolaso, Silvia Caianiello & Emanuele Serrelli (eds.), Biological Robustness. Emerging Perspectives From Within the Life Sciences. Springer. pp. 235-248.
Causal Order and Kinds of Robustness.Arnon Levy - 2017 - In Snait Gissis, Ehud Lamm & Ayelet Shavit (eds.), Landscapes of Collectivity in the Life Sciences. Cambridge, MA, USA: MIT Press. pp. 269-280.
Robustness: The Explanatory Picture.Philippe Huneman - 2018 - In Marta Bertolaso, Silvia Caianiello & Emanuele Serrelli (eds.), Biological Robustness. Emerging Perspectives From Within the Life Sciences. Springer. pp. 95-121.
The Concept of Mechanism in Biology.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):152-163.
Two Senses of Experimental Robustness: Result Robustness and Procedure Robustness.Koray Karaca - 2022 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 73 (1):279-298.

Analytics

Added to PP
2020-02-07

Downloads
1 (#1,573,626)

6 months
1 (#497,632)

Historical graph of downloads

Sorry, there are not enough data points to plot this chart.
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Citations of this work

No citations found.

Add more citations

References found in this work

No references found.

Add more references