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  1.  34
    Ontologically simple theories do not indicate the true nature of complex biological systems: three test cases.Michael Fry - 2020 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 42 (2):1-44.
    A longstanding philosophical premise perceives simplicity as a desirable attribute of scientific theories. One of several raised justifications for this notion is that simple theories are more likely to indicate the true makeup of natural systems. Qualitatively parsimonious hypotheses and theories keep to a minimum the number of different postulated entities within a system. Formulation of such ontologically simple working hypotheses proved to be useful in the experimental probing of narrowly defined bio systems. It is less certain, however, whether qualitatively (...)
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  2.  31
    Question-driven stepwise experimental discoveries in biochemistry: two case studies.Michael Fry - 2022 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 44 (2):1-52.
    Philosophers of science diverge on the question what drives the growth of scientific knowledge. Most of the twentieth century was dominated by the notion that theories propel that growth whereas experiments play secondary roles of operating within the theoretical framework or testing theoretical predictions. New experimentalism, a school of thought pioneered by Ian Hacking in the early 1980s, challenged this view by arguing that theory-free exploratory experimentation may in many cases effectively probe nature and potentially spawn higher evidence-based theories. Because (...)
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  3.  36
    The discovery of archaea: from observed anomaly to consequential restructuring of the phylogenetic tree.Michael Fry - 2024 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 46 (2):1-38.
    Observational and experimental discoveries of new factual entities such as objects, systems, or processes, are major contributors to some advances in the life sciences. Yet, whereas discovery of theories was extensively deliberated by philosophers of science, very little philosophical attention was paid to the discovery of factual entities. This paper examines historical and philosophical aspects of the experimental discovery by Carl Woese of archaea, prokaryotes that comprise one of the three principal domains of the phylogenetic tree. Borrowing Kuhn’s terminology, this (...)
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  4.  17
    Predictive hypotheses are ineffectual in resolving complex biochemical systems.Michael Fry - 2018 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 40 (2):25.
    Scientific hypotheses may either predict particular unknown facts or accommodate previously-known data. Although affirmed predictions are intuitively more rewarding than accommodations of established facts, opinions divide whether predictive hypotheses are also epistemically superior to accommodation hypotheses. This paper examines the contribution of predictive hypotheses to discoveries of several bio-molecular systems. Having all the necessary elements of the system known beforehand, an abstract predictive hypothesis of semiconservative mode of DNA replication was successfully affirmed. However, in defining the genetic code whose biochemical (...)
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  5.  11
    Adam Smith's Legacy: His Place in the Development of Modern Economics.Michael Fry (ed.) - 1992 - Routledge.
    First published in 1992. Routledge is an imprint of Taylor & Francis, an informa company.
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