Explanation in biology has long been characterized as being very different from explanation in other scientific disciplines, very much so from explanation in physics. One of the reasons was the existence in biology of explanation types that were unheard of in the physical sciences: teleological explanations (e.g. Hull 1974), evolutionary explanations (e.g. Mayr 1988), or even functional explanations (e.g. Neander 1991). More recently, and owing much to the rise of molecular biology, biological explanations have been depicted as mechanisms (e.g; Machamer, (...) Darden and Craver 2000). The aim of this volume is to shed some new light on the diversity of explanation types in biology. What are the different types of explanation that occur in biology? Are these types of explanation specific to particular sub-disciplines of biology, or to particular types of problems across biology? How do they relate to each another? Do they compete with one another for answering the same questions? Or do they complement each other, providing insights to different questions? What are the reasons for such diversity? Can this diversity be overcome by a broader unifying model of explanation or is it more profound and irreducible? Why? This volume aims at making sense of this diversity of types of explanations that are found in biology, of their relationship with one another. After all, explanation in biology may prove not only different from explanation in the physical sciences, but also much more diverse than originally anticipated. (shrink)
Dans Science, Perception and Reality, Sellars distingue l’image manifeste de l’homme et l’image scientifique de l’homme. La première est obtenue à partir de la façon dont nous prenons conscience de nous-mêmes comme humains dans le monde. La seconde correspond à ce que les différentes sciences nous amènent à postuler sur la manière dont l’homme est constitué. Van Fraassen, lui, étend au monde ces concepts...
Throughout the biological and biomedical sciences there is a growing need for, prescriptive ‘minimum information’ (MI) checklists specifying the key information to include when reporting experimental results are beginning to find favor with experimentalists, analysts, publishers and funders alike. Such checklists aim to ensure that methods, data, analyses and results are described to a level sufficient to support the unambiguous interpretation, sophisticated search, reanalysis and experimental corroboration and reuse of data sets, facilitating the extraction of maximum value from data sets (...) them. However, such ‘minimum information’ MI checklists are usually developed independently by groups working within representatives of particular biologically- or technologically-delineated domains. Consequently, an overview of the full range of checklists can be difficult to establish without intensive searching, and even tracking thetheir individual evolution of single checklists may be a non-trivial exercise. Checklists are also inevitably partially redundant when measured one against another, and where they overlap is far from straightforward. Furthermore, conflicts in scope and arbitrary decisions on wording and sub-structuring make integration difficult. This presents inhibit their use in combination. Overall, these issues present significant difficulties for the users of checklists, especially those in areas such as systems biology, who routinely combine information from multiple biological domains and technology platforms. To address all of the above, we present MIBBI (Minimum Information for Biological and Biomedical Investigations); a web-based communal resource for such checklists, designed to act as a ‘one-stop shop’ for those exploring the range of extant checklist projects, and to foster collaborative, integrative development and ultimately promote gradual integration of checklists. (shrink)
Blood coagulation is regulated through a complex network of biochemical reactions of blood factors. The main acting enzyme is thrombin whose propagation in blood plasma leads to fibrin clot formation. Spontaneous clot formation is normally controlled through the action of different plasma inhibitors, in particular, through the thrombin binding by antithrombin. In the current study we develop a mathematical model of clot formation both in quiescent plasma and in blood flow and determine the analytical conditions on the antithrombin concentration corresponding (...) to different regimes of blood coagulation. (shrink)
This work presents a mathematical model describing the interactions between the cross-shore structure of small pelagic fish population an their exploitation by coastal and offshore fisheries. The complete model is a system of seven ODE’s governing three stocks of small pelagic fish population moving and growing between three zones. Two types of fishing fleets are inter-acting with the fish population, industrial boats, constrained to offshore area, and artisanal boats, operating from the shore. Two time scales were considered and we use (...) aggregation methods that allow us to reduce the dimension of the model and to obtain an aggregated model, which is a four dimension one. The analysis of the aggregated model is performed. We discuss the possible equilibriums and their meaning in terms of fishery management. An interesting equilibrium state can be obtained for which we can expect coexistence and a stable equilibrium state between fish stocks and fishing efforts. Some identification parameters are also given in the discussion part of the model. (shrink)
We investigate a system of two species exploiting a common resource. We consider both abiotic and biotic resources. We are interested in the asymmetric competition where a given consumer is the locally superior resource exploiter and the other is the locally inferior resource exploiter. They also interact directly via interference competition in the sense that LIE individuals can use two opposite strategies to compete with LSE individuals: we assume, in the first case, that LIE uses an avoiding strategy, i.e. LIE (...) individuals go to a non-competition patch to avoids competition with LSE individuals, and in the second one, LIE uses an aggressive strategy, i.e. being very aggressive so that LSE individuals have to go to a non-competition patch. We further assume that there is no resource in the non-competition patch so that individuals have to come back to the competition patch for their maintenance, and the migration process acts on a fast time scale in comparison with demography and competition processes. The models show that being aggressive is efficient for LIE’s survival and even provoke global extinction of the LSE and this result does not depend on the nature of resource. (shrink)
The French school of theoretical biology has been mainly initiated in Poitiers during the sixties by scientists like J. Besson, G. Bouligand, P. Gavaudan, M. P. Schützenberger and R. Thom, launching many new research domains on the fractal dimension, the combinatorial properties of the genetic code and related amino-acids as well as on the genetic regulation of the biological processes. Presently, the biological science knows that RNA molecules are often involved in the regulation of complex genetic networks as effectors, e.g., (...) activators, inhibitors or hybrids. Examples of such networks will be given showing that there exist RNA “relics” that have played an important role during evolution and have survived in many genomes, whose probability distribution of their sub-sequences is quantified by the Shannon entropy, and the robustness of the dynamics of the networks they regulate can be characterized by the Kolmogorov–Sinaï dynamic entropy and attractor entropy. (shrink)
Developing earlier studies of the system of numbers in Mundurucu, this paper argues that the Mundurucu numeral system is far more complex than usually assumed. The Mundurucu numeral system provides indirect but insightful arguments for a modular approach to numbers and numerals. It is argued that distinct components must be distinguished, such as a system of representation of numbers in the format of internal magnitudes, a system of representation for individuals and sets, and one-to-one correspondences between the numerosity expressed by (...) the number and its metrics. It is shown that while many-number systems involve a compositionality of units, sets and sets composed of units, few-number languages, such as Mundurucu, do not have access to sets composed of units in the usual way. The nonconfigurational character of the Mundurucu language, which is related to a property for which we coin the term 'low compositionality power', accounts for this and explains the curious fact that Mundurucus make use of marked one-to-one correspondence strategies in order to overcome the limitations of the core system at the perceptual/motor interface of the language faculty. We develop an analysis of a particular construction, parallel numbers, which has not been studied before, elucidating the whole system. This analysis, we argue, sheds new light on classical philosophical, psychological and linguistic debates about numbers and numerals and their relation to language, and more particularly, sheds light on few-number languages. (shrink)
Limitations of antiarrhythmic drugs on cardiac sudden death prevention appeared since the early 80's. The "Cardiac Arrhythmia Suppression Trial"(CAST) showed more recently that mortality was significantly higher inpatients treated with some particular antiarrhythmic drugs than in non-treated patients. In this field, our group recently demonstrated that a bolus of a Class 1B antiarrhythmic drug was able to trigger a ventricular fibrillation due to transient blocks induction. The aim of the present work was to systematically study, by use of the van (...) Capelle and Durrer (VCD) model which allows to simulate ventricular activation wave propagation, the link between arrhythmogenic effects and the ability of transient blocks to possibly degenerate in severe arrhythmias. A fragment of the ventricular wall is represented by an array of 16384elements electrically coupled. Effects of induction of one or several transient blocks, as the effects of their size and duration on possible induction of reentries have been studied. Results obtained show that various combinations between these different parameters may trigger reentries, ventricular tachycardia and/or more complex patterns assimilable to ventricular fibrillation. These results clearly evidence the fact that possible induction of transient blocks may directly be related to risk factor associated to arrhythmogenic effects of antiarrhythmic drugs. (shrink)
The aim of this work was to compare experimental investigations on effects of lidocaine, calcium and, BRL 34915 on reentries to simulated data obtained by use of a model of propagation based on the Huygens' constriction method already described in previous works. Calcium and lidocaine effects are investigated on anisotropic conduction conditions. In both cases, reduction in conduction velocities are observed. In lidocaine case, a refractory area is located along the longitudinal axis. In agreement with experimental electrical mapping, the simulations (...) show that the stabilization of reentrant excitation is mainly due to the existence of this refractory area around which the reentrant circuit can develop. The experimental study shows that BRL 34915 has both arrhythmogenic and antiarrhythmic effects. A detailed electrophysiological analysis has shown that drug infusion act on normal cardiac cells by decreasing the relative and absolute refractory period. BRL 34915 action is simulated by a decrease in the refractory period showing that the time frequency of the reentrant activity is increased and that the spatial size where the reentry is developing is becoming smaller. These two effects are arrhythmogenic, the simulated data being so in good agreement with the experimental ones. (shrink)
The present work is aimed at investigating the effects of myocardial infarction and ischemia on induction of ventricular fibrillation. Electrophysiologic effects of global and local ischemia (variation of the dispersion of refractory periods as well as conduction velocity) on initiation of reentry mechanisms was studied by means of computer simulations based on a cellular automata model of propagation of activation wave through a ventricular surface element. A local area of ischemia where effects of the dispersion of refractory periods are investigated (...) is then simulated. This is made using a Gaussian distribution characterized by its mean and standard deviation. These simulations show that ischemia is capable of initiating reentry phenomena which propagate through the whole ventricle; they are responsible for ventricular fibrillation which causes sudden cardiac death, even when ischemia only involves limited parts of the myocardium. Statistical study of the probability of reentries as a function of both of the size of ischemic zones and the rate of dispersion of refractory periods shows that the latter parameter is of primary importance in triggering cardiac reentries. (shrink)
L’ouvrage de Heinz Heimsoeth, publié pour la première fois en 1922, contient un panorama quasiment exclusif de tout ce qui a pu être dit et pensé en Occident sur Dieu, le monde et l’homme entre l’Antiquité et les Temps Modernes. Ce livre sans précédent est un défi lancé aux historiens de la philosophie. Ce qu’il met en question n’est rien de moins que l’idée qu’on se fait généralement des prétendues césures ou révolutions qui jalonneraient l’histoire de la philosophie : le (...) passage obligé par la « Renaissance », de l’Antiquité au Moyen Âge et du Moyen Âge aux Temps modernes.La thèse principale de l’auteur est que l’historiographie officielle, en privilégiant l’apport initial de la philosophie grecque, sa christianisation par les grandes sysnthèses médiévales, au premier rang desquelles celle de Thomas d’Aquin, puis sa redécouverte sous une forme romanisée par la « Renaissance » italienne, manque la richesse et la fécondité des impulsions venues d’ailleurs.Car il existe une autre métaphysique, dont Heimsoeth relève soigneusement les jalons : Augustin, certains Père de l’Église, l’École de Saint-Victor, l’École franscaine puis et avant tout la « Métaphysique rhénane » , Duns Scot et le nominalisme de Guillaume d’Occam par ailleurs. (shrink)
JEAN-PIERRE CLERO, LYNDA LOTTE. — Lacan est mort il y a un peu plus de vingt ans, en 1981 ; il semble que sa présence, pour ne pas dire son règne, n’ait jamais été aussi éclatante. Il faut toutefois se méfier de ce qui paraît évident et peut-être y a-t-il eu de profonds changements au cours de ces deux dernières décennies où son œuvre est apparue..
After reviewing the literature on current knowledge about consciousness in humans, we present a state-of-the art discussion on consciousness and related key concepts in animals. Obviously much fewer publications are available on non-human species than on humans, most of them relating to laboratory or wild animal species, and only few to livestock species. Human consciousness is by definition subjective and private. Animal consciousness is usually assessed through behavioural performance. Behaviour involves a wide array of cognitive processes that have to be (...) assessed separately using specific experimental protocols. Accordingly, several processes indicative of the presence of consciousness are discussed: perception and cognition, awareness of the bodily-self, self-related knowledge of the environment (including social environment). When available, specific examples are given in livestock species. Next, we review the existing evidence regarding neuronal correlates of consciousness, and emphasize the difficulty of linking aspects of consciousness to specific neural structures across the phyla because high-level cognitive abilities may have evolved independently along evolution. Several mammalian brain structures (cortex and midbrain) are involved in the manifestations of consciousness, while the equivalent functional structures for birds and fishes would likely be the pallium/tectum and midbrain. Caution is required before excluding consciousness in species not having the same brain structures as the mammalian ones as different neural architectures may mediate comparable processes. Finally, specific neurophysiological mechanisms appear to be strongly linked to the emergence of consciousness, namely neural synchrony and neural feedback. Considering the limited amount of data available and the few animal species studied so far, we conclude that different manifestations of consciousness can be observed in animals but that further refinement is still needed to characterize their level and content in each species. Further research is required to clarify these issues, especially in livestock species. (shrink)