Universität zu Köln

An Ontic Account of Explanatory Reduction in Biology

Kaiser, Marie I. (2012) An Ontic Account of Explanatory Reduction in Biology. PhD thesis, Universität zu Köln.

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    Convincing disputes about explanatory reductionism in the philosophy of biology require a clear and precise understanding of what a reductive explanation in biology is. The central aim of this book is to provide such an account by revealing the features that determine the reductive character of a biological explanation. Chapters I-IV provide the ground, on which I can then, in Chapter V, develop my own account of explanatory reduction in biology: Chapter I reveals the meta-philosophical assumptions that underlie my analysis of reduction, Chapter II introduces the previous debate about reduction(ism) in the philosophy of biology by pointing out the most crucial lessons one should learn from this debate, Chapter III critically discusses the two perspectives on explanatory reduction that have been proposed in the philosophy of biology so far, and Chapter IV clarifies in what ways the issue of reduction is entangled with the issue of explanation. In Chapter V I present my own account of explanatory reduction. My main claim is that reductive explanations in the biological sciences possess three main characteristics: they explain the behavior of a biological system S, first, exclusively in terms of factors that are located on a lower level of organization than S, second, by focusing on factors that are internal to S (i.e., that are genuine parts of S), and third, by describing the genuine parts of S only as “parts in isolation”. This account is ontic because it traces the reductivity of an explanation back to certain relations that exist in the world.

    Item Type: Thesis (PhD thesis)
    Kaiser, Marie I.kaiser.m@uni-koeln.de
    URN: urn:nbn:de:hbz:38-60218
    Subjects: Generalities, Science
    Life sciences
    Uncontrolled Keywords:
    reductive explanation, reduction, reductionism, explanation in biology, part-whole relation, system, levelsEnglish
    Faculty: Philosophische Fakultät
    Divisions: Philosophische Fakultät > Philosophisches Seminar
    Language: English
    Date: 02 May 2012
    Date Type: Publication
    Date of oral exam: 11 July 2012
    Full Text Status: Public
    Date Deposited: 25 Mar 2015 15:00:29
    NameAcademic Title
    Hüttemann, AndreasProf. Dr.
    Weber, MarcelProf. Dr.
    URI: http://kups.ub.uni-koeln.de/id/eprint/6021

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