An Introduction to the Study of Experimental Medicine (Dover Books on Biology)
Clear and penetrating presentation of the basic principles of scientific research from the great French physiologist whose contributions in the 19th century included the discovery of vasomotor nerves; nature of curare and other poisons in human body; functions of pancreatic juice in digestion; elucidation of glycogenic function of the liver. Seller Inventory AAC More information about this seller Contact this seller. Seller Inventory Seller Inventory BTE Book Description Condition: New. Brand new book, sourced directly from publisher. Dispatch time is working days from our warehouse.
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Buy New View Book. About AbeBooks. Other Popular Editions of the Same Title. Type-type reduction yields a bold version of epistemic reductionism where higher level concepts and knowledge about higher level phenomena could be immediately reduced to molecular notions. Yet Fodor argues that type-type reduction regarding mental and social kinds in particular is empirically false. Some laws or principles might be of a more complex logical form. As a matter of fact, a higher level kind is often realized by several different kinds on the physical level; different instances of the higher level kind are of a different type on the molecular level.
If kind S is realized by the lower level kinds M 1 , M 2 , …, M i , the bridge principle reduction function is of a disjunctive form:. T is likewise multiply realized, say by the molecular kinds N 1 , N 2 , …, N j. This disjunctive statement has the appearance of being a gerrymandered combination rather than a genuine law. Therefore, the higher level law cannot be reduced to a unified lower level law. Token-token reduction obtains, but since the natural kinds to which laws apply of the higher level science cross-cut the kinds of the lower level science, type-type reduction fails and the law-based explanation from the higher level cannot be replaced by a unified law-based explanation on the lower level.
Steven Kimbrough argues that this situation also applies to the relation between classical and molecular genetics: ontological token-token reduction is possible, but not epistemic type-type reduction.
The multiple realizability of higher level kinds is typically viewed as an obstacle to reduction e. Higher level facts supervene on physical facts if any difference between two higher level situations implies a difference in the physical basis. Yet this is consistent with two distinct physical situations corresponding to the same higher level state many-one. Since biological properties such as fitness supervene on physical properties, fitness can be nothing more than a combination of physical properties, even though no such property complex is necessary for having a particular fitness value.
Higher level theories abstract away from irrelevant variation in lower level features and thereby arrive at generalizations that are explanatory precisely because they do not include features irrelevant to explaining the phenomenon Putnam , Strevens From this perspective, theory reduction of classical to molecular genetics is impossible as the many—many relations between classical and molecular kinds make any reductive account radically disjunctive.
At the same time, the notion of supervenience implies that classical and molecular genetics are not incommensurable, and that molecular genetics can shed light on the exceptions of classical genetics. A related critique of reductionism in genetics is due to Philip Kitcher It is not that the complexities of any reduction due to many-one relations between molecular and higher level kinds exceed our cognitive capacities.
Rather, the reductive, molecular account does not adequately explain because it does not involve the natural kinds that underlie the appropriate causal relations. Principles of classical genetics e. Rephrasing these cellular processes in molecular terms leads to an account that mentions various disjunctive combinations of molecular kinds, while failing to exhibit the unified kinds that are the causes of the cellular process. This is true but fails to address the core issue. Critics of reductionism do not argue that each higher level type corresponds to several lower level tokens which is trivially true or that molecular biology can study token phenomena only.
Rather, the point is that a higher level type corresponds to several lower level types , and for each of these lower level kinds a distinct molecular account obtains. Thus, a unified as opposed to disjunctive causal explanation of the higher level phenomenon appears impossible. In some cases, disjunctive explanations at a lower level seem to explain better than unified explanations at higher levels. Elliott Sober extends this line of argument: an explanation in terms of higher level kinds can be more unified or general by encompassing heterogeneous lower level kinds, but this same heterogeneity exhibits important differences in scientifically interesting properties.
Only the lower level science can account for such differences and therefore, in this sense, offers a deeper explanation than the higher level science. Explanations are not better or worse along a one-dimensional scale. There are several epistemic virtues an explanation can possess, such as generality, depth, or specificity. Sometimes a lower level explanation is better relative to one epistemic virtue, while a higher level explanation is preferable relative to another, such as unification.
And unification itself can be explicated differently in terms of functional or structural features of biological systems see, e. Many contemporary accounts of explanatory reduction focus on mechanisms and the study of model organisms. One reply to the multiple realization objection from this perspective argues explicitly for token-token reduction, discussing how the causal description of a token mechanism explains Delehanty However, this stratagem ignores the key point of contention because token-token reduction is uncontroversial. The focus on token phenomena or individual organisms fails to address an important epistemological feature of scientific knowledge: explanations often cover types of phenomena.
In many biological contexts, such as developmental biology , the intellectual aim is to explain phenomena instantiated in many organisms and the use of model organisms is predicated on this aim. Explaining development—as understood by many developmental biologists—means to have an account of ontogeny exhibited by individual organisms belonging to a larger group e.
Reductionism in Biology
As the same morphological structure may develop in different species by means of different processes and based on the action of different genes, multiple realization obtains and is relevant for such explanations Laubichler and Wagner Moreover, even if the aim is to explain a feature of a single organism, it does not follow that an explanation should appeal exclusively to factors on the lowest level.
An explanation should only include factors that are explanatorily relevant; an irrelevant factor is one whose omission from or modification in the explanation does not prevent the explanandum from following Strevens This also holds for mechanistic explanation, which should cite those features as components of a mechanism whose modification would make a causal difference to the explanandum phenomenon Craver For instance, chromosomes are relevant parts of the mechanisms needed to explain Mendelian patterns of inheritance Darden , but this particular explanation will apply regardless of the lower level, molecular composition of the chromosomes e.
In the context of developmental biology, even during the development of a single organism, a structure may be present across time and have a stable developmental-functional role, but its underlying molecular and cellular basis may change Brigandt , Kirschner Entities above the molecular level can be more robust so that when some molecular processes change or break down these higher level entities are not modified or removed.
Knocking out a gene need not have any impact on ontogeny due to genetic redundancy, while eliminating a particular cell or group of cells may dramatically interfere with normal development Brigandt a, , Mitchell A higher level causal connection can be more salient in that the regular operation of the mechanism strongly depends on the presence of this kind of causal relation. Such a higher level causal relation is realized by molecular entities and their interactions i.
This is one reason why some biological sciences preferentially invoke higher level entities and processes in the face of multiple realization, explaining in terms of higher level natural kinds and causes.
In summary, the level s of organization a successful explanation addresses often depends on the particular explanandum. If the aim is to explain a type of phenomenon, multiple realization issues many-one relations are likely pertinent. In the explanation of a token phenomenon, the explanation should include lower level factors only to the extent that they are explanatorily relevant for that particular explanandum.
Every reductive explanation in science involves representations of the systems or features to be related by reduction. Note that this is not the question of how theory structure is represented; see, e. Almost all of the discussion surrounding one-many Section 4. Whether or not there are one-many or many-one relations between different hierarchical levels turns on the nature of the hierarchy invoked and how it is characterized. The decomposition of a system is not a univocal enterprise and, depending on the principles utilized, can generate both competing and complementary sets of part representations from the same system Craver , Kauffman , Wimsatt , Winther Certain governing principles are often visible, such as functional versus structural decompositions Bechtel and Richardson , Winther Therefore, prior to determinations of whether reductive explanations succeed or fail, questions of representational choice and adequacy need to be addressed explicitly.
These representational issues are not idle with respect to differing explanations, both past and present, because the same line of argument about the non-independence of organismal parts constituted reasons for treating the organism from a non-reductionist standpoint Aristotle, Parts of Animals II. Individuation of parts and their explanatory relationship to wholes is critically dependent on the principles utilized in representing them Love Wimsatt , , , has claimed that reduction and emergence are compatible within the context of explaining organizational complexity in living systems, going so far as to argue that reductionist methodology can identify emergence when specific conditions of aggregativity are delineated.
In most discussions of epistemic reduction, both theoretical and explanatory, no explicit distinction has been drawn between constitutional or spatial relations arrangements and causal or temporal relations dynamics; but see Mitchell , One source of the focus on spatial relations is the objection to reductionism from structural organization Polanyi ; cf. Delehanty , Frost-Arnold , Schaffner , ch.
Kellert , Nagel presciently recognized differences between spatial and temporal organization in his discussion of teleological explanation in part because he was reading the literature on explaining ontogeny by theoretical biologists; see Section 2. What this distinction misses is the possibility of diachronic aspects of part-whole or interlevel relations. Scientific explanations commonly invoke dynamic causal processes involving entities on several levels of organization Craver and Bechtel This is one of the core reasons why development is a persisting biological topic for reductionism.
During ontogeny there are causal interactions over time among parts and activities both homogeneous and heterogeneous to bring about new parts and activities both homogeneous and heterogeneous , eventually generating an integrated adult whole organism. For example, a study of the developmental origin of aortic arch asymmetry involves a mixture of reductionist and non-reductionist representations according to the criterion of temporality Yashiro et al. The explanation depicts several events in a sequential process. First, fundamental level properties gene expression change non-fundamental level properties arterial structure , which alters blood flow dynamics thereby fulfilling the temporality condition.
These new dynamics induce a subsequent change in gene expression thereby violating the temporality condition. This altered gene expression then produces the non-fundamental property of interest, aortic arch asymmetry thereby fulfilling the temporality condition.
Thus, depending on how time is represented and which temporal partitions are utilized, an explanation may be reductive, non-reductive, or both. This is a good example of how ontological and epistemic reduction can yield strikingly different answers. A biologist using a higher level feature at an earlier time to explain a lower level feature at a later time a non-reductionist explanation by the criterion of temporality is not denying that this higher level feature is composed of lower level features e.
Functional proteins are folded structures composed of amino acid components linked together into a linear chain. If we ask whether the folded protein is mereologically composed of its amino acid parts given current representations in molecular biology, then the affirmative answer seems to favor explanatory reduction with respect to the spatial hierarchy.
But if we ask whether the linear amino acid chain folds into a functional protein a causal process with a temporal dimension purely as consequence of its linked amino acid parts, then the answer is less clear. Empirical studies have discerned a necessary role for other folded proteins to assist in the proper folding of newly generated linear amino acid chains Frydman That the linked amino acid components alone are insufficient causally, even if they are sufficient constitutionally, allows for a more explicit appreciation of the significance of temporality and dynamics Mitchell , especially because the relations of interest concern only molecular biological phenomena as opposed to higher levels of organization, such as cells or anatomy.
A final representational feature is intrinsicality, i. Wimsatt drew attention to the fact that every investigation must divide a system from its environment and that methodological reductionism favors attributions of causal responsibility to internal parts of a system rather than those deemed external see also Wilson In the protein folding case, it appears that the failure of temporally indexed explanatory reduction involves the causal powers of something extrinsic to an instance of the process under scrutiny i.
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Overall, this line of thought relates to the context-dependency objection Section 4. Once we incorporate distinctions about different types of reduction ontological, epistemic, and methodological , the different interpretations of these types e. The multiplicity and heterogeneity of biological subdisciplines only reinforces this argument and suggests to some that we should move beyond reductionism entirely.
Much of the past discussion about reduction presupposes a unitary view of the scientific enterprise that involves a close relation between natural kinds, laws, counterfactual dependence, explanation, and confirmation Godfrey-Smith One of the ubiquitous features of modern biology that is prima facie incompatible with many methodological and epistemological reductionist theses is the proliferation and flourishing of diverse biological subdisciplines, molecular and otherwise.
Lindley Darden and Nancy Maull were at the forefront of this discussion with the concept of an inter-field theory Darden and Maull , Maull For example, the advent of the chromosome theory of inheritance in the s bridged the previously unrelated fields of Mendelian genetics which studied phenotypic patterns of inheritance across generations and cytology which dealt with the material contents of cells. This interfield theory effected a kind of unification, but Mendelian genetics and cytology were not reduced to each other, nor did the interfield theory reduce both fields.
More recent work has articulated interfield relations without relying on the notion of a theory Bechtel , Burian , Grantham a, b, Mitchell This parallels the trend in models of explanatory reduction of moving away from theories as the only epistemic units of interest Section 3. In this context, Alan Love , , uses the notion of a problem agenda to argue that some scientific problems not only motivate interdisciplinary research but also provide structure for the requisite intellectual coordination see also Brigandt , , Brigandt and Love Problem agendas consist of numerous component questions that stand in systematic relations and are tied to associated standards of explanatory adequacy.
These standards imply what epistemic resources and different disciplines are needed to address the problem. The relations among component questions of the problem agenda i. Building on this perspective, Ingo Brigandt suggests that there is no single, linear hierarchy among scientific fields e. These philosophical accounts align with general research on interdisciplinarity, which has identified the presence and articulation of a complex question as a prerequisite Repko , Szostak , Thus, instead of unification being a regulative ideal with biologists seeking as much unity as possible in their explanations of the complex natural world e.
Many philosophers view experimental biology as fundamentally concerned with the discovery of mechanisms Craver and Darden , Darden and Craver , Tabery , where mechanisms are understood as akin though not equivalent to machines with interconnected, organized parts operating to produce regular or expected outcomes. Conceiving of biological explanation in terms of mechanisms provides a philosophical framework that closely tracks biological practice and does not rely on the notion of a theory.
Besides providing new models for explanatory reduction Section 3. Darden argues that both reduction and replacement fail to capture the relations between classical and molecular genetics. Both fields deal with different mechanisms that occur at different periods of the cell cycle and involve different working entities: classical genetics focuses on meiosis and involves chromosomal behavior; molecular genetics focuses on gene expression and involves various molecular entities such as nucleotide sequences.
Relations between the two fields are manifested as differential attention to distinct aspects of a larger, temporally extended mechanism. The mechanisms framework has proved particularly fruitful in capturing explanations that appeal to entities at several levels of organization Darden While the cellular-molecular process of long-term potentiation is critical for memory formation, it is not merely a molecular counterpart of memory. Long-term potentiation is a lower-level component of an overall, multilevel mechanism.
Reductionist accounts have neglected the phenomenon of disciplinary integration at the same level of structural organization and invested too heavily in finished reductive explanations, ignoring the dynamic changes in research strategy that precede them Craver Sometimes progress has been achieved independently of or by abandoning reduction as an explanatory goal. This need to change strategies depending on the research context is ubiquitous in mechanistic research Bechtel , which serves as another reminder for philosophers to attend to actual scientific practice.
Even though a mechanism is temporally extended, philosophical analyses of mechanisms may not capture all aspects of temporality see Section 4. While discussions have focused on the representation of time relative to a mechanism e. Some might be better modeled using equations Bechtel , Bechtel and Abrahamsen , , Brigandt , Weber , and in other cases time might be represented independently of the mechanisms being investigated.
Complexity also has been a source for articulating non-reductionist epistemological accounts of biological reasoning Wimsatt , Hooker Sandra Mitchell , has argued that different forms of biological complexity block standard reductionist perspectives. Multiple idealized causal models must be integrated from different disciplinary approaches to adequately represent this complexity, including our uncertainty in predicting its behavior, which has implications for any social policy derived from these models.
She specifically draws attention to the phenomenon of self-organization, which refers to how system behaviors or patterns emerge from non-specific interactions among lower-level components Camazine et al. Self-organizing phenomena are also relevant to reductionism in physical science; see, e. Although decomposing a system into parts is important for claims about self-organization, there is no localization of causal responsibility to individual components Bechtel and Richardson , ch. Instead, the system behavior is a function of generic patterns of component interaction, which foregrounds how complexity emerges from dynamics rather than constitution see Section 4.
For example, gene networks and human social networks may exhibit isomorphic patterns of self-organization due to their interactive structure, which is unrelated to whether genes or humans are the components. Thus, self-organizing phenomena occupy an odd place in the reductionism discussion because even though components are used to explain the behavior of the system, it is the nature of their interactions not their specific characteristics that generate patterns of behavior.
These patterns are often referred to as emergent properties of the system see also Grantham , Mitchell The philosophical import of biological complexity is underscored by recent trends in systems biology Boogerd et al. In addition to the mathematical modeling of system-wide behavior, systems biology has a wealth of data about various molecular components of cells stemming from functional genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics, and metabolomics methods.
Downward looking strategies in systems biology attempt to analyze systemic dynamics into different components, whereas upward looking strategies aim to synthesize how the quantitative interactions among individual molecules result in higher-level behavior Green et al. Despite the focus on molecular components and their interactions, non-reductionist themes tied to complexity are motivated by non-linear interactions and feedback loops that generate emergent behaviors, distributed control, and system robustness Brigandt , Bruggeman et al.
Another distinct strand of discussion about reductionism is found in critical analyses of methodology and explanation from the perspective of feminist philosophy of science and studies of the social aspects of science e. Feminist philosophy of biology has related reductionism and pluralism to other philosophical, scientific, and social issues. One core idea in these discussions is that forms of reductionism are involved in mutually reinforcing feedback loops with other factors, such as socioeconomic status or expectations about gender Keller and Longino , Levins and Lewontin Thus, reductionism, whether ontological, epistemic, or methodological, can be understood as the manifestation of more diverse commitments e.
This line of criticism also suggests that the interrelations between reductionism in biology and the social sciences should be treated more explicitly. Elisabeth Lloyd has argued that medical research should not be restricted simply to molecular biological investigation because higher levels of social organization that are culturally sanctioned have unrecognized causal effects on health.
As the social sciences and medicine attempt to apply different life science reasoning strategies, similar philosophical issues predictably transfer, but with the potential for more socially damaging consequences. In different ways, these positions stress how the scientific investigation of biological phenomena demands diverse epistemic tools without a requirement to tie it all together into fundamental physics, macromolecular chemistry, or even molecular biology.
Thus, ontological reduction becomes more or less unhinged from epistemological reduction because there is no need to demonstrate how each and every domain of scientific inquiry is anchored in physical stuff. The plurality of biological research motivates a philosophical pluralism about biology, both in terms of the many meanings available for different methodological and epistemological types of reduction, and the need to have multiple dimensions of reductionism in order to secure empirical adequacy with respect to modeling biological phenomena Grantham , Kellert et al.
However, it is an open question whether they supplant discussions of reduction or bear some complex relation to them Craver One interpretation of some alternatives to reduction is that they are responding to the complexity of reduction that has become more apparent over the past two decades e. Thus, for example, mechanisms approaches are another way to treat the heterogeneity of explanation including reductive and non-reductive aspects , which was largely ignored in the literature on theory reduction, which assumed that a few select examples from biological research were representative.
This heterogeneity is a pervasive feature of the history of biology; philosophical alternatives to reduction are responding in part to long-standing controversies among life science investigators about the legitimacy of reductionist research strategies and modes of explanation see Section 2. The compatibility or conflict among these various alternatives and different accounts of explanation in biology is still being probed e. Arguably, discussions of reductionism in biology are becoming more rather than less philosophically interesting. This is a consequence of recognizing the diverse conceptual landscape carved out over past decades, one that is much larger than that conceived of when only Nagelian theory reduction was in view.
It also includes an acknowledgment that certain enduring biological topics like development still engender difficult questions about reductionism and new fields of inquiry reinvigorate these discussions e. Philosophers need to recognize that a criterion of adequacy on accounts of reductionism in biology involves interpreting why scientists make pronouncements about the failure of reductionism in different areas of life science see, e. There also is increasing contact between neuroscience and psychologically oriented investigations Bechtel , Boogerd et al.
A potential prospect related to the contact between molecular neurobiology and psychology is the injection of epistemic considerations into philosophy of mind discussions Godfrey-Smith More attention to issues of representation, decomposition, and temporality could alter the nature of these debates.
An Introduction to the Study of Experimental Medicine by Claude Bernard
At the same time, a more explicit evaluation of metaphysical components imported from philosophy of mind into philosophy of biology is warranted. Mediated by the work of Jaegwon Kim, Rosenberg incorporated the concept of supervenience from Davidson four decades ago Rosenberg Eronen , Sachse Discussions of the status of downward causation and realization in biological systems are relevant for a better understanding of the intersection between epistemological and metaphysical components of reduction Craver and Bechtel , Love , Robinson , Wilson and Craver For example, an interest in the context sensitivity of realization in philosophy of mind Wilson , ch.
These analyses can then be imported into biological contexts to argue for or against particular aspects of reductionism see, e. More work is needed in how to relate different kinds of hierarchies to questions of reductionism. Biological hierarchies are diverse Grene , Korn , , and some areas of biological research, such as paleontology and systematics Valentine and May , see also Grantham , a, b, , have been ignored when reductionism comes into view. Paying attention to temporality encourages the exploration of functional or control hierarchies in more detail Salthe , , Wimsatt All of these possibilities suggest more scrutiny of disciplinary heterogeneity in biological investigation relevant to reductionism.
Other topics connected to explanatory reduction and mechanisms in experimental research are cancer Bertolaso , , Bizzarri et al. Because of the diversity of explanations found in these different disciplines, the nature of scientific explanation returns with a vengeance Schaffner Although only a few reductionists demand that explanation be strictly nomological Rosenberg , Weber , the subtle interplay between explanation and reduction must be treated when ranging over diverse biological subdisciplines.
A final prospect concerns whether discussions of reduction in different sciences will interact fruitfully. For example, Sarkar has approached quantum mechanics using his account of reductionism that was forged in a biological context Jaeger and Sarkar Another area worthy of more attention is reductive explanation in chemistry, which has been ignored in large part by philosophers of biology see, e. In all these cases it seems clear that debates about reductionism in biology have not reached a denouement but rather portend vigorous philosophical discussion as the heterogeneity of issues related to its ontological, epistemological, and methodological types are brought to bear on perennial biological topics.
The task of philosophers focused on reductionism in biology will be to analyze these promiscuities of reasoning and seek to develop accounts of reduction that capture what scientists actually do and contribute to more general perspectives on biological knowledge and scientific inquiry. We appreciate the many further colleagues who gave us valuable feedback.
Introduction 2. Historical Background: Philosophical and Scientific 3. Models of Epistemic Reduction 3. Problems with Reductionism 4. Introduction Reduction reductionism encompasses several, related philosophical themes. Historical Background: Philosophical and Scientific Undoubtedly, the growth and development of molecular biology over the past half century has made reductionism in biology a central issue and DNA a household word. Models of Epistemic Reduction Most discussion in contemporary philosophy of science has centered on the issue of epistemic reduction rather than ontological or methodological reduction; see Hoyningen-Huene Various models of explanatory reduction focus on reductive explanation and differ from theory reduction which is also a kind of explanation on the deductive-nomological notion of explanation in two important ways: a Whereas theory reduction assumes that reduction is a relation between theories, models of explanatory reduction permit other features as the relata of a reductive explanation, such as fragments of a theory, generalizations of varying scope, mechanisms, and even individual facts.
Problems with Reductionism Different accounts of theory reduction and explanatory reduction face several potential problems. The contrast between structure and function is evidently a contrast between the spatial organization of anatomically distinguishable parts of an organ and the temporal or spatiotemporal organization of changes in those parts. What is investigated under each term of the contrasting pair is a mode of organization or a type of order. In the one case the organization is primarily if not exclusively a spatial one, and the object of the investigation is to ascertain the spatial distribution of organic parts and the modes of their linkage.
In the other case the organization has a temporal dimension, and the aim of the inquiry is to discover sequential and simultaneous orders of change in the spatially ordered and linked parts of organic bodies. Synchronic reduction is mereological explanation, in which the behavior of more composite items described in reduced theories is explained by derivation from the behavior of their components by the reducing theory. Thus, reduction is a form of explanation. Diachronic reduction usually involves the succession of more general theories which reduce less general ones, by showing them to be special cases which neglect some variables, fail to measure coefficients, or set parameters at restricted values.
As the history of science proceeds from the less general theory to the more general, the mechanism of progress is the reduction of theories. Rosenberg , 28 The first distinction to note is that between synchronic and diachronic conceptions of reductionism. The term reduction is often used to refer to the relation between a theory and its historical successor. My concern, on the other hand, is solely with synchronic reductionism, that is to say, with the relations between coexisting theories addressed to different levels of organization.
Future Prospects Arguably, discussions of reductionism in biology are becoming more rather than less philosophically interesting. Bibliography Allen, G. Allchin, D. Andersen, H. Solomon, J. Simon, and H. Kincaid eds. Baetu, T. Sandu, and I. Toader eds. Balzer, W. Beatty, J. Bechtel, W. Bechtel ed. Nijhoff, 3— Hooker ed. Kuipers ed. Richardson, , Discovering complexity: decomposition and localization as strategies in scientific research , Princeton: Princeton University Press; edition with a new introduction published by MIT Press.
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