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Reasoning in Biological Discoveries: Essays on Mechanisms, Interfield Relationships, and Anomaly Resolution

Series: Cambridge Studies in Philosophy and Biology

By: Lindley Darden

344 pages, 10 tabs

Cambridge University Press

Hardback | Sep 2006 | #161608 | ISBN: 0521858879
Availability: Usually dispatched within 6 days Details
NHBS Price: £71.99 $94/€82 approx

About this book

Reasoning in Biological Discoveries brings together a series of essays which focus on one of the most heavily debated topics of scientific discovery today. Collected together and richly illustrated for the first time in this edition, Darden's essays represent a ground-breaking foray into one of the major problems facing scientists and philosophers of science. Divided into three sections, the essays focus on broad themes, notably historical and philosophical issues at play in discussions of biological mechanism; and the problem of developing and refining reasoning strategies, including interfield relations and anomaly resolution. Published here for the first time, Darden summarizes the philosophy of discovery and elaborates on the role that mechanisms play in biological discovery. Throughout the book, she uses historical case studies to extract advisory reasoning strategies for discovery. Examples in genetics, molecular biology, biochemistry, immunology, neuroscience, and evolutionary biology reveal the process of discovery in action.

Overall, this book is useful both as an introduction to the philosophical literature on mechanisms and as an overview of the main themes in Darden's work. It is a good introduction not only because Darden's views have had such an influence on recent work on mechanisms in philosophy of science, but also because she discusses the work of other philosophers throughout the papers and in the final chapter. Robyn Bluhm, Ph.D, The University of Western Ontario, Metapsychology Online Reviews.


Part I. Biological Mechanisms: 1. Thinking about mechanisms with Peter Machamer and Carl F. Craver; 2. Discovering mechanisms in neurobiology: the case of spatial memory with Carl F. Craver; 3. Strategies in the interfield discovery of the mechanism of protein synthesis with Carl F. Craver; 4. Relations among fields: Mendelian, cytological and molecular mechanisms; Part II. Reasoning Strategies: Relating Fields, Resolving Anomalies: 5. Interfield theories with Nancy Maull; 6. Theory construction in genetics; 7. Relations among fields in the evolutionary synthesis; 8. Selection type theories with Joseph A. Cain; 9. Strategies for anomaly resolution: diagnosis and redesign; 10. Exemplars, abstractions, and anomalies: representations and theory change in Mendelian and molecular genetics; 11. Strategies for anomaly resolution in the case of adaptive mutation; Part III. Discovering Mechanisms: Construction, Evaluation, Revision: 12. Strategies for discovering mechanisms: construction, evaluation, revision.

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Lindley Darden is Professor of Philosophy and in the Committee for Philosophy and the Sciences at the University of Maryland, College Park. She is the author of Theory Change in Science: Strategies from Mendelian Genetics, as well as numerous articles in history and philosophy of science journals. Elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 1995, she served as President of the International Society for History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Biology from 2001 to 2003.

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