Enriching the Strategies for Creating Mechanistic Explanations in Biology
- Publication Year:
- Usage 215
- Downloads 215
- PhilSci-Archive 215
- Repository URL:
- Most Recent Tweet View All Tweets
To demonstrate that a proposed mechanism could explain a phenomenon, biologists must recompose the mechanism. Traditionally they have relied on mentally rehearsing the operations, often aided by a mechanism diagram. Such a strategy has reached its limits in contemporary biology. For example, through mental rehearsal alone researchers cannot determine whether a feedback mechanism will generate sustained oscillation. Accordingly, mechanistic inclined biologists are enriching their strategies, relying on computational simulation and graph-theoretical analyses of networks. The limitations of traditional approaches and the additional strategies biologists are employing are illustrated in research on glycolytic and circadian oscillations.