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Standards, Aims and Values: Biological Explanation and Beyond

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  • SSHRC IG awarded 2016: where philosophy of science has traditionally construed and studied science in terms of representations of the natural world (eg: data and theories), this project will study scientists' values, explanatory and investigative aims, and methodological and explanatory standards. Analysis will be based on case studies from three biological domains: (1) In the context of systems biology, which mathematically models the operation of molecular and cellular systems, I will investigate how different models are used in a coordinated fashion. (2) In the case of the evolution of complexity, I will investigate some scientific disagreements about explanatory frameworks and standards. Models of the evolution of multicellular animals as well as multispecies microbial communities attempt to capture this complexity while still making various idealizations, and I will analyse the representational aims used to justify such simplifications. (3) While philosophers have argued that social and environmental values matter in science, I will articulate a stronger role for social values, exploring the implications for scientific objectivity, particularly with respect to feminist values, and the domains of human evolution and the social behaviour of non-human primates.

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    Research Material
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    © Brigandt, Ingo. All rights reserved other than by permission. This document embargoed to those without UAlberta CCID until 2024.