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Causation and Explanation in Phenotype Research
Causation and Explanation in Phenotype Research

Author(s): Özlem Yılmaz
Subject(s): Philosophy, Special Branches of Philosophy, Philosophy of Mind, Philosophy of Science
Published by: Институт за изследвания на обществата и знанието при БАН
Keywords: Plant Phenome; Causation; Explanation; Complexity; Interaction; Four Causes

Summary/Abstract: A phenome occurs through the many pathways of the complex net of interaction between the phenome and its environment; therefore researching and understanding how it arises requires investigation into many possible causes that are in constant interaction with each other. The most comprehensive investigations in biology are the ones in which many biologists from different sub-areas—evolutionary biology, developmental biology, molecular biology, physiology, genetics, epigenetics, ecology—have collaborated. Still, biologists do not always need to collaborate or look for the most comprehensive explanations. A more standard investigation in biology occurs within a single subarea, and uses well-defined experiments with very specific conditions. This paper is about causation and related explanation in plant phenome research and its relevance to Aristotle’s Theory of Four Causes. I argue that there are causes which resemble Aristotle’s formal, material, and efficient causes in phenotype explanation and occurrence; but causes which resemble Aristotle’s final causes occur in phenotype explanation only, not in the occurrence.

  • Issue Year: IX/2017
  • Issue No: 1
  • Page Range: 63-70
  • Page Count: 8
  • Language: English