PSA2016: The 25th Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association

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Causal Specificity

In recent literature, causal specificity in living systems is mainly understood as fine-tuning. I capture a different understanding of specificity in terms of directness and non-redundancy. Directness and non-redundancy are causal characteristics implied by stereochemical binding of molecules preventing other factors from binding. I show that the DNA–RNA relationship is specific both in terms of fine-tuning and direct non-redundancy, and that the different kinds of specificity are manifested at different levels of abstraction in the choice of causal variables. Based on these findings, I nuance the concept of genetic information as Crick-information.

Author Information:

Gry Oftedal    
Department of Philosophy, Classics, History of Art and Ideas
University of Oslo


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