Full Program »
Tackling complexity in a non-mechanistic fashion: spatiotemporal aspectsMechanistic explanations tend to portray biological systems as if they operate largely independently of their surroundings, and at single spatiotemporal scales. Increasingly, these assumptions are found wanting. Present-day biology, especially, contains explanations that appeal to aggregates, rather than individual components; and causal structures that operate on multiple scales at once.
We argue that these developments spell trouble for a traditional approach to biological complexity – the tendency to tackle big and complex systems in a piecemeal analytical fashion, most clearly expressed by the demand for mechanistic explanation. We then explore alternative, more holistic, approaches to studying complexity.
Philosophy & HPS
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem