1. bookVolume 9 (2017): Issue 47 (December 2017)
Journal Details
License
Format
Journal
eISSN
2182-2875
First Published
16 Apr 2017
Publication timeframe
4 times per year
Languages
English
access type Open Access

Turing Patterns and Biological Explanation

Published Online: 16 Oct 2018
Volume & Issue: Volume 9 (2017) - Issue 47 (December 2017)
Page range: 529 - 552
Received: 05 Sep 2017
Accepted: 02 Nov 2017
Journal Details
License
Format
Journal
eISSN
2182-2875
First Published
16 Apr 2017
Publication timeframe
4 times per year
Languages
English
Abstract

Turing patterns are a class of minimal mathematical models that have been used to discover and conceptualize certain abstract features of early biological development. This paper examines a range of these minimal models in order to articulate and elaborate a philosophical analysis of their epistemic uses. It is argued that minimal mathematical models aid in structuring the epistemic practices of biology by providing precise descriptions of the quantitative relations between various features of the complex systems, generating novel predictions that can be compared with experimental data, promoting theory exploration, and acting as constitutive parts of empirically adequate explanations of naturally occurring phenomena, such as biological pattern formation. Focusing on the roles that minimal model explanations play in science motivates the adoption of a broader diachronic view of scientific explanation.

Keywords

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