Scientific Composition and Metaphysical Ground

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Those adopting the latter approach and hoping to view the macroscopic world as grounded in the quantum wave function face the macro-object problem. The challenge is to articulate the metaphysical relation obtaining between three-dimensional macro-objects and the wave function so that the latter may be seen in some sense as constituting the former. This paper distinguishes several strategies for doing so and defends one based on a notion of partial instantiation.

Mathematical models of cancer's dynamics and mechanistic characterizations of the role of specific mutations or pathways in generating the distinctive features of cancer cells treat cancer causation at very different levels of abstraction. There have been several more or less successful attempts to synthesize the micro- and macro- scale, with "systems" approaches to cancer. Why has this proven so difficult? How exactly do or should these theories and explanations of cancer relate to one another?

Are these different scales of analysis cases of levels of mechanism, levels of realization, or perhaps cases of potential reduction? In this talk I offer an a general account of how several examples of explanations of cancer are interrelated, drawing in part on Woodward's account of causation and causal explanation, and in part on Craver's account of levels of realization and mechanism.

In my view, there are two directions of constraint on adequate explanations; one comes from the target explananda, and another from the known mechanisms in the sense of composition. But there is a great deal of "give" between our models and mechanistic understanding. Whether we should view this as a problem depends, in my view, on what we want our models to do for us. I also consider why attempts at "systems" biology of cancer have proven so challenging. I will make some effort toward addressing more generally how this matters or should matter to cancer scientists; there are genuine debates about how to do "integrative" cancer research among cancer scientists, and thus there is an opportunity here for philosophers of science to at least clarify the terms of the debate.

Some have argued fiercely! But how good a guide is it? Not very good at all, I'll try to suggest. The suggestion will rest on three features inherent in the successful practice of our best current physical theories. These features interfere with our sustained and sincere attempts to articulate an unambiguous "metaphysics of modern science.

The third is the prevalence of effective theories. A widespread motivation for a science-based metaphysics is the idea that since metaphysics aims at getting objective truths and since science is precisely in the business of providing objective knowledge about the world, metaphysics should be very close to science, in one way or another. A naturalized approach dear to proponents of a science-based metaphysics to this question recommends looking at the actual state of science, and a commonly acknowledged feature of this state today is its disunity.

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Ken Aizawa (Author of Scientific Composition and Metaphysical Ground)

Indeed, while the philosophy of science has for a significant part of its professionalized existence waved the motley banner of the unity of science, few would deny today that the philosophical tide has clearly turned in favour of the plurality of science. For example, Aristotle 's explanation of natural properties differs from what is meant by natural properties in modern philosophical and scientific works, which can also differ from other scientific and conventional usage.

Stoicism encourages practitioners to live in accordance with nature. Pyrrhonism encourages practitioners to use the guidance of nature in decision making. The Physics from ta phusika "the natural [things]" is Aristotle 's principal work on nature.

In Physics II. For example, a rock would fall unless stopped.

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Natural things stand in contrast to artifacts, which are formed by human artifice, not because of an innate tendency. The raw materials of a bed have no tendency to become a bed. In terms of Aristotle's theory of four causes , the word natural is applied both to the innate potential of matter cause and the forms which the matter tends to become naturally. According to Leo Strauss , [3] the beginning of Western philosophy involved the "discovery or invention of nature" and the "pre-philosophical equivalent of nature" was supplied by "such notions as 'custom' or 'ways'".

In ancient Greek philosophy on the other hand, Nature or natures are ways that are "really universal" "in all times and places". What makes nature different is that it presupposes not only that not all customs and ways are equal, but also that one can "find one's bearings in the cosmos" "on the basis of inquiry" not for example on the basis of traditions or religion. To put this "discovery or invention" into the traditional terminology, what is "by nature" is contrasted to what is "by convention".

The concept of nature taken this far remains a strong tradition in modern western thinking. Science , according to Strauss' commentary of Western history is the contemplation of nature, while technology was or is an attempt to imitate it. Going further, the philosophical concept of nature or natures as a special type of causation - for example that the way particular humans are is partly caused by something called "human nature" is an essential step towards Aristotle 's teaching concerning causation , which became standard in all Western philosophy until the arrival of modern science.

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Whether it was intended or not, Aristotle's inquiries into this subject were long felt to have resolved the discussion about nature in favor of one solution. In this account, there are four different types of cause:. The formal and final cause are an essential part of Aristotle's " Metaphysics " - his attempt to go beyond nature and explain nature itself.

In practice they imply a human-like consciousness involved in the causation of all things, even things which are not man-made. Nature itself is attributed with having aims. The artificial, like the conventional therefore, is within this branch of Western thought, traditionally contrasted with the natural. Technology was contrasted with science , as mentioned above. And another essential aspect to this understanding of causation was the distinction between the accidental properties of a thing and the substance - another distinction which has lost favor in the modern era, after having long been widely accepted in medieval Europe.

To describe it another way, Aristotle treated organisms and other natural wholes as existing at a higher level than mere matter in motion. Aristotle's argument for formal and final causes is related to a doctrine about how it is possible that people know things: "If nothing exists apart from individual things, nothing will be intelligible; everything will be sensible, and there will be no knowledge of anything—unless it be maintained that sense-perception is knowledge".

Scientific Composition and Metaphysical Ground

Aristotle then, described nature or natures as follows, in a way quite different from modern science All things are said to grow which gain increase through something else by contact and organic unity or adhesion, as in the case of embryos. Organic unity differs from contact; for in the latter case there need be nothing except contact, but in both the things which form an organic unity there is some one and the same thing which produces, instead of mere contact, a unity which is organic, continuous and quantitative but not qualitative.

Again, "nature" means d the primary stuff, shapeless and unchangeable from its own potency, of which any natural object consists or from which it is produced; e. For each article consists of these "natures," the primary material persisting. It is in this sense that men call the elements of natural objects the "nature," some calling it fire, others earth or air or water, others something else similar, others some of these, and others all of them.

Again in another sense "nature" means e the substance of natural objects; as in the case of those who say that the "nature" is the primary composition of a thing, or as Empedocles says: Of nothing that exists is there nature, but only mixture and separation of what has been mixed ; nature is but a name given to these by men. Hence as regards those things which exist or are produced by nature, although that from which they naturally are produced or exist is already present, we say that they have not their nature yet unless they have their form and shape.

That which comprises both of these exists by nature; e. And nature is both the primary matter and this in two senses: either primary in relation to the thing, or primary in general; e. Indeed from this sense of "nature," by an extension of meaning, every essence in general is called "nature," because the nature of anything is a kind of essence. From what has been said, then, the primary and proper sense of "nature" is the essence of those things which contain in themselves as such a source of motion; for the matter is called "nature" because it is capable of receiving the nature, and the processes of generation and growth are called "nature" because they are motions derived from it.

And nature in this sense is the source of motion in natural objects, which is somehow inherent in them, either potentially or actually. It has been argued, as will be explained below, that this type of theory represented an oversimplifying diversion from the debates within Classical philosophy, possibly even that Aristotle saw it as a simplification or summary of the debates himself.

But in any case the theory of the four causes became a standard part of any advanced education in the Middle Ages. Vedic philosophy. Daoism Persons. Hundred Schools of Thought. Jain philosophy attempts to explain the rationale of being and existence, the nature of the Universe and its constituents , the nature of bondage and the means to achieve liberation.

They held that it was impossible to obtain knowledge of metaphysical nature or ascertain the truth value of philosophical propositions; [11] and even if knowledge was possible, it was useless and disadvantageous for final salvation. They were seen as sophists who specialized in refutation without propagating any positive doctrine of their own. In the Chandogya Upanishad , Aruni asks metaphysical questions concerning the nature of reality and truth, observes constant change, and asks if there is something that is eternal and unchanging.

The first book of Yoga Vasistha , attributed to Valmiki , presents Rama 's frustration with the nature of life, human suffering and disdain for the world. It debated not only "how does man ever learn or know, whatever he knows", but also whether the nature of all knowledge is inherently circular, whether those such as foundationalists who critique the validity of any "justified beliefs" and knowledge system make flawed presumptions of the very premises they critique, and how to correctly interpret and avoid incorrectly interpreting dharma texts such as the Vedas. Not last among Kant's concerns in these matters is the status of metaphysics as a theoretical science.

For he realises that the very nature of this discipline presents a thinker with substantial problems; a great deal of preliminary work will have to be done before a metaphysics can appear that satisfies all the demands of a real science. The Kritik der reinen Vernunft should be viewed and understood in this context:.


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In other words, the first Kritik is at least partly a work on the methodology or logic of metaphysics. Where the possibility of metaphysics as a science is concerned, Kant assigns the exact sciences the function of an exemplar; for these disciplines have long been well established on "the secure path of a science. Yet from the Kritik a different picture arises that at first glance does not seem to rhyme with the exemplary image of the exact sciences, in particular mathematics. For in the last part of this work, which deals with the transcendental doctrine of method, Kant presents an extensive comparison of the method of mathematics with that of philosophy or, as the case would have it, metaphysics.

The result of this comparison is somewhat surprising, however. For there Kant arrives at the conclusion. The philosopher should take precisely no notice of the method of the mathematician as an example. Use of the mathematical method in the field of metaphysics would only result in "houses of cards.

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