Page 80 - MODES of EXPLANATION

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constituents, by selecting specific behaviors among a set of possible ones (cf. Mossio, Bich,
& Moreno, 2013).
“In biological systems, the constituents of the organization are the constraints
themselves, which realize collective self-maintenance. Under the constitutive
interpretation of the relation between the whole and its constituents, the organization
as such does not possess emergent and distinctive causal powers with respect to the
network of constraints which, in turn, exerts causal powers on surroundings which are
not themselves constituents of the network (although they usually are within the
spatial borders of the system). The physical processes on which the network exerts
(constraining) causal powers can, in some cases, become members of the network
itself, when they enter into configurations which act as constraints. Nonetheless, the
network would exert causal powers on them as long as they are part of its
surroundings, and it would cease acting causally on them as soon as they would start
playing the role of constraints.” (Mossio, Bich, & Moreno, 2013)
The mechanistic view of scientific realism provides a linkage to the very context dependence
that is the hallmark of constructivism.
“The fact that generalizations are mechanistically explicable helps to explain their
ceteris paribus and exception-ridden character. Mechanistically explicable
generalizations only hold true in the right context. Given violations of certain
background or boundary conditions, the mechanism will break and the regularity the
generalization describes will fail.” (Glennan, 2013)
This contingency and context dependedness also hint of a relationship to the domains of
Science 1 and Science 2:
“It is a majority view in philosophy of biology that (fundamental) physics states
universal and exceptionless laws, while the biological sciences rely on nonuniversal
and physically contingent generalizations” (Muller-Strahl, 2013)
“It has been argued that positivist and constructivist ontologies are irreconcilable.
According to Lincoln and Guba …, positivism’s ‘naive realism’ holds that reality is
both ‘real and apprehendable,’ whereas constructivism maintains that meaning is
generated by individuals and groups. This analysis implies that the quantitative and
qualitative methodologies associated with positivism and constructivism, respectively,
are also incommensurable. … The first step is to acknowledge a social world (or
worlds) that is reflected in the natural attitude of daily life and exists prior to and
independent of either positivist or constructivist analysis; hence realism. Phenomena
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