Deulofeu, Roger and Suárez, Javier and PérezCervera, Alberto (2019) Explaining the behaviour of random ecological networks. The stability of the microbiome as a case of integrative pluralism. [Preprint]
There is a more recent version of this item available. 
Text
DEUETBv2.docx  Accepted Version Download (71kB) 
Abstract
Explaining the behaviour of ecosystems is one of the key challenges for the biological sciences. Since 2000, newmechanicism has been the main model to account for the nature of scientific explanation in biology. The universality of the newmechanist view in biology has been however put into question due to the existence of explanations that account for some biological phenomena in terms of their mathematical properties (mathematical explanations). Supporters of mathematical explanation have argued that the explanation of the behaviour of ecosystems is usually provided in terms of their mathematical properties, and not in mechanistic terms. They have intensively studied the explanation of the properties of ecosystems that behave following the rules of a nonrandom network. However, no attention has been devoted to the study of the nature of the explanation in those that form a random network. In this paper, we cover that gap by analysing the explanation of the stability behaviour of the microbiome recently elaborated by Coyte and colleagues, to determine whether it fits with the model of explanation suggested by the newmechanist or by the defenders of mathematical explanation. Our analysis of this case study supports three theses: (1) that the explanation is not given solely in terms of mechanisms, as the newmechanists understand the concept; (2) that the mathematical properties that describe the system play an essential explanatory role, but they do not exhaust the explanation; (3) that a nonpreviously identified appeal to the type of interactions that the entities in the network can exhibit, as well as their abundance, is also necessary for Coyte and colleagues’ account to be fully explanatory. From the combination of these three theses we argue for the necessity of an integrative pluralist view of the nature of behaviour explanation when this is given by appealing to the existence of a random network.
Export/Citation:  EndNote  BibTeX  Dublin Core  ASCII/Text Citation (Chicago)  HTML Citation  OpenURL 
Social Networking: 
Item Type:  Preprint  

Creators: 


Keywords:  scientific explanation Mechanisms mathematical explanation Behaviour explanation Integrative pluralism Random Network  
Subjects:  Specific Sciences > Mathematics > Explanation Specific Sciences > Biology > Ecology/Conservation General Issues > Causation General Issues > Explanation 

Depositing User:  Dr Javier Suárez  
Date Deposited:  01 May 2019 13:38  
Last Modified:  01 May 2019 13:38  
Item ID:  15964  
Subjects:  Specific Sciences > Mathematics > Explanation Specific Sciences > Biology > Ecology/Conservation General Issues > Causation General Issues > Explanation 

Date:  2019  
URI:  http://philsciarchive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/15964 
Available Versions of this Item

Explaining the behaviour of random ecological networks. The stability of the microbiome as a case of integrative pluralism. (deposited 22 Mar 2019 03:00)
 Explaining the behaviour of random ecological networks. The stability of the microbiome as a case of integrative pluralism. (deposited 01 May 2019 13:38) [Currently Displayed]
Monthly Views for the past 3 years
Monthly Downloads for the past 3 years
Plum Analytics
Actions (login required)
View Item 