The Downs and Ups of Mechanistic Research: Circadian Rhythm Research as an Exemplar
- William Bechtel
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In the context of mechanistic explanation, reductionistic research pursues a decomposition of complex systems into their component parts and operations. Using research on the mechanisms responsible for circadian rhythms, I consider both the gains that have been made by discovering genes and proteins that figure in these intracellular oscillators and also highlight the increasingly recognized need to understand higher-level integration, both between cells in the central oscillator and between the central and peripheral oscillators. This history illustrates a common need to complement reductionistic inquiry with investigations at higher-levels. Unlike most other accounts of reduction, the mechanistic framework accommodates this complementary relationship between reductionistic and systems approaches.
- The Downs and Ups of Mechanistic Research: Circadian Rhythm Research as an Exemplar
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- Available under Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Volume 73, Issue 3 , pp 313-328
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- Springer Netherlands
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- William Bechtel (1)
- Author Affiliations
- 1. Department of Philosophy, Center for Chronobiology, and Interdisciplinary Programs in Science Studies and Cognitive Science, University of California, San Diego, CA, USA