Everything Flows

Towards a Processual Philosophy of Biology

by Daniel J. Nicholson, John Dupre

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Book Description

Everything Flows explores the metaphysical thesis that the living world is not made up of substantial particles or things, as has often been supposed, but is rather constituted by processes. The biological domain is organised as an interdependent hierarchy of processes, which are stabilized and actively maintained at different timescales. Even entities that intuitively appear to be paradigms of things, such as organisms, are actually better understood as processes. Unlike previous attempts to articulate processual views of biology, which have tended to use Alfred North Whitehead's panpsychist metaphysics as a foundation, this book takes a naturalistic approach to metaphysics. It submits that the main motivations for replacing an ontology of substances with one of processes are to be found in the empirical findings of science. Biology provides compelling reasons for thinking that the living realm is fundamentally dynamic, and that the existence of things is always conditional on the existence of processes. The phenomenon of life cries out for theories that prioritise processes over things, and it suggests that the central explanandum of biology is not change but rather stability, or more precisely, stability attained through constant change. This edited volume brings together philosophers of science and metaphysicians interested in exploring the prospects of a processual philosophy of biology. The contributors draw on an extremely wide range of biological case studies, and employ a process perspective to cast new light on a number of traditional philosophical problems, such as identity, persistence, and individuality.

This open book is licensed under a Creative Commons License (CC BY-NC-ND). You can download Everything Flows ebook for free in PDF format (23.2 MB).

Table of Contents

Chapter 1
A Manifesto for a Processual Philosophy of Biology
Chapter 2
Processes and Precipitates
Chapter 3
Dispositionalism: A Dynamic Theory of Causation
Chapter 4
Biological Processes: Criteria of Identity and Persistence
Chapter 5
Genidentity and Biological Processes
Chapter 6
Ontological Tools for the Process Turn in Biology: Some Basic Notions of General Process Theory
Chapter 7
Reconceptualizing the Organism: From Complex Machine to Flowing Stream
Chapter 8
Objectcy and Agency: Towards a Methodological Vitalism
Chapter 9
Symbiosis, Transient Biological Individuality, and Evolutionary Processes
Chapter 10
From Organizations of Processes to Organisms and Other Biological Individuals
Chapter 11
Developmental Systems Theory as a Process Theory
Chapter 12
Waddington's Processual Epigenetics and the Debate over Cryptic Variability
Chapter 13
Capturing Processes: The Interplay of Modelling Strategies and Conceptual Understanding in Developmental Biology
Chapter 14
Intersecting Processes Are Necessary Explanantia for Evolutionary Biology, but Challenge Retrodiction
Chapter 15
A Process Ontology for Macromolecular Biology
Chapter 16
A Processual Perspective on Cancer
Chapter 17
Measuring the World: Olfaction as a Process Model of Perception
Chapter 18
Persons as Biological Processes: A Bio-Processual Way Out of the Personal Identity Dilemma

Book Details

Oxford University Press
ISBN13 Digital
ISBN10 Digital
PDF Size
23.2 MB

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