Toward a Biology Worthy of Life > From Physical Causes to Organisms of Meaning > Brief excerpt
A project by Stephen L. Talbott

Losing causal explanations is no disadvantage

We have an increasing appreciation today of the importance of organismal context, and of the organism’s plasticity, and of its dynamism, and of the complexity of its interweaving processes, and of the causal ambiguity of our explanations. For a mindset fixated upon causal mechanisms, all these factors might be viewed as unwelcome complications — detours on the way toward real understanding. But do they really make our descriptions and explanations less revelatory of the organism than what we had before, when gene-mechanisms were supposed to provide a “blueprint” or “instruction set” for the organism as a whole? Shouldn’t we expect that the processes we cannot neatly tie down or capture in mechanisms are precisely what bring the organism alive for us?

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