This project brings together scholars in philosophy and biology to address the problem of integrating different types of explanations from scientific approaches to better understand life’s complexity. The specific focus is the question of how to bridge the divide between genetic and generic (physical) explanatory approaches in three domains of biological phenomena: development, evolutionary novelty, and evolvability. In order to facilitate new forms of explanatory integration, encourage progress on these foundational questions, and generate epistemic models that assist ongoing inquiry, a core team of scientists and philosophers with relevant expertise will meet with a select group of internationally renowned experts for three intensive workshops with each year devoted to one domain. (The workshop format adheres to proven strategies from the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center.) Project outputs include public lectures by the scientific experts, conference symposia to communicate findings, peer-reviewed articles in scientific and philosophical journals, and a proposal submitted for a multi-authored book that synthesizes the results from all research activities. The project aims to shift research programs in biology away from single factor explanations or unitary disciplinary approaches to more integrated, multi-factor explanations derived from interdisciplinary approaches. The project will make a difference by providing a vision and concrete templates for research that exhibits these characteristics. The beneficial long-term changes anticipated include: (a) an increased collaboration across physical and life science disciplines; (b) a deeper understanding of the complexities inherent in development, novelty, and evolvability; (c) an elevated awareness in science and philosophy of the socially distributed and multidimensional nature of explanations; and (d) an influence on junior scientists to pursue more integrated research into these biological phenomena.
Templeton.org is in English. Only a few pages are translated into other languages.