Friday, 4 November 2011
Integrative Pluralism: the Case of Protein-Folding
Sandra D. Mitchell ,
Department of History and Philosophy of Science
University of Pittsburgh
12:05 pm, 817R Cathedral of Learning
Abstract: Integrative pluralism defends the view that there is scientific value in fostering different levels of description and explanation, and integration, rather than reduction, will produce the most informative accounts of the behavior of complex structures. I will explore this hypothesis by considering the case of protein folding behavior in biological systems. I will consider this behavior from three perspectives; first, the physics of the material constituents and their behavior, second, the chemistry of the molecular structure of proteins, how they acquire the structures they have and third, the biological function of proteins, especially the dependence of function on particular structures.