Re: Levels of explanation (was Re: Determinism)

From: Robin Faichney (
Date: Thu Apr 19 2001 - 09:15:42 BST

  • Next message: Robin Faichney: "Re: The Tipping Point"

    Received: by id KAA13375 (8.6.9/5.3[ref] for from; Thu, 19 Apr 2001 10:12:03 +0100
    Date: Thu, 19 Apr 2001 09:15:42 +0100
    Subject: Re: Levels of explanation (was Re: Determinism)
    Message-ID: <>
    References: <[]>
    Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii
    Content-Disposition: inline
    User-Agent: Mutt/1.3.15i
    In-Reply-To: <[]>; from on Wed, Apr 18, 2001 at 02:19:15PM -0400
    From: Robin Faichney <>
    Precedence: bulk

    On Wed, Apr 18, 2001 at 02:19:15PM -0400, Wade T.Smith wrote:
    > On 04/18/01 13:15, Robin Faichney said this-
    > >> What is being translated and into what language?
    > >
    > >Genetics, when you get to a certain level of detail, requires the language
    > >of chemistry, rather than that of biology (biochemistry, microbiology,
    > >whatever -- you get the idea). Similar translations are required
    > >whenever we shift between levels of explanation. It's the different
    > >concepts that apply within them that distinguish between levels.
    > So, are you saying that at such extreme levels, (perspectives), we also
    > shift views about causes?

    Causes and effects go together, with explanations linking them. For a
    complete explanation, either cause and effect have to be on the same
    level (eg using the concepts and terminology of chemistry, or those of
    biology, but not both), or a complete "translation" between levels has
    to be provided. But bear in mind that phenomena on different levels are
    not entirely separate things, but the same things considered widely --
    at a high level, covering a lot of ground but not going into detail -- or
    narrowly, at a low level, going into detail but not covering much ground.
    So in shifting levels we're not going to decide that an event had some
    other cause altogether, but just change our view of the same cause,
    looking at it in more or less detail.

    > Which leads me to wonder what _you_ think the difference is "between
    > causation and conceptual framework translation"?

    I hope the previous paragraph throws some light on that.

    Robin Faichney
    Get your Meta-Information from
    (CAUTION: contains philosophy, may cause heads to spin)

    =============================================================== This was distributed via the memetics list associated with the Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission For information about the journal and the list (e.g. unsubscribing) see:

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Thu Apr 19 2001 - 10:25:40 BST