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Normality as a Biological Concept

Robert Wachbroit
Philosophy of Science
Vol. 61, No. 4 (Dec., 1994), pp. 579-591
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/188336
Page Count: 13
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Normality as a Biological Concept
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Abstract

The biological sciences employ a concept of normality that must be distinguished from statistical or value concepts. The concept of normality is presupposed in the standard explications of biological functions, and it is crucial to the strategy of explanation by approximations in, for example, physiology. Nevertheless, this concept of normality does not seem to be captured in the language of physics. Thus attempts at explaining the methodological relationship between the biological sciences and the physical sciences by concentrating only on the concept of biological function cannot go very far. An analysis of the concept of normality is also necessary.

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