Graduate studies at Western
In M. Schouten & H. L. De Joong (eds.), The Matter of the Mind: Philosophical Essays on Psychology, Neuroscience and Reduction. Blackwell Publishing (2007)
|Abstract||Arguments for the autonomy of psychology or other higher-level sciences have often taken the form of denying the possibility of reduction. The form of reduction most proponents and critics of the autonomy of psychology have in mind is theory reduction. Mechanistic explanations provide a different perspective. Mechanistic explanations are reductionist insofar as they appeal to lower-level entities—the component parts of a mechanism and their operations— to explain a phenomenon. However, unlike theory reductions, mechanistic explanations also recognize the fundamental role of organization in enabling mechanisms to engage their environments as units (as well as the role of yet higher-level structures in constraining such engagement). Especially when organization is non-linear, it can enable mechanisms to generate phenomena that are quite surprising given the operations of the components taken in isolation. Such organization must be discovered—it cannot simply be derived from knowledge of lower-level parts and their operations. Moreover, the organized environments in which mechanisms operate must also be discovered. It is typically the higher-level disciplines that have the tools for discovering the organization within and between mechanisms. Although these inquiries are constrained by the knowledge of the parts and operations constituting the mechanism, they make their own autonomous contribution to understanding how a mechanism actually behaves. Thus, mechanistic explanations provide a strong sense of autonomy for higher levels of organization and the inquiries addressing them even while recognizing the distinctive contributions of reductionistic research investigating the operations of the lower level components|
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
|Through your library||Configure|
Similar books and articles
Harold Kincaid (1988). Supervenience and Explanation. Synthese 77 (November):251-81.
William Bechtel (2012). Understanding Endogenously Active Mechanisms: A Scientific and Philosophical Challenge. [REVIEW] European Journal for Philosophy of Science 2 (2):233-248.
William Bechtel (2005). Explanation: A Mechanist Alternative. Studies in History and Philosophy of Biol and Biomed Sci 36 (2):421--441.
Cory D. Wright & William P. Bechtel (2007). Mechanisms and Psychological Explanation. In Paul Thagard (ed.), Philosophy of Psychology and Cognitive Science. Elsevier.
William Bechtel (2010). The Downs and Ups of Mechanistic Research: Circadian Rhythm Research as an Exemplar. [REVIEW] Erkenntnis 73 (3):313 - 328.
William P. Bechtel (2005). The Challenge of Characterizing Operations in the Mechanisms Underlying Behavior. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior 84:313-325.
William Bechtel & Adele Abrahamsen, Decomposing, Recomposing, and Situating Circadian Mechanisms: Two Tasks in Developing Mechanistic Explanations.
William Bechtel (2009). Looking Down, Around, and Up: Mechanistic Explanation in Psychology. Philosophical Psychology 22 (5):543-564.
Peter Fazekas & Gergely Kertész (2011). Causation at Different Levels: Tracking the Commitments of Mechanistic Explanations. Biology and Philosophy 26 (3):365-383.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads35 ( #39,282 of 739,344 )
Recent downloads (6 months)1 ( #61,538 of 739,344 )
How can I increase my downloads?