Grene on Mechanism and Reductionism: More Than Just a Side Issue

In this paper the common association between ontological reductionism and a methodological position called 'Mechanism' is discussed. Three major points are argued for: (1) Mechanism is not to be identified with reductionism in any of its forms; in fact, mechanism leads to a non-reductionist ontology. (2) Biological methodology is thoroughly mechanistic. (3) Mechanism is compatible with at least one form of teleology. Along the way the nature and value of scientific explanations, some recent controversies in biology and why reductionism has proven to be such an attractive position are discussed.
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DOI 10.2307/192513
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Daniel J. Nicholson (2012). The Concept of Mechanism in Biology. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 43 (1):152-163.

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Daniel Steel (2004). Can a Reductionist Be a Pluralist? Biology and Philosophy 19 (1):55-73.
Daniel J. Nicholson (2012). The Concept of Mechanism in Biology. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 43 (1):152-163.
James G. Lennox (1984). Marjorie Grene, Aristotle's Philosophy of Science and Aristotle's Biology. PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1984:365 - 377.
Arnon Levy (2013). Three Kinds of New Mechanism. Biology and Philosophy 28 (1):99-114.

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