Thinking again about biological mechanisms

Philosophy of Science 75 (5):958-969 (2008)
The new research program to understand mechanisms in biology has developed rapidly in the last 10 years. Reconsideration of the characterization of mechanisms in biology in the light of this recent work is now in order. This article discusses the perspectival aspect of the characterization of mechanisms (and ways of mitigating rampant perspectivalism), refinements in claims about working entities and kinds of activities, challenges and responses to claims about regularity, productive continuity, and the organizational aspects of a mechanism, and issues about representations of mechanisms in schemas and sketches. †To contact the author, please write to: Committee for Philosophy and the Sciences, Department of Philosophy, 1125A Skinner Building, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742 USA; e‐mail:
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DOI 10.1086/594538
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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.
William Bechtel (forthcoming). Can Mechanistic Explanation Be Reconciled with Scale-Free Constitution and Dynamics? Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences.
Cory D. Wright (2012). Mechanistic Explanation Without the Ontic Conception. European Journal of Philosophy of Science 2 (3):375-394.

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