What is a mechanism? Thinking about mechanisms across the sciences

After a decade of intense debate about mechanisms, there is still no consensus characterization. In this paper we argue for a characterization that applies widely to mechanisms across the sciences. We examine and defend our disagreements with the major current contenders for characterizations of mechanisms. Ultimately, we indicate that the major contenders can all sign up to our characterization
Keywords Mechanism  Explanation  MDC  Glennan  Bechtel  Astrophysical mechanism
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s13194-011-0038-2
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 15,904
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA
William Bechtel (2005). Explanation: A Mechanist Alternative. Studies in History and Philosophy of Biol and Biomed Sci 36 (2):421--441.
Stuart Glennan (2002). Rethinking Mechanistic Explanation. Proceedings of the Philosophy of Science Association 2002 (3):S342-353.

View all 34 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
John Dupré (2013). Living Causes. Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 87 (1):19-37.

View all 15 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Phyllis McKay Illari & Jon Williamson (2011). Mechanisms Are Real and Local. In Phyllis McKay Illari, Federica Russo & Jon Williamson (eds.), Causality in the Sciences. OUP Oxford
Julian Reiss (2007). Do We Need Mechanisms in the Social Sciences? Philosophy of the Social Sciences 37 (2):163-184.

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

77 ( #39,914 of 1,725,561 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

16 ( #47,089 of 1,725,561 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.