David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Mind and Society 4 (2):163-178 (2005)
This paper discusses various problems of explanations by mechanisms. Two positions are distinguished: the narrow position claims that only explanations by mechanisms are acceptable. It is argued that this position leads to an infinite regress because the discovery of a mechanism must entail the search for other mechanisms etc. Another paradoxical consequence of this postulate is that every successful explanation by mechanisms is unsatisfactory because it generates new ``black box'' explanations. The second â liberal â position that is advanced in this paper regards, besides explanations by mechanisms, also the discovery of bivariate correlations as a first step of an explanation by mechanisms as meaningful. It is further argued that there is no contradiction between causal analysis and the explanation by mechanisms. Instead, explanations by mechanisms always presuppose the analysis of causal structures (but not vice versa). The final point is that an explanation by mechanisms is not inconsistent with the Hempel-Oppenheim scheme of explanation
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
No categories specified
(categorize this paper)
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
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Harold Kincaid (2004). Contextualism, Explanation and the Social Sciences. Philosophical Explorations 7 (3):201 – 218.
Colin Wight (2004). Theorizing the Mechanisms of Conceptual and Semiotic Space. Philosophy of the Social Sciences 34 (2):283-299.
Erik Weber (2007). Social Mechanisms, Causal Inference, and the Policy Relevance of Social Science. Philosophy of the Social Sciences 37 (3):348-359.
William P. Bechtel, Mental Mechanisms: Philosophical Perspectives on the Sciences of Cognition and the Brain.
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.
William Bechtel (2005). Explanation: A Mechanist Alternative. Studies in History and Philosophy of Biol and Biomed Sci 36 (2):421--441.
Stuart Glennan (2010). Ephemeral Mechanisms and Historical Explanation. Erkenntnis 72 (2):251 - 266.
William Bechtel & Cory D. Wright (2009). What is Psychological Explanation? In P. Calvo & J. Symons (eds.), Routledge Companion to the Philosophy of Psychology. Routledge. 113--130.
Peter Hedström & Petri Ylikoski (2010). Causal Mechanisms in the Social Sciences. Annual Review of Sociology 36:49–67.
Holly Andersen (2012). The Case for Regularity in Mechanistic Causal Explanation. Synthese 189 (3):415-432.
Added to index2010-08-10
Total downloads27 ( #72,520 of 1,413,268 )
Recent downloads (6 months)1 ( #154,925 of 1,413,268 )
How can I increase my downloads?