David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Philosophy of Science 77 (3):317-340 (2010)
Today, mechanisms and mechanistic explanation are very popular in philosophy of science and are deemed a welcome alternative to laws of nature and deductive‐nomological explanation. Starting from Mitchell's pragmatic notion of laws, I cast doubt on their status as a genuine alternative. I argue that (1) all complex‐systems mechanisms ontologically must rely on stable regularities, while (2) the reverse need not hold. Analogously, (3) models of mechanisms must incorporate pragmatic laws, while (4) such laws themselves need not always refer to underlying mechanisms. Finally, I show that Mitchell's account is more encompassing than the mechanistic account *Received August 2008; revised January 2010. †To contact the author, please write to: Centre for Logic and Philosophy of Science, Ghent University, Blandijnberg 2, B‐9000 Belgium; e‐mail: Bert.Leuridan@Ugent.be.
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Citations of this work BETA
Alexander Reutlinger (2011). A Theory of Non-Universal Laws. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 25 (2):97 - 117.
Cory D. Wright (2015). The Ontic Conception of Scientific Explanation. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 54:20-30.
Benjamin Sheredos (forthcoming). Re-Reconciling the Epistemic and Ontic Views of Explanation. Erkenntnis:1-31.
Dingmar van Eck (2015). Validating Function-Based Design Methods: An Explanationist Perspective. Philosophy and Technology 28 (4):511-531.
Brendan Clarke, Bert Leuridan & Jon Williamson (2013). Modelling Mechanisms with Causal Cycles. Synthese 191 (8):1-31.
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