David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Polygenic effects have more than one cause. They testify to the fact that several causal contributors are sometimes simultaneously involved in causation. The importance of polygenic causation was noticed early on by Mill (1893). It has since been shown to be a problem for causal-law approaches to causation and accounts of causation cast in terms of capacities. However, polygenic causation needs to be examined more thoroughly in the emerging literature on causal mechanisms. In this paper I examine whether an influential theory of mechanisms proposed by Peter Machamer, Lindley Darden and Carl Craver can accommodate polygenic effects and other forms of causal interaction. This theory is problematic, I will argue, because it ascribes a central role to activities. In it, activities are needed not only to constitute mechanisms but also to perform the causal role of mechanisms. Any such mechanism-as-activity will be incompatible with causal situations where either no or merely another kind of activity occurs. But, as I will try to illustrate in this paper, both kinds of situation may be frequent. If I am right, the view that Machamer and colleagues suggest leads to an impoverished conception of mechanism.
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||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
Stathis Psillos (2004). A Glimpse of the Secret Connexion: Harmonizing Mechanisms with Counterfactuals. Perspectives on Science 12 (3):288-319.
Jim Bogen (2005). Regularities and Causality; Generalizations and Causal Explanations. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 36 (2):397-420.
Holly Andersen (2012). The Case for Regularity in Mechanistic Causal Explanation. Synthese 189 (3):415-432.
Max Kistler (2010). Mechanisms and Downward Causation. Philosophical Psychology 22 (5):595-609.
Johannes Persson (1999). The Determinables of Explanatory Mechanisms. Synthese 120 (1):77-87.
Peter K. Machamer, Lindley Darden & Carl F. Craver (2000). Thinking About Mechanisms. Philosophy of Science 67 (1):1-25.
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. Tabery (2004). Synthesizing Activities and Interactions in the Concept of a Mechanism. Philosophy of Science 71 (1):1-15.
James Tabery (2004). Synthesizing Activities and Interactions in the Concept of a Mechanism. Philosophy of Science 71 (1):1-15.
Johannes Persson (2010). Activity-Based Accounts of Mechanism and the Threat of Polygenic Effects. Erkenntnis 72 (1):135 - 149.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads15 ( #171,795 of 1,725,424 )
Recent downloads (6 months)3 ( #211,008 of 1,725,424 )
How can I increase my downloads?