Mechanistic artefact explanation

Abstract
One thing about technical artefacts that needs to be explained is how their physical make-up, or structure, enables them to fulfil the behaviour associated with their function, or, more colloquially, how they work. In this paper I develop an account of such explanations based on the familiar notion of mechanistic explanation. To accomplish this, I (1) outline two explanatory strategies that provide two different types of insight into an artefact’s functioning, and (2) show how human action inevi- tably plays a role in artefact explanation. I then use my own account to criticize other recent work on mechanistic explanation and conclude with some general implications for the philosophy of explanation.
Keywords Artefact  Technical function  Explanation  Levels of explanation  Mechanisms
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    References found in this work BETA
    Robert C. Cummins (1975). Functional Analysis. Journal of Philosophy 72 (November):741-64.
    Maarten Franssen (2006). The Normativity of Artefacts. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 37 (1):42-57.
    Stuart Glennan (2002). Rethinking Mechanistic Explanation. Proceedings of the Philosophy of Science Association 2002 (3):S342-353.

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    Citations of this work BETA
    Gualtiero Piccinini (2008). Computers. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 89 (1):32–73.
    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.
    Cory D. Wright (2012). Mechanistic Explanation Without the Ontic Conception. European Journal of Philosophy of Science 2 (3):375-394.
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