David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Philosophy of the Social Sciences 21 (3):367-388 (1991)
Mechanisms in a theory are defined here as bits of theory about entities at a different level (e.g., individuals) than the main entities being theorized about (e.g., groups), which serve to make the higher-level theory more supple, more accurate, or more general. The criterion for whether it is worthwhile to theorize at lower levels is whether it makes the theory at the higher levels better, not whether lower-level theorizing is philosophically necessary. The higher-level theory can be made better by mechanisms known to be inadequate in the discipline dealing with the lower level. Conditions for the usefulness of lower-level theorizing are proposed, with many examples from various social and physical sciences.
|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
Keith R. Sawyer (2004). Social Explanation and Computational Simulation. Philosophical Explorations 7 (3):219 – 231.
Nathalie Bulle (2009). Under What Conditions Can Formal Models of Social Action Claim Explanatory Power? International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 23 (1):47-64.
Virgile Chassagnon (forthcoming). Toward a Social Ontology of the Firm: Reconstitution, Organizing Entity, Institution, Social Emergence and Power. Journal of Business Ethics.
Ronald Jepperson & John W. Meyer (2011). Multiple Levels of Analysis and the Limitations of Methodological Individualisms. Sociological Theory 29 (1):54 - 73.
Similar books and articles
Jaegwon Kim (2002). The Layered Model: Metaphysical Considerations. Philosophical Explorations 5 (1):2 – 20.
Eörs Szathmáry (2012). Transitions and Social Evolution. Philosophy and Theory in Biology 4 (20130604).
Martin Davies (2000). Interaction Without Reduction: The Relationship Between Personal and Subpersonal Levels of Description. Mind and Society 1 (2):87-105.
Bernard P. Zeigler (1976). The Hierarchy of System Specifications and the Problem of Structural Inference. PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1976:227 - 239.
Henry P. Stapp & Jeffrey M. Schwartz, The Implications of Psychological Treatment Effects on Cerebral Function for the Physics of Mind-Brain Interaction.
Donald R. Franceschetti (1999). Of Skyhooks and the Coevolution of Scientific Disciplines. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 22 (5):836-837.
William Bechtel (2007). Reducing Psychology While Maintaining its Autonomy Via Mechanistic Explanations. In M. Schouten & H. L. De Joong (eds.), The Matter of the Mind: Philosophical Essays on Psychology, Neuroscience and Reduction. Blackwell Publishing.
Colin Wight (2004). Theorizing the Mechanisms of Conceptual and Semiotic Space. Philosophy of the Social Sciences 34 (2):283-299.
Harold Kincaid (1988). Supervenience and Explanation. Synthese 77 (November):251-81.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads42 ( #47,540 of 1,410,123 )
Recent downloads (6 months)1 ( #177,589 of 1,410,123 )
How can I increase my downloads?