David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jonathan Jenkins Ichikawa
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
In recent years, philosophers of science have found a renewed interest in mechanisms. The motivation is the thought that the elucidation of a mechanism generates a causal explanation for the phenomenon under investigation. For example, a question such as, How do rats form spatial memories of their environments?, is answered by elucidating the regular causal mechanisms responsible for the individual development of spatial memory in rats. But consider a slightly different question: How do some rats come to have better spatial memory than other rats? This is a question about the causes of variation responsible for variation in spatial memory. The first question demands an answer about regularity; the second question demands an answer about variation. The account of causal-mechanical explanation on offer by philosophers of science captures regularity, but it neglects variation. In this essay, I attempt to modify the mechanical program so as to incorporate both regularity and variation. The task is to explicate the relationship between the regular causal mechanisms responsible for individual development and the causes of variation responsible for variation in populations. As it turns out, this is precisely the relationship that has divided the biometric research tradition and the developmental research tradition in the long-standing debates over genotype-environment interaction, or G×E. Ultimately, the product will be an account of causal-mechanical explanation that captures both regularity and variation, and which may be utilized to resolve an aspect of the debates over G×E.
|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
James Tabery (2008). R. A. Fisher, Lancelot Hogben, and the Origin(s) of Genotype-Environment Interaction. Journal of the History of Biology 41 (4):717 - 761.
Rasmus Grønfeldt Winther (2000). Darwin on Variation and Heredity. Journal of the History of Biology 33 (3):425-455.
Karl-Dieter Opp (2005). Explanations by Mechanisms in the Social Sciences. Problems, Advantages and Alternatives. Mind and Society 4 (2):163-178.
Matteo Mameli (2004). Nongenetic Selection and Nongenetic Inheritance. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 55 (1):35-71.
Devin Henry (2006). Aristotle on the Mechanisms of Inheritance. Journal of the History of Biology 39 (3):425-455.
Holly Andersen (2011). Mechanisms, Laws, and Regularities. Philosophy of Science 78 (2):325-331.
Carl F. Craver (2001). Role Functions, Mechanisms, and Hierarchy. Philosophy of Science 68 (1):53-74.
Holly Andersen (2012). The Case for Regularity in Mechanistic Causal Explanation. Synthese 189 (3):415-432.
James Tabery (2009). Difference Mechanisms: Explaining Variation with Mechanisms. Biology and Philosophy 24 (5):645-664.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads16 ( #250,352 of 1,938,649 )
Recent downloads (6 months)1 ( #452,035 of 1,938,649 )
How can I increase my downloads?