Difference mechanisms: Explaining variation with mechanisms

Biology and Philosophy 24 (5):645-664 (2009)
Abstract
Philosophers of science have developed an account of causal-mechanical explanation that captures regularity, but this account neglects variation. In this article I amend the philosophy of mechanisms to capture variation. The task is to explicate the relationship between regular causal mechanisms responsible for individual development and causes of variation responsible for variation in populations. As it turns out, disputes over this relationship have rested at the heart of the nature–nurture debate. Thus, an explication of the relationship between regular causal mechanisms and causes of variation and between individual development and variation offers both the necessary amendment to the philosophy of mechanisms and the resources to mediate the dispute.
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    References found in this work BETA
    William Bechtel (2005). Explanation: A Mechanist Alternative. Studies in History and Philosophy of Biol and Biomed Sci 36 (2):421--441.
    Brett Calcott (2009). Lineage Explanations: Explaining How Biological Mechanisms Change. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 60 (1):51-78.

    View all 32 references

    Citations of this work BETA
    Arnon Levy (2013). Three Kinds of New Mechanism. Biology and Philosophy 28 (1):99-114.

    View all 7 citations

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