David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Philosophy of Science 71 (1):1-15 (2004)
Stuart Glennan, and the team of Peter Machamer, Lindley Darden, and Carl Craver have recently provided two accounts of the concept of a mechanism. The main difference between these two versions rests on how the behavior of the parts of the mechanism is conceptualized. Glennan considers mechanisms to be an interaction of parts, where the interaction between parts can be characterized by direct, invariant, change-relating generalizations. Machamer, Darden, and Craver criticize traditional conceptualizations of mechanisms which are based solely on parts interacting and introduce a new conceptactivity. This essay is an attempt at carving out a relationship between these two philosophical interpretations of a mechanism. I will claim that, rather than being in conflict, Glennan's concept of interaction and Machamer, Darden, and Craver's notion of activity actually complement one another, each emphasizing a missing element of the other.
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Citations of this work BETA
William Bechtel (2005). Explanation: A Mechanist Alternative. Studies in History and Philosophy of Biol and Biomed Sci 36 (2):421--441.
Phyllis Illari & Jon Williamson (2012). What is a Mechanism? Thinking About Mechanisms Across the Sciences. European Journal for Philosophy of Science 2 (1):119-135.
Gualtiero Piccinini (2007). Computing Mechanisms. Philosophy of Science 74 (4):501-526.
Holly Andersen (2012). The Case for Regularity in Mechanistic Causal Explanation. Synthese 189 (3):415-432.
Brett Calcott (2009). Lineage Explanations: Explaining How Biological Mechanisms Change. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 60 (1):51-78.
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