David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Mechanisms have become much-discussed, yet there is still no consensus on how to characterise them. In this paper, we start with something everyone is agreed on – that mechanisms explain – and investigate what constraints this imposes on our metaphysics of mechanisms. We examine two widely shared premises about how to understand mechanistic explanation: (1) that mechanistic explanation offers a welcome alternative to traditional laws-based explanation and (2) that there are two senses of mechanistic explanation that we call ‘epistemic explanation’ and ‘physical explanation’. We argue that mechanistic explanation requires that mechanisms are both real and local. We then go on to argue that real, local mechanisms require a broadly active metaphysics for mechanisms, such as a capacities metaphysics.
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
No categories specified
(categorize this paper)
|Through your library||Only published papers are available at libraries|
Similar books and articles
Karl-Dieter Opp (2005). Explanations by Mechanisms in the Social Sciences. Problems, Advantages and Alternatives. Mind and Society 4 (2):163-178.
Holly Andersen (2011). Mechanisms, Laws, and Regularities. Philosophy of Science 78 (2):325-331.
Bert Leuridan (2010). Can Mechanisms Really Replace Laws of Nature? Philosophy of Science 77 (3):317-340.
Jon Williamson (2010). Function and Organization: Comparing the Mechanisms of Protein Synthesis and Natural Selection. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 41 (3):279-291.
William P. Bechtel, Mental Mechanisms: Philosophical Perspectives on the Sciences of Cognition and the Brain.
Daniel A. Weiskopf (2011). Models and Mechanisms in Psychological Explanation. Synthese 183 (3):313-338.
Stuart Glennan (2010). Ephemeral Mechanisms and Historical Explanation. Erkenntnis 72 (2):251 - 266.
Cory D. Wright & William P. Bechtel (2007). Mechanisms and Psychological Explanation. In Paul Thagard (ed.), Philosophy of Psychology and Cognitive Science. Elsevier.
Added to index2009-09-05
Total downloads62 ( #19,590 of 1,004,841 )
Recent downloads (6 months)1 ( #64,743 of 1,004,841 )
How can I increase my downloads?