David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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In Paul Thagard (ed.), Philosophy of Psychology and Cognitive Science. Elsevier (2007)
As much as assumptions about mechanisms and mechanistic explanation have deeply affected psychology, they have received disproportionately little analysis in philosophy. After a historical survey of the influences of mechanistic approaches to explanation of psychological phenomena, we specify the nature of mechanisms and mechanistic explanation. Contrary to some treatments of mechanistic explanation, we maintain that explanation is an epistemic activity that involves representing and reasoning about mechanisms. We discuss the manner in which mechanistic approaches serve to bridge levels rather than reduce them, as well as the different ways in which mechanisms are discovered. Finally, we offer a more detailed example of an important psychological phenomenon for which mechanistic explanation has provided the main source of scientific understanding.
|Keywords||mechanism mechanistic explanation reduction psychological explanation levels psychology|
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Steven Horst (2009). Naturalisms in Philosophy of Mind. Philosophy Compass 4 (1):219-254.
Dingmar van Eck (2015). Reconciling Ontic and Epistemic Constraints on Mechanistic Explanation, Epistemically. Axiomathes 25 (1):5-22.
Jonathan Waskan (2011). Mechanistic Explanation at the Limit. Synthese 183 (3):389-408.
Phyllis Illari (2013). Mechanistic Explanation: Integrating the Ontic and Epistemic. Erkenntnis 78 (2):237-255.
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