Mechanisms, Laws, and Regularities

Philosophy of Science 78 (2):325-331 (2011)
Abstract
Leuridan (2010) argued that mechanisms cannot provide a genuine alternative to laws of nature as a model of explanation in the sciences, and advocates Mitchell’s (1997) pragmatic account of laws. I first demonstrate that Leuridan gets the order of priority wrong between mechanisms, regularity, and laws, and then make some clarifying remarks about how laws and mechanisms relate to regularities. Mechanisms are not an explanatory alternative to regularities; they are an alternative to laws. The existence of stable regularities in nature is necessary for either model of explanation: regularities are what laws describe and what mechanisms explain.
Keywords mechanism  explanation  regularity  laws  causation
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DOI 10.1086/659229
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References found in this work BETA
Explanation: A Mechanist Alternative.William Bechtel - 2005 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Biol and Biomed Sci 36 (2):421--441.
Activities and Causation: The Metaphysics and Epistemology of Mechanisms.Peter Machamer - 2004 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 18 (1):27 – 39.
Regularities and Causality; Generalizations and Causal Explanations.Jim Bogen - 2005 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 36 (2):397-420.

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