Philosophy of Science 75 (3):306-322 (2008)
Skipper and Millstein (2005) argued that existing conceptions of mechanisms failed to "get at" natural selection, but left open the possibility that a refined conception of mechanisms could resolve the problems that they identified. I respond to Skipper and Millstein, and argue that while many of their points have merit, their objections can be overcome and that natural selection can be characterized as a mechanism. In making this argument, I discuss the role of regularity in mechanisms, and develop an account of stochastic (i.e., probabilistic) mechanisms. Explaining the phenomenon of adaptation through the mechanism of natural selection illustrates the power and flexibility of using mechanistic strategies to explain natural phenomena.
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References found in this work BETA
Thinking About Mechanisms.Peter K. Machamer, Lindley Darden & Carl F. Craver - 2000 - Philosophy of Science 67 (1):1-25.
Explanation: A Mechanist Alternative.William Bechtel - 2005 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Biol and Biomed Sci 36 (2):421--441.
Rethinking Mechanistic Explanation.Stuart Glennan - 2002 - Proceedings of the Philosophy of Science Association 2002 (3):S342-353.
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Citations of this work BETA
The Case for Regularity in Mechanistic Causal Explanation.Holly Andersen - 2012 - Synthese 189 (3):415-432.
The Concept of Mechanism in Biology.Daniel J. Nicholson - 2012 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 43 (1):152-163.
Function and Organization: Comparing the Mechanisms of Protein Synthesis and Natural Selection.Phyllis McKay Illari & Jon Williamson - 2010 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 41 (3):279-291.
Time is of the Essence: Explanatory Pluralism and Accommodating Theories About Long-Term Processes.Robert N. McCauley - 2009 - Philosophical Psychology 22 (5):611-635.
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