Intervals of quasi-decompositionality and mechanistic explanations

Quaderns de Filosofia 6 (1):15 (2019)

It is commonly assumed that the concept of mechanism is a keytool for the scientific understanding of observable phenomena. However, there is no single definition of mechanism in the current philosophy of science. In fact, philosophers have developed several characterizations of what seemed to be a clear intuitive concept for scientists. In this paper, I will analyze these philosophical conceptions of mechanism, highlighting their problematic aspects and proposing a new mechanistic approach based on the idea that the pertinent levels of organization for a mechanistic explanation can be identified with intervals of quasi-decompositionality. I argue that this approach allows us to consider that activities are directly derived from the entities’ structure. Consequently, a mechanistic explanation implies an arbitrary but not capricious choice of an organizational level. According to this approach, inter-level causation is merely apparent and there is no place for emergent properties.
Keywords mechanisms  emergent properties  quasi-decompositionality  systems
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DOI 10.7203/qfia.6.1.14822
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References found in this work BETA

Explaining the Brain.Carl F. Craver - 2009 - Oxford University Press.
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.

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