Philosophy of Science 69 (S3):342-353 (2002)

Authors
Lindley Darden
University of Maryland, College Park
Abstract
Philosophers of science typically associate the causal‐mechanical view of scientific explanation with the work of Railton and Salmon. In this paper I shall argue that the defects of this view arise from an inadequate analysis of the concept of mechanism. I contrast Salmon’s account of mechanisms in terms of the causal nexus with my own account of mechanisms, in which mechanisms are viewed as complex systems. After describing these two concepts of mechanism, I show how the complex‐systems approach avoids certain objections to Salmon’s account of causal‐mechanical explanation. I conclude by discussing how mechanistic explanations can provide understanding by unification.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1086/341857
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 69,959
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Transparency in Complex Computational Systems.Kathleen A. Creel - 2020 - Philosophy of Science 87 (4):568-589.
What is a Mechanism? Thinking About Mechanisms Across the Sciences.Phyllis Illari & Jon Williamson - 2012 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 2 (1):119-135.
A Better Best System Account of Lawhood.Jonathan Cohen & Craig Callender - 2009 - Philosophical Studies 145 (1):1 - 34.
The Concept of Mechanism in Biology.Daniel J. Nicholson - 2012 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 43 (1):152-163.

View all 158 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Rethinking Mechanistic Explanation.Stuart Glennan - 2002 - Proceedings of the Philosophy of Science Association 2002 (3):S342-353.
The Ontic Conception of Scientific Explanation.Cory Wright - 2015 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 54:20-30.
The Causal Structure of Mechanisms.Peter Menzies - 2012 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 43 (4):796-805.
Extended Mechanistic Explanations: Expanding the Current Mechanistic Conception to Include More Complex Biological Systems.Sarah M. Roe & Bert Baumgaertner - 2017 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 48 (4):517-534.
Systems Biology and the Integration of Mechanistic Explanation and Mathematical Explanation.Ingo Brigandt - 2013 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 44 (4):477-492.
The Nature of Dynamical Explanation.Carlos Zednik - 2011 - Philosophy of Science 78 (2):238-263.
A Regularist Approach to Mechanistic Type-Level Explanation.Beate Krickel - 2017 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science (4):00-00.
Mechanistic Explanation at the Limit.Jonathan Waskan - 2011 - Synthese 183 (3):389-408.
The Mechanist and the Snail.Christopher Hitchcock - 1996 - Philosophical Studies 84 (1):91 - 105.
A Model of Causal, Statistical Explanation in Evolutionary Biology.Bruce David Glymour - 1995 - Dissertation, University of California, San Diego
Mechanisms Are Real and Local.Phyllis McKay Illari & Jon Williamson - 2011 - In Phyllis McKay Illari, Federica Russo & Jon Williamson (eds.), Causality in the Sciences. Oxford University Press.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2017-02-19

Total views
12 ( #808,882 of 2,504,828 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #417,030 of 2,504,828 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes