Authors
Jeroen De Ridder
VU University Amsterdam
Abstract
One thing about technical artefacts that needs to be explained is how their physical make-up, or structure, enables them to fulfil the behaviour associated with their function, or, more colloquially, how they work. In this paper I develop an account of such explanations based on the familiar notion of mechanistic explanation. To accomplish this, I outline two explanatory strategies that provide two different types of insight into an artefact’s functioning, and show how human action inevitably plays a role in artefact explanation. I then use my own account to criticize other recent work on mechanistic explanation and conclude with some general implications for the philosophy of explanation.Keywords: Artefact; Technical function; Explanation; Levels of explanation; Mechanisms.
Keywords Artefact  Technical function  Explanation  Levels of explanation  Mechanisms
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DOI 10.1016/j.shpsa.2005.12.009
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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.
Rethinking Mechanistic Explanation.Stuart Glennan - 2002 - Philosophy of Science 69 (S3):S342-S353.
Functional Analysis.Robert Cummins - 1975 - Journal of Philosophy 72 (November):741-64.
Special Sciences.Jerry A. Fodor - 1974 - Synthese 28 (2):97-115.

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Citations of this work BETA

The Normativity of Artefacts.Maarten Franssen - 2006 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 37 (1):42-57.
Computers.Gualtiero Piccinini - 2008 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 89 (1):32–73.
The Functional Bias of the Dual Nature of Technical Artefacts Program.Krist Vaesen - 2011 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 42 (1):190-197.

View all 18 citations / Add more citations

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