I—John Dupré: Living Causes

Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 87 (1):19-37 (2013)
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This paper considers the applicability of standard accounts of causation to living systems. In particular it examines critically the increasing tendency to equate causal explanation with the identification of a mechanism. A range of differences between living systems and paradigm mechanisms are identified and discussed. While in principle it might be possible to accommodate an account of mechanism to these features, the attempt to do so risks reducing the idea of a mechanism to vacuity. It is proposed that the solution to this problem requires the development of a philosophical account of process adequate to apply to living systems.



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John Dupre
University of Exeter

References found in this work

Thinking about mechanisms.Peter Machamer, Lindley Darden & Carl F. Craver - 2000 - Philosophy of Science 67 (1):1-25.
Causation.David Lewis - 1973 - Journal of Philosophy 70 (17):556-567.
Review of Woodward, Making Things Happen. [REVIEW]Michael Strevens - 2007 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 74 (1):233-249.
Four Dimensionalism: An Ontology of Persistence and Time.Theodore Sider - 2004 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 68 (3):642-647.

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