Erkenntnis 44 (1):49--71 (1996)

Authors
Stuart Glennan
Butler University
Abstract
In this paper I offer an analysis of causation based upon a theory of mechanisms-complex systems whose internal parts interact to produce a system's external behavior. I argue that all but the fundamental laws of physics can be explained by reference to mechanisms. Mechanisms provide an epistemologically unproblematic way to explain the necessity which is often taken to distinguish laws from other generalizations. This account of necessity leads to a theory of causation according to which events are causally related when there is a mechanism that connects them. I present reasons why the lack of an account of fundamental physical causation does not undermine the mechanical account.
Keywords Causation   Mechanism
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/BF00172853
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: 58,530
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Mental Events.Donald Davidson - 1970 - In L. Foster & J. W. Swanson (eds.). Clarendon Press. pp. 207-224.
Functional Analysis.Robert Cummins - 1975 - Journal of Philosophy 72 (November):741-64.
The Nature and Plausibility of Cognitivism.John Haugeland - 1978 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 1 (2):215-26.

View all 13 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Explanation: A Mechanist Alternative.William Bechtel - 2005 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Biol and Biomed Sci 36 (2):421--441.
Explanation: A Mechanist Alternative.William Bechtel & Adele Abrahamsen - 2005 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 36 (2):421-441.
The New Mechanical Philosophy.Stuart Glennan - 2017 - Oxford University Press.
Rethinking Mechanistic Explanation.Stuart Glennan - 2002 - Proceedings of the Philosophy of Science Association 2002 (3):S342-353.
Top-Down Causation Without Top-Down Causes.Carl F. Craver & William Bechtel - 2007 - Biology and Philosophy 22 (4):547-563.

View all 300 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Mechanisms, Laws, and Regularities.Holly Andersen - 2011 - Philosophy of Science 78 (2):325-331.
Mechanisms and Downward Causation.Max Kistler - 2009 - Philosophical Psychology 22 (5):595-609.
Mechanisms, Causes, and the Layered Model of the World.Stuart Glennan - 2010 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 81 (2):362-381.
The Idea of Mechanism.Stathis Psillos - 2011 - In Phyllis McKay Illari Federica Russo (ed.), Causality in the Sciences. Oxford University Press. pp. 771--788.
Mechanisms and Constitutive Relevance.Mark B. Couch - 2011 - Synthese 183 (3):375-388.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2009-01-28

Total views
169 ( #58,028 of 2,421,806 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
8 ( #87,938 of 2,421,806 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes