AbstractFrom the operation of the universe to DNA, the brain and the economy, natural and social frequently describe their activity as being concerned with discovering mechanisms. Despite this fact, for much of the twentieth century philosophical discussions of the nature of mechanisms remained outside philosophy of science. The Routledge Handbook of Mechanisms and Mechanical Philosophy is an outstanding reference source to the key topics, problems and debates in this exciting subject and is the first collection of its kind. Comprising over thirty chapters by a team of international contributors the _Handbook_ is divided into four parts: Historical Perspectives on Mechanisms The Nature of Mechanisms Mechanisms and the Philosophy of Science Disciplinary Perspectives. Within these sections central topics and problems are examined, including the rise of mechanical philosophy in the seventeenth century; mechanisms as parts and wholes and their interactive powers; mechanisms and laws and regularities; how mechanisms are discovered and explained; dynamical systems theory; and disciplinary perspectives from physics, chemistry, biology, biomedicine, ecology, neuroscience and the social and political sciences. Essential reading for students and researchers in philosophy of science and philosophy the _Handbook _will also be of interest to those in related fields, such as metaphysics, philosophy of psychology and history of science.
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