Mechanismic Approaches to Explanation in Ecology

In Mario Augusto Bunge, Michael R. Matthews, Guillermo M. Denegri, Eduardo L. Ortiz, Heinz W. Droste, Alberto Cordero, Pierre Deleporte, María Manzano, Manuel Crescencio Moreno, Dominique Raynaud, Íñigo Ongay de Felipe, Nicholas Rescher, Richard T. W. Arthur, Rögnvaldur D. Ingthorsson, Evandro Agazzi, Ingvar Johansson, Joseph Agassi, Nimrod Bar-Am, Alberto Cupani, Gustavo E. Romero, Andrés Rivadulla, Art Hobson, Olival Freire Junior, Peter Slezak, Ignacio Morgado-Bernal, Marta Crivos, Leonardo Ivarola, Andreas Pickel, Russell Blackford, Michael Kary, A. Z. Obiedat, Carolina I. García Curilaf, Rafael González del Solar, Luis Marone, Javier Lopez de Casenave, Francisco Yannarella, Mauro A. E. Chaparro, José Geiser Villavicencio- Pulido, Martín Orensanz, Jean-Pierre Marquis, Reinhard Kahle, Ibrahim A. Halloun, José María Gil, Omar Ahmad, Byron Kaldis, Marc Silberstein, Carolina I. García Curilaf, Rafael González del Solar, Javier Lopez de Casenave, Íñigo Ongay de Felipe & Villavicencio-Pulid (eds.), Mario Bunge: A Centenary Festschrift. Springer Verlag. pp. 555-573 (2019)
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Abstract

The search for mechanisms has been a common practice in scientific research. However, since the empiricist critique of causality, and especially during the second third of the twentieth century, other non-mechanistic perspectives—especially deductivism—gained predominance. But the sustained effort of authors such as Michael Scriven, Mario Bunge and especially Wesley Salmon contributed to restoring the respectability of causality and mechanisms in philosophy of science. Some members of the causal family, usually lumped under the name of “new mechanistic philosophy”, emphasize the description of mechanisms, especially causal ones, as a central aspect of explanation and other research practices in several areas of science. This approach offers viable solutions to the various ontological and methodological objections that are opposed to the two traditional approaches. In this work the basic characteristics of three philosophies that highlight the description of mechanisms as a central element to explanation and their suitability for the science of ecology are discussed.

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Rafael Gonzalez Del Solar
Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (PhD)

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