In Stuart Glennan & Phyllis Illari (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Mechanisms and Mechanical Philosophy. Routledge. pp. 144-156 (2018)

Authors
Stathis Psillos
University of Athens
Stavros Ioannidis
University of Athens
Abstract
In this chapter we examine the relation between mechanisms and laws/counterfactuals by revisiting the main notions of mechanism found in the literature. We distinguish between two different conceptions of ‘mechanism’: mechanisms-of underlie or constitute a causal process; mechanisms-for are complex systems that function so as to produce a certain behavior. According to some mechanists, a mechanism fulfills both of these roles simultaneously. The main argument of the chapter is that there is an asymmetrical dependence between both kinds of mechanisms and laws/counterfactuals: while some laws and counterfactuals must be taken as primitive (non-mechanistic) facts of the world, all mechanisms depend on laws/counterfactuals.
Keywords mechanisms  counterfactuals  laws of nature  causation
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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.
Nature’s Metaphysics.Alexander Bird - 2007 - Oxford University Press.
What is a Law of Nature?D. M. Armstrong - 1983 - Cambridge University Press.

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Citations of this work BETA

Mechanisms in Practice: A Methodological Approach.Stavros Ioannidis & Stathis Psillos - 2018 - Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice 24 (5):1177-1183.

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