Making Sense of Interlevel Causation in Mechanisms from a Metaphysical Perspective

Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 48 (3):453-468 (2017)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

According to the new mechanistic approach, an acting entity is at a lower mechanistic level than another acting entity if and only if the former is a component in the mechanism for the latter. Craver and Bechtel :547–563, 2007. doi:10.1007/s10539-006-9028-8) argue that a consequence of this view is that there cannot be causal interactions between acting entities at different mechanistic levels. Their main reason seems to be what I will call the Metaphysical Argument: things at different levels of a mechanism are related as part and whole; wholes and their parts cannot be related as cause and effect; hence, interlevel causation in mechanisms is impossible. I will analyze this argument in more detail and show under which conditions it is valid. This analysis will reveal that interlevel causation in mechanisms is indeed possible, if we take seriously the idea that the relata of the mechanistic level relation are acting entities and accept a slightly modified notion of a mechanistic level that is highly plausible in the light of the first clarification.

Analytics

Added to PP
2017-05-26

Downloads
722 (#23,643)

6 months
108 (#43,404)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Beate Krickel
Technische Universität Berlin

Citations of this work

Saving the mutual manipulability account of constitutive relevance.Beate Krickel - 2018 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 68:58-67.
The Extended Mind: State of the Question.Shaun Gallagher - 2018 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 56 (4):421-447.
Minds in the Metaverse: Extended Cognition Meets Mixed Reality.Paul Smart - 2022 - Philosophy and Technology 35 (4):1–29.
Mechanistic explanation for enactive sociality.Ekaterina Abramova & Marc Slors - 2019 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 18 (2):401-424.

View all 9 citations / Add more citations

References found in this work

Explaining the brain: mechanisms and the mosaic unity of neuroscience.Carl F. Craver - 2007 - New York : Oxford University Press,: Oxford University Press, Clarendon Press.
Thinking about mechanisms.Peter Machamer, Lindley Darden & Carl F. Craver - 2000 - Philosophy of Science 67 (1):1-25.
Physicalism, or Something Near Enough.Jaegwon Kim - 2005 - Princeton University Press.
Causation.David Lewis - 1973 - Journal of Philosophy 70 (17):556-567.

View all 35 references / Add more references