In Vassilios Karakostas & Dennis Dieks (eds.), Epsa11 Perspectives and Foundational Problems in Philosophy of Science. Springer. pp. 69--80 (2013)

Petri Ylikoski
University of Helsinki
Jaakko Kuorikoski
University of Helsinki
Constitutivemechanisticexplanationsexplainapropertyofawholewith the properties of its parts and their organization. Carl Craver’s mutual manipulability criterion for constitutive relevance only captures the explanatory relevance of causal properties of parts and leaves the organization side of mechanistic explanation unaccounted for. We use the contrastive counterfactual theory of explanation and an account of the dimensions of organization to build a typology of organizational dependence. We analyse organizational explanations in terms of such dependencies and emphasize the importance of modular organizational motifs. We apply this framework to two cases from social science and systems biology, both fields in which organization plays a crucial explanatory role: agent-based simulations of residential segregation and the recent work on network motifs in transcription regulation networks.
Keywords explanation  organization  mechanisms
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