Can mechanisms really replace laws of nature?

Philosophy of Science 77 (3):317-340 (2010)
Abstract
Today, mechanisms and mechanistic explanation are very popular in philosophy of science and are deemed a welcome alternative to laws of nature and deductive‐nomological explanation. Starting from Mitchell's pragmatic notion of laws, I cast doubt on their status as a genuine alternative. I argue that (1) all complex‐systems mechanisms ontologically must rely on stable regularities, while (2) the reverse need not hold. Analogously, (3) models of mechanisms must incorporate pragmatic laws, while (4) such laws themselves need not always refer to underlying mechanisms. Finally, I show that Mitchell's account is more encompassing than the mechanistic account *Received August 2008; revised January 2010. †To contact the author, please write to: Centre for Logic and Philosophy of Science, Ghent University, Blandijnberg 2, B‐9000 Belgium; e‐mail: Bert.Leuridan@Ugent.be.
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DOI 10.1086/652959
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Three Problems for the Mutual Manipulability Account of Constitutive Relevance in Mechanisms.Bert Leuridan - 2012 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 63 (2):399-427.
Data Graphs and Mechanistic Explanation.Daniel C. Burnston - 2016 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 57:1-12.
A Theory of Non-Universal Laws.Alexander Reutlinger - 2011 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 25 (2):97 - 117.

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