Tropes as mechanisms

Foundations of Science 10 (4):371-393 (2005)
Abstract
This paper is an attempt to further our understanding of mechanisms conceived of as ontologically separable from laws. What opportunities are there for a mechanistic perspective to be independent of, or even more fundamental than, a law perspective? Advocates of the mechanistic view often play with the possibility of internal and external reliability, or with the paralleling possibilities of enforcing, counteracting, redirecting, etc., the mechanisms’ power to produce To further this discussion I adopt a trope ontology. It is independent of the notion of law, and can easily be adapted to account for such characteristics of mechanisms. The idea of tropes as mechanisms is worked out in some detail. According to the resulting picture, there is still an opportunity to link mechanisms and laws. But while the predominant law view conceives of mechanistic approaches as special kinds of law accounts, this study indicates that the converse may be true. Law accounts are special cases of mechanistic accounts, and they work only in those worlds where the mechanisms are of the right kind.
Keywords mechanisms  mechanistic explanation  tropes  Elster
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DOI 10.1007/s10699-004-5247-0
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References found in this work BETA
How the Laws of Physics Lie.Nancy Cartwright - 1983 - Oxford University Press.
Thinking About Mechanisms.Peter K. Machamer, Lindley Darden & Carl F. Craver - 2000 - Philosophy of Science 67 (1):1-25.
Social Theory and Social Structure.Robert K. Merton - 1961 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 11 (44):345-346.

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Citations of this work BETA
The Ontology of Things, Properties and Powers.Steve Fleetwood - 2009 - Journal of Critical Realism 8 (3):343-366.
Compartment Causation.Johannes Persson - 2006 - Synthese 149 (3):535-550.

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