Axiomathes 25 (1):5-22 (2015)

Abstract
In this paper I address the current debate on ontic versus epistemic conceptualizations of mechanistic explanation in the mechanisms literature. Illari recently argued that good explanations are subject to both ontic and epistemic constraints: they must describe mechanisms in the world in such fashion that they provide understanding of their workings. Elaborating upon Illari’s ‘integration’ account, I argue that causal role function discovery of mechanisms and their components is an epistemic prerequisite for achieving these two aims. This analysis extends Illari’s account in important ways, putting more pressure on ontic readings of mechanistic explanation and providing an answer to the question how ontic and epistemic constraints on mechanistic explanation are related. I argue these point in terms of cases on memory research drawn from neuroscience and research on extinct neurogenetic mechanisms from early nervous systems biology
Keywords Mechanistic explanation  Ontic  Epistemic  Causal role function  Explanatory power
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DOI 10.1007/s10516-014-9243-x
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References found in this work BETA

Thinking About Mechanisms.Peter Machamer, Lindley Darden & Carl F. Craver - 2000 - Philosophy of Science 67 (1):1-25.
Explanation: A Mechanist Alternative.William Bechtel - 2005 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Biol and Biomed Sci 36 (2):421--441.

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Citations of this work BETA

The Ontic Conception of Scientific Explanation.Cory Wright - 2015 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 54:20-30.
Ontic Explanation Is Either Ontic or Explanatory, but Not Both.Cory Wright & Dingmar van Eck - 2018 - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 5:997–1029.
What Can Polysemy Tell Us About Theories of Explanation?Maria Şerban - 2017 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 7 (1):41-56.

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Mechanisms Are Real and Local.Phyllis McKay Illari & Jon Williamson - 2011 - In Phyllis McKay Illari, Federica Russo & Jon Williamson (eds.), Causality in the Sciences. Oxford University Press.
Mechanistic Explanation Without the Ontic Conception.Cory Wright - 2012 - European Journal of Philosophy of Science 2 (3):375-394.
What's Wrong with the Pragmatic-Ontic Account of Mechanistic Explanation?Alexander Reutlinger - 2011 - In Dennis Dieks, Wenceslao Gonzalo, Thomas Uebel, Stephan Hartmann & Marcel Weber (eds.), Explanation, Prediction, and Confirmation. Springer. pp. 141--152.

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