Mechanisms are Real and Local

In Phyllis McKay Illari, Federica Russo & Jon Williamson (eds.), Causality in the Sciences. Oxford University Press (2011)
Abstract
Mechanisms have become much-discussed, yet there is still no consensus on how to characterise them. In this paper, we start with something everyone is agreed on – that mechanisms explain – and investigate what constraints this imposes on our metaphysics of mechanisms. We examine two widely shared premises about how to understand mechanistic explanation: (1) that mechanistic explanation offers a welcome alternative to traditional laws-based explanation and (2) that there are two senses of mechanistic explanation that we call ‘epistemic explanation’ and ‘physical explanation’. We argue that mechanistic explanation requires that mechanisms are both real and local. We then go on to argue that real, local mechanisms require a broadly active metaphysics for mechanisms, such as a capacities metaphysics
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In Defence of Activities.Phyllis Illari & Jon Williamson - 2013 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 44 (1):69-83.
The Ontic Conception of Scientific Explanation.Cory Wright - 2015 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 54:20-30.
How Can Causal Explanations Explain?Jon Williamson - 2013 - Erkenntnis 78 (2):257-275.

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