What is a mechanism? A counterfactual account

Proceedings of the Philosophy of Science Association 2002 (3):S366-S377 (2002)
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Abstract

This paper presents a counterfactual account of what a mechanism is. Mechanisms consist of parts, the behavior of which conforms to generalizations that are invariant under interventions, and which are modular in the sense that it is possible in principle to change the behavior of one part independently of the others. Each of these features can be captured by the truth of certain counterfactuals

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2009-01-28

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James Woodward
University of Pittsburgh

Citations of this work

What is a mechanism? Thinking about mechanisms across the sciences.Phyllis Illari & Jon Williamson - 2012 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 2 (1):119-135.
Natural Kindness.Matthew H. Slater - 2015 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 66 (2):375-411.
Systems biology and the integration of mechanistic explanation and mathematical explanation.Ingo Brigandt - 2013 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 44 (4):477-492.
Regularities and causality; generalizations and causal explanations.Jim Bogen - 2005 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 36 (2):397-420.

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References found in this work

Thinking about mechanisms.Peter Machamer, Lindley Darden & Carl F. Craver - 2000 - Philosophy of Science 67 (1):1-25.
Two concepts of causation.Ned Hall - 2004 - In John Collins, Ned Hall & Laurie Paul (eds.), Causation and Counterfactuals. MIT Press. pp. 225-276.
Explanation and invariance in the special sciences.James Woodward - 2000 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 51 (2):197-254.
Redundant causation.Michael McDermott - 1995 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 46 (4):523-544.

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