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  1. Principled Mechanistic Explanations in Biology: A Case Study of Alzheimer's Disease.Sepehr Ehsani - manuscript
    Following an analysis of the state of investigations and clinical outcomes in the Alzheimer's research field, I argue that the widely-accepted 'amyloid cascade' mechanistic explanation of Alzheimer's disease appears to be fundamentally incomplete. In this context, I propose that a framework termed 'principled mechanism' (PM) can help with remedying this problem. First, using a series of five 'tests', PM systematically compares different components of a given mechanistic explanation against a paradigmatic set of criteria, and hints at various ways of making (...)
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  2. Mechanistic Explanation without Mechanisms.John Matthewson & Brett Calcott - manuscript
    We provide an account of mechanistic representation and explanation that has several advantages over previous proposals. In our view, explaining mechanistically is not simply giving an explanation of a mechanism. Rather, an explanation is mechanistic because of particular relations that hold between a mechanical representation, or model, and the target of explanation. Under this interpretation, mechanistic explanation is possible even when the explanatory target is not a mechanism. We argue that taking this view is not only coherent and plausible, it (...)
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  3. Narrative Explanations: The Case for Causality.Georg Gangl - forthcoming - Journal of the Philosophy of History 13:1-25.
    In this paper I argue that historiography employs causal narrative explanations just as other historical sciences such as evolutionary biology or paleontology do. There is a logic of explanation common to all these sciences that centers on causal explanation of unique and unrepeatable events. The explanandum of historiography can further be understood as mechanism in the sense developed by Stuart Glennan and others in recent years. However, causal explanation is not the only way historiography relates to the past. Arthur Danto (...)
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  4. Discovering Patterns: On the Norms of Mechanistic Inquiry.Lena Kästner & Philipp Haueis - forthcoming - Erkenntnis 3:1-26.
    What kinds of norms constrain mechanistic discovery and explanation? In the mechanistic literature, the norms for good explanations are directly derived from answers to the metaphysical question of what explanations are. Prominent mechanistic accounts thus emphasize either ontic or epistemic norms. Still, mechanistic philosophers on both sides agree that there is no sharp distinction between the processes of discovery and explanation. Thus, it seems reasonable to expect that ontic and epistemic accounts of explanation will be accompanied by ontic and epistemic (...)
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  5. Decoupling Topological Explanations from Mechanisms.Daniel Kostic & Kareem Khalifa - forthcoming - Philosophy of Science:1-39.
    We provide three innovations to recent debates about whether topological or “network” explanations are a species of mechanistic explanation. First, we more precisely characterize the requirement that all topological explanations are mechanistic explanations and show scientific practice to belie such a requirement. Second, we provide an account that unifies mechanistic and non-mechanistic topological explanations, thereby enriching both the mechanist and autonomist programs by highlighting when and where topological explanations are mechanistic. Third, we defend this view against some powerful mechanist objections. (...)
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  6. The Unconscious Mind Worry: A Mechanistic-Explanatory Strategy.Beate Krickel - forthcoming - Philosophy of Science:1-45.
    Recent findings in different areas of psychology and cognitive science have brought the discussion of the unconscious mind back to center stage. However, the unconscious mind worry remains: What renders unconscious phenomena mental? In the present paper, I will suggest a new strategy for answering this question. This strategy rests on the idea that categorizing unconscious phenomena as “mental” should come out as scientifically useful relative to the explanatory goals of unconscious mind research. I will argue that this is the (...)
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  7. Mechanistic Explanation in Psychology.Mark Povich - forthcoming - In Hank Stam & Huib Looren De Jong (eds.), The SAGE Handbook of Theoretical Psychology. (Eds.) Hank Stam and Huib Looren de Jong. Sage.
    Philosophers of psychology debate, among other things, which psychological models, if any, are (or provide) mechanistic explanations. This should seem a little strange given that there is rough consensus on the following two claims: 1) a mechanism is an organized collection of entities and activities that produces, underlies, or maintains a phenomenon, and 2) a mechanistic explanation describes, represents, or provides information about the mechanism producing, underlying, or maintaining the phenomenon to be explained (i.e. the explanandum phenomenon) (Bechtel and Abrahamsen (...)
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  8. Modelling mechanisms of democratic transition in the Arab uprisings.Bertold Schweitzer - forthcoming - Middle East Critique 24 (1).
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  9. Control Mechanisms: Explaining the Integration and Versatility of Biological Organisms.Leonardo Bich & William Bechtel - 2022 - Adaptive Behavior.
    Living organisms act as integrated wholes to maintain themselves. Individual actions can each be explained by characterizing the mechanisms that perform the activity. But these alone do not explain how various activities are coordinated and performed versatilely. We argue that this depends on a specific type of mechanism, a control mechanism. We develop an account of control by examining several extensively studied control mechanisms operative in the bacterium E. coli. On our analysis, what distinguishes a control mechanism from other mechanisms (...)
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  10. Organization needs organization: Understanding integrated control in living organisms.Leonardo Bich & William Bechtel - 2022 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 93:96-106.
    Organization figures centrally in the understanding of biological systems advanced by both new mechanists and proponents of the autonomy framework. The new mechanists focus on how components of mechanisms are organized to produce a phenomenon and emphasize productive continuity between these components. The autonomy framework focuses on how the components of a biological system are organized in such a way that they contribute to the maintenance of the organisms that produce them. In this paper we analyze and compare these two (...)
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  11. Review of Levels of Organization in the Biological Sciences edited by Dan Brooks, James DiFrisco, and William Wimsatt. [REVIEW]Ingo Brigandt - 2022 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie: doi:10.1007/s10838-022-09632-3.
  12. A Causal Bayes Net Analysis of Glennan’s Mechanistic Account of Higher-Level Causation.Alexander Gebharter - 2022 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 73 (1):185-210.
    One of Stuart Glennan's most prominent contributions to the new mechanist debate consists in his reductive analysis of higher-level causation in terms of mechanisms (Glennan, 1996). In this paper I employ the causal Bayes net framework to reconstruct his analysis. This allows for specifying general assumptions which have to be satis ed to get Glennan's approach working. I show that once these assumptions are in place, they imply (against the background of the causal Bayes net machinery) that higher-level causation indeed (...)
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  13. Mechanisms in Science: Method or Metaphysics?Stavros Ioannidis & Stathis Psillos - 2022 - New York, NY, USA: Cambridge University Press.
    In recent years what has come to be called the 'New Mechanism' has emerged as a framework for thinking about the philosophical assumptions underlying many areas of science, especially in sciences such as biology, neuroscience, and psychology. This book offers a fresh look at the role of mechanisms, by situating novel analyses of central philosophical issues related to mechanisms within a rich historical perspective of the concept of mechanism as well as detailed case studies of biological mechanisms. It develops a (...)
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  14. Topological Explanations: An Opinionated Appraisal.Daniel Kostić - 2022 - In I. Lawler, E. Shech & K. Khalifa (eds.), Scientific Understanding and Representation: Modeling in the Physical Sciences. Routledge. pp. 96-115.
    This chapter provides a systematic overview of topological explanations in the philosophy of science literature. It does so by presenting an account of topological explanation that I (Kostić and Khalifa 2021; Kostić 2020a; 2020b; 2018) have developed in other publications and then comparing this account to other accounts of topological explanation. Finally, this appraisal is opinionated because it highlights some problems in alternative accounts of topological explanations, and also it outlines responses to some of the main criticisms raised by the (...)
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  15. Homeostatic Property Cluster Theory without Homeostatic Mechanisms: Two Recent Attempts and their Costs.Yukinori Onishi & Davide Serpico - 2022 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie (N/A):61-82.
    The homeostatic property cluster theory is widely influential for its ability to account for many natural-kind terms in the life sciences. However, the notion of homeostatic mechanism has never been fully explicated. In 2009, Carl Craver interpreted the notion in the sense articulated in discussions on mechanistic explanation and pointed out that the HPC account equipped with such notion invites interest-relativity. In this paper, we analyze two recent refinements on HPC: one that avoids any reference to the causes of the (...)
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  16. Philosophy of science in practice in ecological model building.Luana Poliseli, Jeferson G. E. Coutinho, Blandina Viana, Federica Russo & Charbel N. El-Hani - 2022 - Biology and Philosophy 37 (4):0-0.
    This article addresses the contributions of the literature on the new mechanistic philosophy of science for the scientific practice of model building in ecology. This is reflected in a one-to-one interdisciplinary collaboration between an ecologist and a philosopher of science during science-in-the-making. We argue that the identification, reconstruction and understanding of mechanisms is context-sensitive, and for this case study mechanistic modeling did not present a normative role but a heuristic one. We expect our study to provides useful epistemic tools for (...)
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  17. Minds in the Metaverse: Extended Cognition Meets Mixed Reality.Paul Smart - 2022 - Philosophy and Technology 35 (4):1–29.
    Examples of extended cognition typically involve the use of technologically low-grade bio-external resources. The present paper describes a putative case of extended cognizing based around a technologically advanced mixed reality device, namely, the Microsoft HoloLens. The case is evaluated from the standpoint of a mechanistic perspective. In particular, it is suggested that a combination of organismic and extra-organismic resources form part of a common mechanism that realizes a bona fide cognitive routine. In addition to demonstrating how the theoretical resources of (...)
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  18. Toward a Mechanistic Account of Extended Cognition.Paul R. Smart - 2022 - Philosophical Psychology 35 (8):1107-1135.
    There have been a number of attempts to apply mechanism-related concepts to the notion of extended cognition. Such accounts appeal to the idea that extended cognitive routines are realized by mechanisms that transcend some salient border or boundary. The present paper describes some of the challenges confronting the effort to develop a mechanistic account of extended cognition. In particular, it describes five problems that must be resolved if we are to make sense of the idea that extended cognition can be (...)
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  19. Phenomenal transparency and the extended mind.Paul Smart, Gloria Andrada & Robert William Clowes - 2022 - Synthese 200 (4):1-25.
    Proponents of the extended mind have suggested that phenomenal transparency may be important to the way we evaluate putative cases of cognitive extension. In particular, it has been suggested that in order for a bio-external resource to count as part of the machinery of the mind, it must qualify as a form of transparent equipment or transparent technology. The present paper challenges this claim. It also challenges the idea that phenomenological properties can be used to settle disputes regarding the constitutional (...)
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  20. Revisiting abstraction and idealization: how not to criticize mechanistic explanation in molecular biology.Martin Zach - 2022 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 12 (1):1-20.
    Abstraction and idealization are the two notions that are most often discussed in the context of assumptions employed in the process of model building. These notions are also routinely used in philosophical debates such as that on the mechanistic account of explanation. Indeed, an objection to the mechanistic account has recently been formulated precisely on these grounds: mechanists cannot account for the common practice of idealizing difference-making factors in models in molecular biology. In this paper I revisit the debate and (...)
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  21. Mechanism, autonomy and biological explanation.Leonardo Bich & William Bechtel - 2021 - Biology and Philosophy 36 (6):1-27.
    The new mechanists and the autonomy approach both aim to account for how biological phenomena are explained. One identifies appeals to how components of a mechanism are organized so that their activities produce a phenomenon. The other directs attention towards the whole organism and focuses on how it achieves self-maintenance. This paper discusses challenges each confronts and how each could benefit from collaboration with the other: the new mechanistic framework can gain by taking into account what happens outside individual mechanisms, (...)
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  22. First principles in the life sciences: the free-energy principle, organicism, and mechanism.Matteo Colombo & Cory Wright - 2021 - Synthese 198 (14):3463–3488.
    The free-energy principle states that all systems that minimize their free energy resist a tendency to physical disintegration. Originally proposed to account for perception, learning, and action, the free-energy principle has been applied to the evolution, development, morphology, anatomy and function of the brain, and has been called a postulate, an unfalsifiable principle, a natural law, and an imperative. While it might afford a theoretical foundation for understanding the relationship between environment, life, and mind, its epistemic status is unclear. Also (...)
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  23. Constitutive relevance & mutual manipulability revisited.Carl F. Craver, Stuart Glennan & Mark Povich - 2021 - Synthese 199 (3-4):8807-8828.
    An adequate understanding of the ubiquitous practice of mechanistic explanation requires an account of what Craver termed “constitutive relevance.” Entities or activities are constitutively relevant to a phenomenon when they are parts of the mechanism responsible for that phenomenon. Craver’s mutual manipulability account extended Woodward’s account of manipulationist counterfactuals to analyze how interlevel experiments establish constitutive relevance. Critics of MM argue that applying Woodward’s account to this philosophical problem conflates causation and constitution, thus rendering the account incoherent. These criticisms, we (...)
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  24. Wishful Intelligibility, Black Boxes, and Epidemiological Explanation.Marina DiMarco - 2021 - Philosophy of Science 88 (5):824-834.
    Epidemiological explanation often has a “black box” character, meaning the intermediate steps between cause and effect are unknown. Filling in black boxes is thought to improve causal inferences by making them intelligible. I argue that adding information about intermediate causes to a black box explanation is an unreliable guide to pragmatic intelligibility because it may mislead us about the stability of a cause. I diagnose a problem that I call wishful intelligibility, which occurs when scientists misjudge the limitations of certain (...)
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  25. Toward Mechanism 2.1: A Dynamic Causal Approach.Wei Fang - 2021 - Philosophy of Science 88 (5):796-809.
    I propose a dynamic causal approach to characterizing the notion of a mechanism. Levy and Bechtel, among others, have pointed out several critical limitations of the new mechanical philosophy, and pointed in a new direction to extend this philosophy. Nevertheless, they have not fully fleshed out what that extended philosophy would look like. Based on a closer look at neuroscientific practice, I propose that a mechanism is a dynamic causal system that involves various components interacting, typically nonlinearly, with one another (...)
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  26. Mechanistic Explanation in Physics.Laura Felline - 2021 - In Eleanor Knox & Alastair Wilson (eds.), The Routledge Companion for Philosophy of Physics. Routledge.
    The idea at the core of the New Mechanical account of explanation can be summarized in the claim that explaining means showing ‘how things work’. This simple motto hints at three basic features of Mechanistic Explanation (ME): ME is an explanation-how, that implies the description of the processes underlying the phenomenon to be explained and of the entities that engage in such processes. These three elements trace a fundamental contrast with the view inherited from Hume and later from strict logical (...)
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  27. Mechanistic Computational Individuation without Biting the Bullet.Nir Fresco & Marcin Miłkowski - 2021 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 72 (2):431-438.
    Is the mathematical function being computed by a given physical system determined by the system’s dynamics? This question is at the heart of the indeterminacy of computation phenomenon (Fresco et al. [unpublished]). A paradigmatic example is a conventional electrical AND-gate that is often said to compute conjunction, but it can just as well be used to compute disjunction. Despite the pervasiveness of this phenomenon in physical computational systems, it has been discussed in the philosophical literature only indirectly, mostly with reference (...)
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  28. Explanation in Evo-Devo.Marie I. Kaiser - 2021 - In L. N. de la Rosa & G. B. Müller (eds.), Evolutionary Developmental Biology - A Reference Guide. Cham: Springer.
    Evo-devo is a multidisciplinary field that investigates the interplay between evolutionary and developmental processes and brings together different kinds of explanatory strategies. This chapter examines the structure of paradigmatic explanations in evo-devo (e.g., the explanation of the origin of an evolutionary novelty) and raises philosophical questions about explanation in evo-devo. Much research in evo-devo is concerned with studying the developmental mechanisms that constrain and facilitate phenotypic evolution, which suggests that a distinctive feature of evo-devo is that it constructs mechanistic explanations. (...)
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  29. Animism, Aristotelianism, and the Legacy of William Gilbert’s De Magnete.Jeff Kochan - 2021 - Perspectives on Science 29 (2):157-188.
    William Gilbert’s 1600 book, De magnete, greatly influenced early modern natural philosophy. The book describes an impressive array of physical experiments, but it also advances a metaphysical view at odds with the soon to emerge mechanical philosophy. That view was animism. I distinguish two kinds of animism – Aristotelian and Platonic – and argue that Gilbert was an Aristotelian animist. Taking Robert Boyle as an example, I then show that early modern arguments against animism were often effective only against Platonic (...)
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  30. Animism and natural teleology from Avicenna to Boyle.Jeff Kochan - 2021 - Science in Context 34 (1):1-23.
    Historians have claimed that the two closely related concepts of animism and natural teleology were both decisively rejected in the Scientific Revolution. They tout Robert Boyle as an early modern warden against pre-modern animism. Discussing Avicenna, Aquinas, and Buridan, as well as Renaissance psychology, I instead suggest that teleology went through a slow and uneven process of rationalization. As Neoplatonic theology gained influence over Aristotelian natural philosophy, the meaning of animism likewise grew obscure. Boyle, as some historians have shown, exemplifies (...)
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  31. Compare and Contrast: How to assess the completeness of mechanistic explanation.Matej Kohár & Beate Krickel - 2021 - In Fabrizio Calzavarini & Marco Viola (eds.), Neural Mechanisms - New Challenges in the Philosophy of Neuroscience. pp. 395-424.
    Opponents of the new mechanistic account of scientific explanation argue that the new mechanists are committed to a ‘More Details Are Better’ claim: adding details about the mechanism always improves an explanation. Due to this commitment, the mechanistic account cannot be descriptively adequate as actual scientific explanations usually leave out details about the mechanism. In reply to this objection, defenders of the new mechanistic account have highlighted that only adding relevant mechanistic details improves an explanation and that relevance is to (...)
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  32. Correction to: Reply to Cartwright, Pemberton, Wieten: “mechanisms, laws and explanation”.Beate Krickel - 2021 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 11 (3):1-2.
    A Correction to this paper has been published (changed to open access).
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  33. Mechanisms and Relations.Michele Paolini Paoletti - 2021 - Erkenntnis 86 (1):95-111.
    Mechanisms are organized collections of objects and activities that underlie certain phenomena/behaviours. In this article, I shall argue that the organizations of mechanisms should be thought of as external relations, namely, as relations that do not entirely depend on their relata’s existence, nor on their natures, nor on their intrinsic properties. After having introduced in the first two sections mechanisms and the ontology of relations, I shall analyse the organizations of mechanisms along four different dimensions: spatial, temporal, causal and hierarchical. (...)
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  34. Mechanisms and Consciousness: Integrating Phenomenology with Cognitive Science.Marek Pokropski - 2021 - Routledge.
    This book develops a new approach to naturalizing phenomenology. The author proposes to integrate phenomenology with the mechanistic framework that offers new methodological perspectives for studying complex mental phenomena such as consciousness. While mechanistic explanatory models are widely applied in cognitive science, their approach to describing subjective phenomena is limited. The author argues that phenomenology can fill this gap. He proposes two novel ways of integrating phenomenology and mechanism. First, he presents a new reading of phenomenological analyses as functional analyses. (...)
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  35. Context in Mechanism-Based Explanation.Gianluca Pozzoni & Tuukka Kaidesoja - 2021 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 51 (6):523-554.
    In this article, we discuss the issue of context-dependence of mechanism-based explanation in the social sciences. The different ways in which the context-dependence and context-independence of mechanism-based explanation have been understood in the social sciences are often motivated by different and apparently incompatible understandings of what explanatory mechanisms are. Instead, we suggest that the different varieties of context-dependence are best seen as corresponding to different research goals. Rather than conflicting with one another, these goals are complementary to each other and (...)
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  36. Applying mechanical philosophy to web science: The case of social machines.Paul R. Smart, Kieron O’Hara & Wendy Hall - 2021 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 11 (3):1-29.
    Social machines are a prominent focus of attention for those who work in the field of Web and Internet science. Although a number of online systems have been described as social machines, there is, as yet, little consensus as to the precise meaning of the term “social machine.” This presents a problem for the scientific study of social machines, especially when it comes to the provision of a theoretical framework that directs, informs, and explicates the scientific and engineering activities of (...)
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  37. Extended Computation: Wide Computationalism in Reverse.Paul Smart, Wendy Hall & Michael Boniface - 2021 - Proceedings of the 13th ACM Web Science Conference (Companion Volume).
    Arguments for extended cognition and the extended mind are typically directed at human-centred forms of cognitive extension—forms of cognitive extension in which the cognitive/mental states/processes of a given human individual are subject to a form of extended or wide realization. The same is true of debates and discussions pertaining to the possibility of Web-extended minds and Internet-based forms of cognitive extension. In this case, the focus of attention concerns the extent to which the informational and technological elements of the online (...)
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  38. Identifying the Explanatory Domain of the Looping Effect: Congruent and Incongruent Feedback Mechanisms of Interactive Kinds.Tuomas Vesterinen - 2021 - Journal of Social Ontology 6 (2):1-27.
    Winner of the 2020 Essay Competition of the International Social Ontology Society. -/- Ian Hacking uses the looping effect to describe how classificatory practices in the human sciences interact with the classified people. While arguably this interaction renders the affected human kinds unstable and hence different from natural kinds, realists argue that also some prototypical natural kinds are interactive and human kinds in general are stable enough to support explanations and predictions. I defend a more fine-grained realist interpretation of interactive (...)
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  39. Econophysics: making sense of a chimera.Adrian K. Yee - 2021 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 11 (4):1-34.
    The history of economic thought witnessed several prominent economists who took seriously models and concepts in physics for the elucidation and prediction of economic phenomena. Econophysics is an emerging discipline at the intersection of heterodox economics and the physics of complex systems, with practitioners typically engaged in two overlapping but distinct methodological programs. The first is to export mathematical methods used in physics for the purposes of studying economic phenomena. The second is to export mechanisms in physics into economics. A (...)
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  40. Horizontal Surgicality and Mechanistic Constitution.Michael Baumgartner, Lorenzo Casini & Beate Krickel - 2020 - Erkenntnis 85 (2):417-430.
    While ideal interventions are acknowledged by many as valuable tools for the analysis of causation, recent discussions have shown that, since there are no ideal interventions on upper-level phenomena that non-reductively supervene on their underlying mechanisms, interventions cannot—contrary to a popular opinion—ground an informative analysis of constitution. This has led some to abandon the project of analyzing constitution in interventionist terms. By contrast, this paper defines the notion of a horizontally surgical intervention, and argues that, when combined with some innocuous (...)
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  41. Enactivism, Causality, and Therapy.Shaun Gallagher - 2020 - Philosophy, Psychiatry, and Psychology 27 (1):27-28.
    In 1937, John Dewey delivered a lecture to the College of Physicians in Saint Louis. His clear message was that in the practice of medicine it does not suffice for physicians to treat just the body, or to look to just the body for the mechanism of disease. Emphasizing the relational nature of organism-environment, he argued that the physician must treat the whole patient and must therefore consider the environment of the patient. It makes no sense, he suggested, to provide (...)
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  42. Psychological Mechanisms.Ulrich Koch & Kelso Cratsley - 2020 - In V. Zeigler-Hill & T. Shackelford (eds.), Encyclopedia of Personality and Individual Differences.
  43. Extended Cognition, The New Mechanists’ Mutual Manipulability Criterion, and The Challenge of Trivial Extendedness.Beate Krickel - 2020 - Mind and Language 35 (4):539–561.
    Many authors have turned their attention to the notion of constitution to determine whether the hypothesis of extended cognition (EC) is true. One common strategy is to make sense of constitution in terms of the new mechanists’ mutual manipulability account (MM). In this paper I will show that MM is insufficient. The Challenge of Trivial Extendedness arises due to the fact that mechanisms for cognitive behaviors are extended in a way that should not count as verifying EC. This challenge can (...)
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  44. Reply to Cartwright, Pemberton, Wieten: “mechanisms, laws and explanation”.Beate Krickel - 2020 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 10 (3):1-9.
    Cartwright et al. in European Journal for Philosophy of Science, 10 and the new mechanists agree that regular behaviors described in cp laws are generated by mechanisms. However, there is disagreement with regard to the two questions that Cartwright at al. ask: the epistemological question and the ontological question. Most importantly, Cartwright et al. argue that the explanation involved is a CL-explanation, while the new mechanists insist that mechanistic explanation and CL-explanation are competitors. In this reply, I will highlight some (...)
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  45. Plurality of Explanatory Strategies in Biology: Mechanisms and Networks.Alvaro Moreno & Javier Suárez - 2020 - In Methodological Prospects for Scientific Research. pp. 141-165.
    Recent research in philosophy of science has shown that scientists rely on a plurality of strategies to develop successful explanations of different types of phenomena. In the case of biology, most of these strategies go far beyond the traditional and reductionistic models of scientific explanation that have proven so successful in the fundamental sciences. Concretely, in the last two decades, philosophers of science have discovered the existence of at least two different types of scientific explanation at work in the biological (...)
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  46. Integrated-structure emergence and its mechanistic explanation.Gil Santos - 2020 - Synthese 198 (9):8687-8711.
    This paper proposes an integrated-structure notion of interlevel emergence, from a dynamic relational ontological perspective. First, I will argue that only the individualist essentialism of atomistic metaphysics can block the possibility of interlevel emergence. Then I will show that we can make sense of emergence by recognizing the formation of structures of transformative and interdependent causal relations in the generation and development of a particular class of mereological complexes called integrated systems. Finally, I shall argue that even though the emergent (...)
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  47. Domenico Bertoloni Meli. Mechanism: A Visual, Lexical, and Conceptual History. xii + 188 pp., notes, bibl., index. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2019. $45 (cloth). E-book available. [REVIEW]John A. Schuster - 2020 - Isis 111 (3):666-667.
  48. Imagining Mechanisms with Diagrams.Benjamin Sheredos & William Bechtel - 2020 - In Arnon Levy & Peter Godfrey-Smith (eds.), The Scientific Imagination: Philosophical and Psychological Perspectives. Oxford University Press.
    Some proponents of mechanistic explanation downplay the significance of how-possibly explanations. We argue that developing accounts of mechanisms that could explain a phenomenon is an important aspect of scientific reasoning, one that involves imagination. Although appeals to imagination may seem to obscure the process of reasoning, we illustrate how, by examining diagrams we can gain insights into the construction of mechanistic explanations.
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  49. Artificial Economics.Paul Smart - 2020 - In Timothy Shanahan & Paul R. Smart (eds.), Blade Runner 2049: A Philosophical Exploration. Abingdon, UK: Routledge. pp. 185–205.
  50. Mechanist idealisation in systems biology.Dingmar van Eck & Cory Wright - 2020 - Synthese 199 (1-2):1555-1575.
    This paper adds to the philosophical literature on mechanistic explanation by elaborating two related explanatory functions of idealisation in mechanistic models. The first function involves explaining the presence of structural/organizational features of mechanisms by reference to their role as difference-makers for performance requirements. The second involves tracking counterfactual dependency relations between features of mechanisms and features of mechanistic explanandum phenomena. To make these functions salient, we relate our discussion to an exemplar from systems biological research on the mechanism for countering (...)
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