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  1. 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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  2. Defending Pluralism About Compositional Explanations.Kenneth Aizawa & Carl Gillett - 2019 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 78:101202.
    In the New Mechanist literature, most attention has focused on the compositional explanation of processes/activities of wholes by processes/activities of their parts. These are sometimes called “constitutive mechanistic explanations.” In this paper, we defend moving beyond this focus to a Pluralism about compositional explanation by highlighting two additional species of such explanations. We illuminate both Analytic compositional explanations that explain a whole using a compositional relation to its parts, and also Standing compositional explanations that explain a property of a whole (...)
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  3. Mutual Manipulability and Causal Inbetweenness.Totte Harinen - 2018 - Synthese 195 (1):35-54.
    Carl Craver’s mutual manipulability criterion aims to pick out all and only those components of a mechanism that are constitutively relevant with respect to a given phenomenon. In devising his criterion, Craver has made heavy use of the notion of an ideal intervention, which is a tool for illuminating causal concepts in causal models. The problem is that typical mechanistic models contain non-causal relations in addition to causal ones, which is why the standard concept of an ideal intervention is not (...)
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  4. Diversifying the Picture of Explanations in Biological Sciences: Ways of Combining Topology with Mechanisms.Philippe Huneman - 2018 - Synthese 195 (1):115-146.
    Besides mechanistic explanations of phenomena, which have been seriously investigated in the last decade, biology and ecology also include explanations that pinpoint specific mathematical properties as explanatory of the explanandum under focus. Among these structural explanations, one finds topological explanations, and recent science pervasively relies on them. This reliance is especially due to the necessity to model large sets of data with no practical possibility to track the proper activities of all the numerous entities. The paper first defines topological explanations (...)
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  5. Mechanisms and Relations.Michele Paolini Paoletti - 2018 - 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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  6. Mechanistic Levels, Reduction, and Emergence.Mark Povich & Carl F. Craver - 2017 - In Stuart Glennan & Phyllis McKay Illari (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Mechanisms and Mechanical Philosophy. Routledge. pp. 185-97.
    We sketch the mechanistic approach to levels, contrast it with other senses of “level,” and explore some of its metaphysical implications. This perspective allows us to articulate what it means for things to be at different levels, to distinguish mechanistic levels from realization relations, and to describe the structure of multilevel explanations, the evidence by which they are evaluated, and the scientific unity that results from them. This approach is not intended to solve all metaphysical problems surrounding physicalism. Yet it (...)
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  7. Developing the Explanatory Dimensions of Part–Whole Realization.Ronald Endicott - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (12):3347-3368.
    I use Carl Gillett’s much heralded dimensioned theory of realization as a platform to develop a plausible part–whole theory. I begin with some basic desiderata for a theory of realization that its key terms should be defined and that it should be explanatory. I then argue that Gillett’s original theory violates these conditions because its explanatory force rests upon an unspecified “in virtue of” relation. I then examine Gillett’s later version that appeals instead to theoretical terms tied to “mechanisms.” Yet (...)
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  8. Compositional Explanatory Relations and Mechanistic Reduction.Kari L. Theurer - 2013 - Minds and Machines 23 (3):287-307.
    Recently, some mechanists have embraced reductionism and some reductionists have endorsed mechanism. However, the two camps disagree sharply about the extent to which mechanistic explanation is a reductionistic enterprise. Reductionists maintain that cellular and molecular mechanisms can explain mental phenomena without necessary appeal to higher-level mechanisms. Mechanists deny this claim. I argue that this dispute turns on whether reduction is a transitive relation. I show that it is. Therefore, mechanistic explanations at the cellular and molecular level explain mental phenomena. I (...)
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  9. Identity, Reduction, and Conserved Mechanisms: Perspectives From Circadian Rhythm Research.William Bechtel - 2012 - In Hill Christopher & Gozzano Simone (eds.), New Perspectives on Type Identity: The Mental and the Physical. Cambridge University Press. pp. 43.
  10. Flat Versus Dimensioned: The What and the How of Functional Realization.Ronald P. Endicott - 2011 - Journal of Philosophical Research 36:191-208.
    I resolve an argument over “flat” versus “dimensioned” theories of realization. The theories concern, in part, whether realized and realizing properties are instantiated by the same individual (the flat theory) or different individuals in a part-whole relationship (the dimensioned theory). Carl Gillett has argued that the two views conflict, and that flat theories should be rejected on grounds that they fail to capture scientific cases involving a dimensioned relation between individuals and their constituent parts. I argue on the contrary that (...)
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  11. Realization, Determination, and Mechanisms.Matthew C. Haug - 2010 - Philosophical Studies 150 (3):313-330.
    Several philosophers (e.g., Ehring (Nous (Detroit, Mich.) 30:461–480, 1996 ); Funkhouser (Nous (Detroit, Mich.) 40:548–569, 2006 ); Walter (Canadian Journal of Philosophy 37:217–244, 2007 ) have argued that there are metaphysical differences between the determinable-determinate relation and the realization relation between mental and physical properties. Others have challenged this claim (e.g., Wilson (Philosophical Studies, 2009 ). In this paper, I argue that there are indeed such differences and propose a “mechanistic” account of realization that elucidates why these differences hold. This (...)
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  12. Mechanisms and Explanatory Realization Relations.Thomas W. Polger - 2010 - Synthese 177 (2):193 - 212.
    My topic is the confluence of two recently active philosophical research programs. One research program concerns the metaphysics of realization. The other research program concerns scientific explanation in terms of mechanisms. In this paper I introduce a distinction between descriptive and explanatory approaches to realization. I then use this distinction to argue that a well-known account of realization, due to Carl Gillett, is incompatible with a well-known account of mechanistic explanation, due to Peter Machamer, Lindley Darden, and Carl Craver (MDC, (...)
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  13. Understanding the Dimensions of Realization.Lawrence A. Shapiro - 2008 - Journal of Philosophy 105 (4):213-222.
    Carl Gillett has defended what he calls the “dimensioned” view of the realization relation, which he contrasts with the traditional “flat” view of realization (2003, 2007; see also Gillett 2002). Intuitively, the dimensioned approach characterizes realization in terms of composition whereas the flat approach views realization in terms of occupiers of functional roles. Elsewhere we have argued that the general view of realization and multiple realization that Gillett advances is not able to discharge the theoretical duties of those relations (Shapiro (...)
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  14. Constitutive Explanatory Relevance.Carl Craver - 2007 - Journal of Philosophical Research 32:3-20.
    In what sense are the activities and properties of components in a mechanism explanatorily relevant to the behavior of a mechanism as a whole? I articulate this problem, the problem of constitutive relevance, and I show that it must be solved if we are to understand mechanisms and mechanistic explanation. I argue against some putative solutions to the problem of constitutive relevance, and I sketch a positive account according to which relevance is analyzed in terms ofrelationships of mutual manipulability between (...)
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  15. Constitutive Explanatory Relevance.Carl Craver - 2007 - Journal of Philosophical Research 32:3-20.
    In what sense are the activities and properties of components in a mechanism explanatorily relevant to the behavior of a mechanism as a whole? I articulate this problem, the problem of constitutive relevance, and I show that it must be solved if we are to understand mechanisms and mechanistic explanation. I argue against some putative solutions to the problem of constitutive relevance, and I sketch a positive account according to which relevance is analyzed in terms ofrelationships of mutual manipulability between (...)
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  16. Explaining the Brain: Mechanisms and the Mosaic Unity of Neuroscience.Carl F. Craver - 2007 - Oxford University Press, Clarendon Press.
    Carl Craver investigates what we are doing when we sue neuroscience to explain what's going on in the brain.
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  17. A Mechanist Manifesto for the Philosophy of Mind: A Third Way for Functionalists.Carl Gillett - 2007 - Journal of Philosophical Research 32:21-42.
    One of the main early forms of “functionalism,” developed by writers like Jerry Fodor and William Lycan, focused on “mechanistic” explanation in the special sciences and argued that “functional properties” in psychology were continuous in nature with the special science properties posited in such mechanistic explanations. I dub the latter position“Continuity Functionalism” and use it to critically examine the “Standard Picture” of the metaphysics of functionalism which takes “functional” properties to be second-order properties and claims there are two metaphysical forms (...)
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  18. A Mechanist Manifesto for the Philosophy of Mind: A Third Way for Functionalists.Carl Gillett - 2007 - Journal of Philosophical Research 32:21-42.
    One of the main early forms of “functionalism,” developed by writers like Jerry Fodor and William Lycan, focused on “mechanistic” explanation in the special sciences and argued that “functional properties” in psychology were continuous in nature with the special science properties posited in such mechanistic explanations. I dub the latter position“Continuity Functionalism” and use it to critically examine the “Standard Picture” of the metaphysics of functionalism which takes “functional” properties to be second-order properties and claims there are two metaphysical forms (...)
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  19. Understanding the New Reductionism: The Metaphysics of Science and Compositional Reduction.Carl Gillett - 2007 - Journal of Philosophy 104 (4):193-216.
  20. Realization and the Metaphysics of Mind.Thomas W. Polger - 2007 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 85 (2):233 – 259.
    According to the received view in philosophy of mind, mental states or properties are _realized_ by brain states or properties but are not identical to them. This view is often called _realization_ _physicalism_. Carl Gillett has recently defended a detailed formulation of the realization relation. However, Gillett’s formulation cannot be the relation that realization physicalists have in mind. I argue that Gillett’s “dimensioned” view of realization fails to apply to a textbook case of realization. I also argue Gillett counts as (...)
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  21. Realization.Carl F. Craver & Robert A. Wilson - 2006 - In P. Thagard (ed.), Handbook of the Philosophy of Psychology and Cognitive Science. Elsevier.
    For the greater part of the last 50 years, it has been common for philosophers of mind and cognitive scientists to invoke the notion of realization in discussing the relationship between the mind and the brain. In traditional philosophy of mind, mental states are said to be realized, instantiated, or implemented in brain states. Artificial intelligence is sometimes described as the attempt either to model or to actually construct systems that realize some of the same psychological abilities that we and (...)
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  22. Nonreductive Realization and Nonreductive Identity: What Physicalism Does Not Entail.Carl Gillett - 2003 - In Sven Walter & Heinz-Dieter Heckmann (eds.), Physicalism and Mental Causation. Imprint Academic. pp. 31.
  23. The Metaphysics of Realization, Multiple Realizability, and the Special Sciences.Carl Gillett - 2003 - Journal of Philosophy 100 (11):591-603.
  24. Interlevel Experiments and Multilevel Mechanisms in the Neuroscience of Memory.Carl F. Craver - 2002 - Philosophy of Science 69 (S3):S83-S97.
    The dominant neuroscientific theory of spatial memory is, like many theories in neuroscience, a multilevel description of a mechanism. The theory links the activities of molecules, cells, brain regions, and whole organisms into an integrated sketch of an explanation for the ability of organisms to navigate novel environments. Here I develop a taxonomy of interlevel experimental strategies for integrating the levels in such multilevel mechanisms. These experimental strategies include activation strategies, interference strategies, and additive strategies. These strategies are mutually reinforcing, (...)
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  25. The Dimensions of Realization: A Critique of the Standard View.Carl Gillett - 2002 - Analysis 62 (4):316-323.
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  26. Role Functions, Mechanisms, and Hierarchy.Carl F. Craver - 2001 - Philosophy of Science 68 (1):53-74.
    Many areas of science develop by discovering mechanisms and role functions. Cummins' (1975) analysis of role functions-according to which an item's role function is a capacity of that item that appears in an analytic explanation of the capacity of some containing system-captures one important sense of "function" in the biological sciences and elsewhere. Here I synthesize Cummins' account with recent work on mechanisms and causal/mechanical explanation. The synthesis produces an analysis of specifically mechanistic role functions, one that uses the characteristic (...)
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  27. Functional Analysis.Robert Cummins - 1975 - Journal of Philosophy 72 (November):741-64.