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  1. Fictional mechanism explanations: clarifying explanatory holes in engineering science.Kristian González Barman - 2022 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 12 (2):1-19.
    This paper discusses a class of mechanistic explanations employed in engineering science where the activities and organization of nonstandard entities are cited as core factors responsible for failures. Given the use of mechanistic language by engineers and the manifestly mechanistic structure of these explanations, I consider several interpretations of these explanations within the new mechanical framework. I argue that these interpretations fail to solve several philosophical problems and propose an account of fictional mechanism explanations instead. According to this account, fictional (...)
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  • Six Theses on Mechanisms and Mechanistic Science.Stuart Glennan, Phyllis Illari & Erik Weber - 2022 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 53 (2):143-161.
    In this paper we identify six theses that constitute core results of philosophical investigation into the nature of mechanisms, and of the role that the search for and identification of mechanisms play in the sciences. These theses represent the fruits of the body of research that is now often called New Mechanism. We concisely present the main arguments for these theses. In the literature, these arguments are scattered and often implicit. Our analysis can guide future research in many ways: it (...)
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  • Aristotle on Microstructures and Capacities.Tiberiu Popa - 2022 - Ancient Philosophy Today 4 (1):46-72.
    A potentially illuminating aspect of Aristotle’s study of material properties that has been explored far less systematically and comprehensively than composition is his reliance on structural characteristics that are imperceptibly small, but presumably inferable, if not with certainty, at least with a high degree of confidence. This article is meant to elucidate that aspect and to answer three main questions: What is Aristotle’s general explanatory strategy when it comes to the relation between capacities and microstructures? How does he refine certain (...)
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  • 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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  • Mechanisms in Clinical Practice: Use and Justification.Mark R. Tonelli & Jon Williamson - 2020 - Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 23 (1):115-124.
    While the importance of mechanisms in determining causality in medicine is currently the subject of active debate, the role of mechanistic reasoning in clinical practice has received far less attention. In this paper we look at this question in the context of the treatment of a particular individual, and argue that evidence of mechanisms is indeed key to various aspects of clinical practice, including assessing population-level research reports, diagnostic as well as therapeutic decision making, and the assessment of treatment effects. (...)
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  • Functions and Mechanisms in Structural-Modelling Explanations.Guillaume Wunsch, Michel Mouchart & Federica Russo - 2014 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 45 (1):187-208.
    One way social scientists explain phenomena is by building structural models. These models are explanatory insofar as they manage to perform a recursive decomposition on an initial multivariate probability distribution, which can be interpreted as a mechanism. Explanations in social sciences share important aspects that have been highlighted in the mechanisms literature. Notably, spelling out the functioning the mechanism gives it explanatory power. Thus social scientists should choose the variables to include in the model on the basis of their function (...)
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  • Resolving Teleology's False Dilemma.Gunnar Babcock & Dan McShea - forthcoming - Biological Journal of the Linnean Society:1-15.
    This paper argues that the account of teleology previously proposed by the authors is consistent with the physical determinism that is implicit across many of the sciences. We suggest that much of the current aversion to teleological thinking found in the sciences is rooted in debates that can be traced back to ancient natural science, which pitted mechanistic and deterministic theories against teleological ones. These debates saw a deterministic world as one where freedom and agency is impossible. And, because teleological (...)
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  • Preventive and Curative Medical Interventions.Jonathan Fuller - 2022 - Synthese 200 (2):1-24.
    Medical interventions that cure or prevent medical conditions are central to medicine; and thus, understanding them is central to our understanding of medicine. My purpose in this paper is to explore the conceptual foundations of medicine by providing a singular analysis of the concept of a ‘preventive or curative medical intervention’. Borrowing a general account of prevention from Phil Dowe, I provide an analysis of prevention, cure, risk reduction, and a preventive or curative intervention, before turning to preventive and curative (...)
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  • Mechanisms of macromolecular reactions.Ross L. Stein - 2022 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 44 (2):1-28.
    During the past two decades, philosophers of biology have increasingly turned their attention to mechanisms of biological phenomena. Through analyses of mechanistic proposals advanced by biologists, the goal of these philosophers is to understand what a mechanism is and how mechanisms explain. These analyses have generally focused on mechanistic proposals for phenomenon that occur at the cellular or sub-cellular level, such as synapse firing, protein synthesis, or metabolic pathway operation. Little is said about the mechanisms of the macromolecular reactions that (...)
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  • The Humanities as Conceptual Practices: The Formation and Development of High‐Impact Concepts in Philosophy and Beyond.Philipp Haueis & Jan Slaby - 2022 - Metaphilosophy 53 (4):385-403.
    This paper proposes an analysis of the discursive dynamics of high-impact concepts in the humanities. These are concepts whose formation and development have a lasting and wide-ranging effect on research and our understanding of discursive reality in general. The notion of a conceptual practice, based on a normative conception of practice, is introduced, and practices are identified, on this perspective, according to the way their respective performances are held mutually accountable. This normative conception of practices is then combined with recent (...)
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  • Flat mechanisms: a reductionist approach to levels in mechanistic explanations.Peter Fazekas - 2022 - Philosophical Studies 179 (7):2303-2321.
    The mechanistic framework traditionally comes bundled with a multi-level view. Some ascribe ontological weight to these levels, whereas others claim that characterising a higher-level entity and the corresponding lower-level mechanism are only different descriptions of the same thing. The goal of this paper is to develop a consistent metaphysical picture that can underly the latter position. According to this flat view, wholes and their parts are embedded in the same network of interacting units. The flat view preserves the original virtues (...)
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  • 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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  • Inference to the Best Explanation as a Theory for the Quality of Mechanistic Evidence in Medicine.Stefan Dragulinescu - 2017 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 7 (2):353-372.
    Inference to the Best Explanation is usually employed in the Scientific Realism debates. As far as particular scientific theories are concerned, its most ready usage seems to be that of a theory of confirmation. There are however more uses of IBE, namely as an epistemological theory of testimony and as a means of categorising and justifying the sources of evidence. In this paper, I will present, develop and exemplify IBE as a theory of the quality of evidence - taking examples (...)
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  • Applying Evidential Pluralism to the Social Sciences.Yafeng Shan & Jon Williamson - 2021 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 11 (4):1-27.
    Evidential Pluralism maintains that in order to establish a causal claim one normally needs to establish the existence of an appropriate conditional correlation and the existence of an appropriate mechanism complex, so when assessing a causal claim one ought to consider both association studies and mechanistic studies. Hitherto, Evidential Pluralism has been applied to medicine, leading to the EBM+ programme, which recommends that evidence-based medicine should systematically evaluate mechanistic studies alongside clinical studies. This paper argues that Evidential Pluralism can also (...)
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  • Etiological Explanations: Illness Causation Theory.Olaf Dammann - 2020 - Boca Raton, FL, USA: CRC Press.
    Theory of illness causation is an important issue in all biomedical sciences, and solid etiological explanations are needed in order to develop therapeutic approaches in medicine and preventive interventions in public health. Until now, the literature about the theoretical underpinnings of illness causation research has been scarce and fragmented, and lacking a convenient summary. This interdisciplinary book provides a convenient and accessible distillation of the current status of research into this developing field, and adds a personal flavor to the discussion (...)
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  • A Complementary Account of Scientific Modelling: Modelling Mechanisms in Cancer Immunology.Martin Zach - forthcoming - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science.
    According to a widely held view, scientific modelling consists in entertaining a set of model descriptions that specify a model. Rather than studying the phenomenon of interest directly, scientists investigate the phenomenon indirectly via a model in the hope of learning about some of the phenomenon’s features. I call this view the description-driven modelling (DDM) account. I argue that although an accurate description of much of scientific research, the DDM account is found wanting as regards the mechanistic modelling found in (...)
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  • Why Go for a Computation-Based Approach to Cognitive Representation.Dimitri Coelho Mollo - 2021 - Synthese 199 (3-4):6875-6895.
    An influential view in cognitive science is that computation in cognitive systems is semantic, conceptually depending on representation: to compute is to manipulate representations. I argue that accepting the non-semantic teleomechanistic view of computation lays the ground for a promising alternative strategy, in which computation helps to explain and naturalise representation, rather than the other way around. I show that this computation-based approach to representation presents six decisive advantages over the semantic view. I claim that it can improve the two (...)
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  • Negative Mechanistic Reasoning in Medical Intervention Assessment.Jesper Jerkert - 2015 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 36 (6):425-437.
    Traditionally, mechanistic reasoning has been assigned a negligible role in standard EBM literature, although some recent authors have argued for an upgrade. Even so, the mechanistic reasoning that has received attention has almost exclusively been positive—both in an epistemic sense of claiming that there is a mechanistic chain and in a health-related sense of there being claimed benefits for the patient. Negative mechanistic reasoning has been neglected, both in the epistemic and in the health-related sense. I distinguish three main types (...)
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  • Functional Individuation, Mechanistic Implementation: The Proper Way of Seeing the Mechanistic View of Concrete Computation.Dimitri Coelho Mollo - 2017 - Synthese 195 (8):3477-3497.
    I examine a major objection to the mechanistic view of concrete computation, stemming from an apparent tension between the abstract nature of computational explanation and the tenets of the mechanistic framework: while computational explanation is medium-independent, the mechanistic framework insists on the importance of providing some degree of structural detail about the systems target of the explanation. I show that a common reply to the objection, i.e. that mechanistic explanation of computational systems involves only weak structural constraints, is not enough (...)
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  • The Role of Unification in Micro-Explanations of Physical Laws.Erik Weber & Merel Lefevere - 2014 - Theoria : An International Journal for Theory, History and Fundations of Science 29 (1):41-56.
    In the literature on scientific explanation, there is a classical distinction between explanations of facts and explanations of laws. This paper is about explanations of laws, more specifically mechanistic explanations of laws. We investigate whether providing unificatory information in mechanistic explanations of laws has a surplus value. Unificatory information is information about how the mechanism that explains the law which is our target relates to other mechanisms. We argue that providing unificatory information can lead to explanations with more explanatory power (...)
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  • Inference to the Best Explanation and Mechanisms in Medicine.Stefan Dragulinescu - 2016 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 37 (3):211-232.
    This article considers the prospects of inference to the best explanation as a method of confirming causal claims vis-à-vis the medical evidence of mechanisms. I show that IBE is actually descriptive of how scientists reason when choosing among hypotheses, that it is amenable to the balance/weight distinction, a pivotal pair of concepts in the philosophy of evidence, and that it can do justice to interesting features of the interplay between mechanistic and population level assessments.
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  • The Estimator Theory of Life and Mind: How Agency and Consciousness Can Emerge.J. H. Van Hateren - manuscript
    This book provides a comprehensive overview of my recent theoretical work that aims to explain some of the more puzzling properties of life and mind, in particular agency, goal-directedness and consciousness. It contains published papers as well as new material. Table of contents: Preface - PART I: GROUNDWORK - 1. Introduction - 2. The basic mechanism - 3. Inclusive and extensive fitness - 4. Components of F and X - 5. The consequences: a preview - PART II: LIFE - 6. (...)
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  • Mechanisms and Difference-Making.Stefan Dragulinescu - 2017 - Acta Analytica 32 (1):29-54.
    I argue that difference-making should be a crucial element for evaluating the quality of evidence for mechanisms, especially with respect to the robustness of mechanisms, and that it should take central stage when it comes to the general role played by mechanisms in establishing causal claims in medicine. The difference- making of mechanisms should provide additional compelling reasons to accept the gist of Russo-Williamson thesis and include mechanisms in the protocols for Evidence- Based Medicine, as the EBM+ research group has (...)
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  • Two Traditions of Cognitive Sociology: An Analysis and Assessment of Their Cognitive and Methodological Assumptions.Tuukka Kaidesoja, Mikko Hyyryläinen & Ronny Puustinen - forthcoming - Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour.
    Cognitive sociology has been split into cultural and interdisciplinary traditions that position themselves differently in relation to the cognitive sciences and make incompatible assumptions about cognition. This article provides an analysis and assessment of the cognitive and methodological assumptions of these two traditions from the perspective of the mechanistic theory of explanation. We argue that, while the cultural tradition of cognitive sociology has provided important descriptions about how human cognition varies across cultural groups and historical periods, it has not opened (...)
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  • Relating Traditional and Academic Ecological Knowledge: Mechanistic and Holistic Epistemologies Across Cultures.David Ludwig & Luana Poliseli - 2018 - Biology and Philosophy 33 (5-6):43.
    Current debates about the integration of traditional and academic ecological knowledge struggle with a dilemma of division and assimilation. On the one hand, the emphasis on differences between traditional and academic perspectives has been criticized as creating an artificial divide that brands TEK as “non-scientific” and contributes to its marginalization. On the other hand, there has been increased concern about inadequate assimilation of Indigenous and other traditional perspectives into scientific practices that disregards the holistic nature and values of TEK. The (...)
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  • 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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  • Why Separation Logic Works.David Pym, Jonathan M. Spring & Peter O’Hearn - 2019 - Philosophy and Technology 32 (3):483-516.
    One might poetically muse that computers have the essence both of logic and machines. Through the case of the history of Separation Logic, we explore how this assertion is more than idle poetry. Separation Logic works because it merges the software engineer’s conceptual model of a program’s manipulation of computer memory with the logical model that interprets what sentences in the logic are true, and because it has a proof theory which aids in the crucial problem of scaling the reasoning (...)
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  • Beyond the Divide Between Indigenous and Academic Knowledge: Causal and Mechanistic Explanations in a Brazilian Fishing Community.Charbel N. El-Hani, Luana Poliseli & David Ludwig - 2022 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 1 (91):296–306.
    Transdisciplinary research challenges the divide between Indigenous and academic knowledge by bringing together epistemic resources of heterogeneous stakeholders. The aim of this article is to explore causal explanations in a traditional fishing community in Brazil that provide resources for transdisciplinary collaboration, without neglecting differences between Indigenous and academic experts. Semi-structured interviews were carried out in a fishing village in the North shore of Bahia and our findings show that community members often rely on causal explanations for local ecological phenomena with (...)
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  • Robustness and Evidence of Mechanisms in Early Experimental Atherosclerosis Research.Veli-Pekka Parkkinen - 2016 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 60:44-55.
  • Mental Kinematics: Dynamics and Mechanics of Neurocognitive Systems.David L. Barack - 2020 - Synthese 199 (1-2):1091-1123.
    Dynamical systems play a central role in explanations in cognitive neuroscience. The grounds for these explanations are hotly debated and generally fall under two approaches: non-mechanistic and mechanistic. In this paper, I first outline a neurodynamical explanatory schema that highlights the role of dynamical systems in cognitive phenomena. I next explore the mechanistic status of such neurodynamical explanations. I argue that these explanations satisfy only some of the constraints on mechanistic explanation and should be considered pseudomechanistic explanations. I defend this (...)
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  • 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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  • What’s (Successful) Extrapolation?Donal Khosrowi - 2021 - Journal of Economic Methodology 29 (2):140-152.
    Extrapolating causal effects is becoming an increasingly important kind of inference in Evidence-Based Policy, development economics, and microeconometrics more generally. While several strategies...
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  • The logic of explanation in molecular biology: historical-processual and logical-procedural aspects.Giovanni Boniolo & Raffaella Campaner - 2022 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 12 (1):1-24.
    This work addresses biological explanations and aims to provide a philosophical account which brings together logical-procedural and historical-processual aspects when considering molecular pathways. It is argued that, having molecular features as explananda, a particular non-classical logical language – Zsyntax – can be used to formally represent, in terms of logical theorems, types of molecular processes, and to grasp how we get from one molecular interaction to another, hence explaining why a given outcome occurs. Expressing types of molecular biology processes in (...)
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  • Explanatory Completeness and Idealization in Large Brain Simulations: A Mechanistic Perspective.Marcin Miłkowski - 2016 - Synthese 193 (5):1457-1478.
    The claim defended in the paper is that the mechanistic account of explanation can easily embrace idealization in big-scale brain simulations, and that only causally relevant detail should be present in explanatory models. The claim is illustrated with two methodologically different models: Blue Brain, used for particular simulations of the cortical column in hybrid models, and Eliasmith’s SPAUN model that is both biologically realistic and able to explain eight different tasks. By drawing on the mechanistic theory of computational explanation, I (...)
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  • Agent‐Based Modelling for SARS‐CoV ‐2 Epidemic Prediction and Intervention Assessment: A Methodological Appraisal.Mariusz Maziarz & Martin Zach - 2020 - Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice 26 (5):1352-1360.
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  • Beyond Black Dots and Nutritious Things: A Solution to the Indeterminacy Problem.Marc Artiga - 2021 - Mind and Language 36 (3):471-490.
    The indeterminacy problem is one of the most prominent objections against naturalistic theories of content. In this essay I present this difficulty and argue that extant accounts are unable to solve it. Then, I develop a particular version of teleosemantics, which I call ’explanation-based teleosemantics’, and show how this outstanding problem can be addressed within the framework of a powerful naturalistic theory.
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  • 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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  • Are Higher Mechanistic Levels Causally Autonomous?Peter Fazekas & Gergely Kertesz - 2019 - Philosophy of Science 86 (5):847-857.
    This article provides a detailed analysis and explores the prospects of the arguments for higher-level causal autonomy available for the proponents of the mechanistic framework. Three different arguments are distinguished. After clarifying previously raised worries with regard to the first two arguments, the article focuses on the newest version of the third argument that has recently been revived by William Bechtel. By using Bechtel’s own case study, it is shown that not even reference to constraints can establish the causal autonomy (...)
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  • The Application of Evidence-Based Medicine Methodologies in Sports Science: Problems and Solutions.William Levack-Payne - 2022 - Dissertation, University of Kent
    This thesis analyses the use of 'Evidence-Based' methodologies of evidence assessment and intervention and policy design from medicine, and their use in sport and exercise science. It argues that problems exist with the application of Evidence-Based methodologies in sports science, meaning that the quality of evidence used to inform decision-making is lower than is often assumed. This thesis also offers realistic solutions to these problems, broadly arguing for the importance of taking evidence from mechanistic studies seriously, in addition to evidence (...)
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  • Long-Arm Functional Individuation of Computation.Nir Fresco - 2021 - Synthese 199 (5-6):13993-14016.
    A single physical process may often be described equally well as computing several different mathematical functions—none of which is explanatorily privileged. How, then, should the computational identity of a physical system be determined? Some computational mechanists hold that computation is individuated only by either narrow physical or functional properties. Even if some individuative role is attributed to environmental factors, it is rather limited. The computational semanticist holds that computation is individuated, at least in part, by semantic properties. She claims that (...)
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  • Information Channels and Biomarkers of Disease.Phyllis Illari & Federica Russo - 2016 - Topoi 35 (1):175-190.
    Current research in molecular epidemiology uses biomarkers to model the different disease phases from environmental exposure, to early clinical changes, to development of disease. The hope is to get a better understanding of the causal impact of a number of pollutants and chemicals on several diseases, including cancer and allergies. In a recent paper Russo and Williamson address the question of what evidential elements enter the conceptualisation and modelling stages of this type of biomarkers research. Recent research in causality has (...)
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  • Toward a Mechanistic Account of Extended Cognition.Paul R. Smart - forthcoming - Philosophical Psychology:1-29.
    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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  • A Mechanism That Realizes Strong Emergence.J. H. van Hateren - 2021 - Synthese 199:12463-12483.
    The causal efficacy of a material system is usually thought to be produced by the law-like actions and interactions of its constituents. Here, a specific system is constructed and explained that produces a cause that cannot be understood in this way, but instead has novel and autonomous efficacy. The construction establishes a proof-of-feasibility of strong emergence. The system works by utilizing randomness in a targeted and cyclical way, and by relying on sustained evolution by natural selection. It is not vulnerable (...)
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  • Are There Teleological Functions to Compute?Dimitri Coelho Mollo - 2019 - Philosophy of Science 86 (3):431-452.
    I analyze a tension at the core of the mechanistic view of computation generated by its joint commitment to the medium independence of computational vehicles and to computational systems possessing teleological functions to compute. While computation is individuated in medium-independent terms, teleology is sensitive to the constitutive physical properties of vehicles. This tension spells trouble for the mechanistic view, suggesting that there can be no teleological functions to compute. I argue that, once considerations about the relevant function-bestowing factors for computational (...)
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  • Embedded Mechanisms and Phylogenetics.Lucas J. Matthews - 2015 - Philosophy of Science 82 (5):1116-1126.
    A strong case has been made for the role and value of mechanistic explanation in neuroscience and molecular biology. A similar demonstration in other domains of scientific investigation, however, remains an important challenge of scope for the new mechanists. This article helps answer that challenge by demonstrating one valuable role mechanisms play in phylogenetics. Using the transition/transversion rate parameter as a case example, this article argues that models embedded with mechanisms produce stronger phylogenetic tree hypotheses, as measured by maximum likelihood (...)
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  • A Formal Framework for Representing Mechanisms?Alexander Gebharter - 2014 - Philosophy of Science 81 (1):138-153.
    In this article I tackle the question of how the hierarchical order of mechanisms can be represented within a causal graph framework. I illustrate an answer to this question proposed by Casini, Illari, Russo, and Williamson and provide an example that their formalism does not support two important features of nested mechanisms: (i) a mechanism’s submechanisms are typically causally interacting with other parts of said mechanism, and (ii) intervening in some of a mechanism’s parts should have some influence on the (...)
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  • Living Causes.John Dupré - 2013 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 87 (1):19-37.
    This paper considers the applicability of standard accounts of causation to living systems. In particular it examines critically the increasing tendency to equate causal explanation with the identification of a mechanism. A range of differences between living systems and paradigm mechanisms are identified and discussed. While in principle it might be possible to accommodate an account of mechanism to these features, the attempt to do so risks reducing the idea of a mechanism to vacuity. It is proposed that the solution (...)
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  • Resenha/Book Review: De Regt, H.W. Understanding Scientific Understanding. New York: Oxford University Press, 2017. [REVIEW]Luana Poliseli - 2020 - Principia: An International Journal of Epistemology 24 (1):239-245.
    Book Review: De Regt, H. W. Understanding Scientific Understanding. New York: Oxford University Press, 2017.
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  • Intervening Into Mechanisms: Prospects and Challenges.Lena Kästner & Lise Marie Andersen - 2018 - Philosophy Compass 13 (11):e12546.
    In contemporary philosophy of science, the consensus view seems to be that scientific explanations describe mechanisms responsible for the phenomena to be explained. Two kinds of explanatory relevance figure in mechanistic accounts of explanation: causal and constitutive. Following prominent accounts, it seems natural to analyze both these relations in terms of systematic interventions into some factor X with respect to another factor Y. However, such interventions are tailored to uncover causal relations only. Construing the constitutive relationship between parts and wholes (...)
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  • Mechanisms in Practice: A Methodological Approach.Stavros Ioannidis & Stathis Psillos - 2018 - Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice 24 (5):1177-1183.
    In this paper we offer a minimal characterisation of the concept of mechanism in biomedicine, according to which a mechanism is a theoretically described causal pathway. We argue that this conceptionan be drawn from scientific practice, as illustrated by how a central biological and biomedical mechanism, the mechanism of apoptosis, was first identified and characterised. We will use the example of cytological and biochemical theoretical descriptions of the mechanism of apoptosis to draw lessons about the meaning of the concept of (...)
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