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  1. Question-Driven Stepwise Experimental Discoveries in Biochemistry: Two Case Studies.Michael Fry - 2022 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 44 (2):1-52.
    Philosophers of science diverge on the question what drives the growth of scientific knowledge. Most of the twentieth century was dominated by the notion that theories propel that growth whereas experiments play secondary roles of operating within the theoretical framework or testing theoretical predictions. New experimentalism, a school of thought pioneered by Ian Hacking in the early 1980s, challenged this view by arguing that theory-free exploratory experimentation may in many cases effectively probe nature and potentially spawn higher evidence-based theories. Because (...)
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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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  • Figuring out what is happening: the discovery of two electrophysiological phenomena.William Bechtel & Richard Vagnino - 2022 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 44 (2):1-36.
    Research devoted to characterizing phenomena is underappreciated in philosophical accounts of scientific inquiry. This paper develops a diachronic analysis of research over 100 years that led to the recognition of two related electrophysiological phenomena, the membrane potential and the action potential. A diachronic perspective allows for reconciliation of two threads in philosophical discussions of phenomena—Hacking’s treatment of phenomena as manifest in laboratory settings and Bogen and Woodward’s construal of phenomena as regularities in the world. The diachronic analysis also reveals the (...)
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  • Foregrounding and backgrounding: a new interpretation of “levels” in science.Eric Hochstein - 2022 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 12 (2):1-22.
    Talk of “levels” can be found throughout the sciences, from “levels of abstraction”, to “levels of organization”, to “levels of analysis”. This has led to substantial disagreement regarding the ontology of levels, and whether the various senses of levels each have genuine value and utility to scientific practice. In this paper, I propose a unified framework for thinking about levels in science which ties together the various ways in which levels are invoked in science, and which can overcome the problems (...)
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  • 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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  • Micro-level model explanation and counterfactual constraint.Samuel Schindler - 2022 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 12 (2):1-27.
    Relationships of counterfactual dependence have played a major role in recent debates of explanation and understanding in the philosophy of science. Usually, counterfactual dependencies have been viewed as the explanantia of explanation, i.e., the things providing explanation and understanding. Sometimes, however, counterfactual dependencies are themselves the targets of explanations in science. These kinds of explanations are the focus of this paper. I argue that “micro-level model explanations” explain the particular form of the empirical regularity underlying a counterfactual dependency by representing (...)
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  • What are ecological mechanisms? Suggestions for a fine-grained description of causal mechanisms in invasion ecology.Tina Heger - 2022 - Biology and Philosophy 37 (2):1-14.
    Invasion ecology addresses the spread of species outside of their native ranges. A central aim of this field is to find mechanistic explanations for why species are able to establish and spread in an area in which they did not evolve. Usually it remains unclear, however, what exactly is meant by ‘mechanistic explanation’ or ‘mechanism’. The paper argues that the field can benefit from the philosophical discussion of what a mechanism is. Based on conceptions of mechanisms as processes in concrete (...)
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  • 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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  • 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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  • ANNs and Unifying Explanations: Reply to Erasmus, Brunet, and Fisher.Yunus Prasetya - 2022 - Philosophy and Technology 35 (2):1-9.
    In a recent article, Erasmus, Brunet, and Fisher (2021) argue that Artificial Neural Networks (ANNs) are explainable. They survey four influential accounts of explanation: the Deductive-Nomological model, the Inductive-Statistical model, the Causal-Mechanical model, and the New-Mechanist model. They argue that, on each of these accounts, the features that make something an explanation is invariant with regard to the complexity of the explanans and the explanandum. Therefore, they conclude, the complexity of ANNs (and other Machine Learning models) does not make them (...)
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  • Cognition as the Sensitive Management of an Agent’s Behavior.Mikio Akagi - 2022 - Philosophical Psychology 35 (5):718-741.
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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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  • The Nature of Appearance in Kant’s Transcendentalism: A Seman- Tico-Cognitive Analysis.Sergey L. Katrechko - 2018 - Kantian Journal 37 (3):41-55.
  • A Frame of Mind From Psychiatry.Elly Vintiadis - 2015 - Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 18 (4):523-532.
    Psychiatry is a discipline that deals with both the physical and the mental lives of individuals and though it is true that, largely because of this characteristic, different models are used for different disorders, there is still a remnant tendency towards reductionist views in the field. In this paper I argue that the available empirical evidence from psychiatry gives us reasons to question biological reductionism and that in its place we should adopt a pluralistic explanatory model that is more suited (...)
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  • Medicalization and Epistemic Injustice.Alistair Wardrope - 2015 - Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 18 (3):341-352.
    Many critics of medicalization express concern that the process privileges individualised, biologically grounded interpretations of medicalized phenomena, inhibiting understanding and communication of aspects of those phenomena that are less relevant to their biomedical modelling. I suggest that this line of critique views medicalization as a hermeneutical injustice—a form of epistemic injustice that prevents people having the hermeneutical resources available to interpret and communicate significant areas of their experience. Interpreting the critiques in this fashion shows they frequently fail because they: neglect (...)
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  • Microphysical Causation and the Case for Physicalism.Alyssa Ney - 2016 - Analytic Philosophy 57 (1):141-164.
    Physicalism is sometimes portrayed by its critics as a dogma, but there is an empirical argument for the position, one based on the accumulation of diverse microphysical causal explanations in physics, chemistry, and physiology. The canonical statement of this argument was presented in 2001 by David Papineau. The goal of this paper is to demonstrate a tension that arises between this way of understanding the empirical case for physicalism and a view that is becoming practically a received position in philosophy (...)
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  • Limits to evidential pluralism: multi-method large-N qualitative analysis and the primacy of mechanistic studies.Rosa W. Runhardt - 2022 - Synthese 200 (2):1-23.
    Evidential pluralists, like Federica Russo and Jon Williamson, argue that causal claims should be corroborated by establishing both the existence of a suitable correlation and a suitable mechanism complex. At first glance, this fits well with mixed method research in the social sciences, which often involves a pluralist combination of statistical and mechanistic evidence. However, statistical evidence concerns a population of cases, while mechanistic evidence is found in individual case studies. How should researchers combine such general statistical evidence and specific (...)
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  • When Philosophy (of Science) Meets Formal Methods: A Citation Analysis of Early Approaches Between Research Fields.Guido Bonino, Paolo Maffezioli, Eugenio Petrovich & Paolo Tripodi - 2022 - Synthese 200 (2).
    The article investigates what happens when philosophy meets and begins to establish connections with two formal research methods such as game theory and network science. We use citation analysis to identify, among the articles published in Synthese and Philosophy of Science between 1985 and 2021, those that cite the specialistic literature in game theory and network science. Then, we investigate the structure of the two corpora thus identified by bibliographic coupling and divide them into clusters of related papers by automatic (...)
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  • Cognitive extra-mathematical explanations.Travis Holmes - 2022 - Synthese 200 (2):1-23.
    This paper advances the view that some explanations in cognitive science are extra-mathematical explanations. Demonstrating the plausibility of this interpretation centers around certain efficient coding cases which ineliminably enlist information theoretic laws, facts and theorems to identify in-principle, mathematical constraints on neuronal information processing capacities. The explanatory structure in these cases is shown to parallel other putative instances of mathematical explanation. The upshot for cognitive mathematical explanations is thus two-fold: first, the view capably rebuts standard mechanistic objections to non-mechanistic explanation; (...)
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  • Taming vagueness: the philosophy of network science.Gábor Elek & Eszter Babarczy - 2022 - Synthese 200 (2):1-31.
    In the last 20 years network science has become an independent scientific field. We argue that by building network models network scientists are able to tame the vagueness of propositions about complex systems and networks, that is, to make these propositions precise. This makes it possible to study important vague properties such as modularity, near-decomposability, scale-freeness or being a small world. Using an epistemic model of network science, we systematically analyse the specific nature of network models and the logic behind (...)
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  • Grounding Functionalism and Explanatory Unificationism.Alexios Stamatiadis-Bréhier - forthcoming - Journal of the American Philosophical Association.
    I propose a functionalist theory of grounding: f-grounding. Specifically, I argue that grounding is a second-order phenomenon that is realized by relations that play the non-causal explanatoriness role. I also show that f-grounding can deal with a recent and powerful challenge. The theory of explanatory unificationism has been recently appealed to (Kovacs 2017: sec. 5; 2020: 1; Baron & Norton 2020: 3) to argue that successful non-causal explanations do not require backers in the form of grounding relations. Against this I (...)
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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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  • Experimental Philosophy of Explanation Rising: The Case for a Plurality of Concepts of Explanation.Matteo Colombo - 2017 - Cognitive Science 41 (2):503-517.
    This paper brings together results from the philosophy and the psychology of explanation to argue that there are multiple concepts of explanation in human psychology. Specifically, it is shown that pluralism about explanation coheres with the multiplicity of models of explanation available in the philosophy of science, and it is supported by evidence from the psychology of explanatory judgment. Focusing on the case of a norm of explanatory power, the paper concludes by responding to the worry that if there is (...)
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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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  • Unifying Biology Under the Search for Mechanisms: Carl F. Craver and Lindley Darden: In Search of Mechanisms: Discoveries Across the Life Sciences. The University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 2013. 256 Pp. ISBN 978-0-226-03979-4.David Kalkman - 2015 - Biology and Philosophy 30 (3):447-458.
    In Search Of Mechanisms is a book about the methodology of biology. It is a work by Carl Craver and Lindley Darden, both of whom are well-known individually for their advocacy of mechanistic explanation—in the neurosciences and in the fields of genetics, cytology and molecular biology . Here, the two join forces to give a unified model of biological explanation, not limited to a particular area of biological enquiry, as rooted in the search for mechanisms.The objectives of the book are (...)
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  • The Form of Causation in Health, Disease and Intervention: Biopsychosocial Dispositionalism, Conserved Quantity Transfers and Dualist Mechanistic Chains.David W. Evans, Nicholas Lucas & Roger Kerry - 2017 - Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 20 (3):353-363.
    Causation is important when considering: how an organism maintains health; why disease arises in a healthy person; and, how one may intervene to change the course of a disease. This paper explores the form of causative relationships in health, disease and intervention, with particular regard to the pathological and biopsychosocial models. Consistent with the philosophical view of dispositionalism, we believe that objects are the fundamental relata of causation. By accepting the broad scope of the biopsychosocial model, we argue that psychological (...)
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  • Diachronic Metaphysical Building Relations: Towards the Metaphysics of Extended Cognition.Michael David Kirchhoff - 2013 - Dissertation, Macquarie University
    In the thesis I offer an analysis of the metaphysical underpinnings of the extended cognition thesis via an examination of standard views of metaphysical building (or, dependence) relations. -/- In summary form, the extended cognition thesis is a view put forth in naturalistic philosophy of mind stating that the physical basis of cognitive processes and cognitive processing may, in the right circumstances, be distributed across neural, bodily, and environmental vehicles. As such, the extended cognition thesis breaks substantially with the still (...)
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  • Mechanistic Explanations in the Cognitive Social Sciences: Lessons From Three Case Studies.Matti Sarkia, Tuukka Kaidesoja & Mikko Hyyryläinen - 2020 - Social Science Information 59 (4):580-603.
    Discussions of the relations between the social sciences and the cognitive sciences have proliferated in recent years. Our article contributes to the philosophical and methodological foundations of the cognitive social sciences by proposing a framework based on contemporary mechanistic approaches to the philosophy of science to analyze the epistemological, ontological and methodological aspects of research programs at the intersection of the social sciences and the cognitive sciences. We apply this framework to three case studies which address the phenomena of social (...)
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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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  • Thought Experiments and The Pragmatic Nature of Explanation.Panagiotis Karadimas - forthcoming - Foundations of Science:1-24.
    Different why-questions emerge under different contexts and require different information in order to be addressed. Hence a relevance relation can hardly be invariant across contexts. However, what is indeed common under any possible context is that all explananda require scientific information in order to be explained. So no scientific information is in principle explanatorily irrelevant, it only becomes so under certain contexts. In view of this, scientific thought experiments can offer explanations, should we analyze their representational strategies. Their representations involve (...)
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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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  • Agency, Qualia and Life: Connecting Mind and Body Biologically.David Longinotti - 2017 - In Vincent C. Müller (ed.), Philosophy and Theory of Artificial Intelligence 2017. Cham: Springer. pp. 43-56.
    Many believe that a suitably programmed computer could act for its own goals and experience feelings. I challenge this view and argue that agency, mental causation and qualia are all founded in the unique, homeostatic nature of living matter. The theory was formulated for coherence with the concept of an agent, neuroscientific data and laws of physics. By this method, I infer that a successful action is homeostatic for its agent and can be caused by a feeling - which does (...)
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  • The Problem of Granularity for Scientific Explanation.David Kinney - 2019 - Dissertation, London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)
    This dissertation aims to determine the optimal level of granularity for the variables used in probabilistic causal models. These causal models are useful for generating explanations in a number of scientific contexts. In Chapter 1, I argue that there is rarely a unique level of granularity at which a given phenomenon can be causally explained, thereby rejecting various causal exclusion arguments. In Chapter 2, I consider several recent proposals for measuring the explanatory power of causal explanations, and show that these (...)
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  • Selection and the Extent of Explanatory Unification.Robert A. Skipper - 1999 - Philosophy of Science 66 (3):209.
    According to Philip Kitcher, scientific unification is achieved via the derivation of numerous scientific statements from economies of argument schemata. I demonstrate that the unification of selection phenomena across domains in which it is claimed to occur--evolutionary biology, immunology and, speculatively, neurobiology--is unattainable on Kitcher's view. I then introduce an alternative method for rendering the desired unification based on the concept of a mechanism schema. I conclude that the gain in unification provided by the alternative account suggests that Kitcher's view (...)
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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.
  • 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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  • 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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  • Breaking Explanatory Boundaries: Flexible Borders and Plastic Minds.Michael David Kirchhoff & Russell Meyer - forthcoming - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences:1-20.
    In this paper, we offer reasons to justify the explanatory credentials of dynamical modeling in the context of the metaplasticity thesis, located within a larger grouping of views known as 4E Cognition. Our focus is on showing that dynamicism is consistent with interventionism, and therefore with a difference-making account at the scale of system topologies that makes sui generis explanatory differences to the overall behavior of a cognitive system. In so doing, we provide a general overview of the interventionist approach. (...)
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  • Composition and Transactive Memory Systems.Michael David Kirchhoff - 2016 - Philosophical Explorations 19 (1):59-77.
    A recurrent theme in research on socially distributed cognition is to establish the claim that the cognitive phenomenon of transactive memory is grounded in a specific mode of organization: mechanistic compositional organization. My topic is the confluence of transactive remembering or transactive memory systems (TMSs) and mechanistic compositional organization. In relation to this confluence, the paper scrutinizes the claim that the kind of organization grounding TMSs and/or tokens of transactive remembering takes the specific form of mechanistic compositional organization – at (...)
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  • How to Demarcate the Boundaries of Cognition.David Michael Kaplan - 2012 - Biology and Philosophy 27 (4):545-570.
    Advocates of extended cognition argue that the boundaries of cognition span brain, body, and environment. Critics maintain that cognitive processes are confined to a boundary centered on the individual. All participants to this debate require a criterion for distinguishing what is internal to cognition from what is external. Yet none of the available proposals are completely successful. I offer a new account, the mutual manipulability account, according to which cognitive boundaries are determined by relationships of mutual manipulability between the properties (...)
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  • Moving Parts: The Natural Alliance Between Dynamical and Mechanistic Modeling Approaches.David Michael Kaplan - 2015 - Biology and Philosophy 30 (6):757-786.
    Recently, it has been provocatively claimed that dynamical modeling approaches signal the emergence of a new explanatory framework distinct from that of mechanistic explanation. This paper rejects this proposal and argues that dynamical explanations are fully compatible with, even naturally construed as, instances of mechanistic explanations. Specifically, it is argued that the mathematical framework of dynamics provides a powerful descriptive scheme for revealing temporal features of activities in mechanisms and plays an explanatory role to the extent it is deployed for (...)
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  • Precis of Philosophy and Neuroscience: A Ruthlessly Reductive Account. [REVIEW]John Bickle - 2005 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 4 (3):231-238.
    This book precis describes the motives behind my recent attempt to bring to bear “ruthlessly reductive” results from cellular and molecular neuroscience onto issues in the philosophy of mind. Since readers of this journal will probably be most interested in results addressing features of conscious experience, I highlight these most prominently. My main challenge is that philosophers (even scientifically-inspired ones) are missing the nature and scope of reductionism in contemporary neuroscience by focusing exclusively on higher-level cognitive neuroscience, and ignoring the (...)
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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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  • Cognitive Assembly: Towards a Diachronic Conception of Composition.Michael David Kirchhoff - 2015 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 14 (1):33–53.
    In this paper, I focus on a recent debate in extended cognition known as “cognitive assembly” and how cognitive assembly shares a certain kinship with the special composition question advanced in analytical metaphysics. Both the debate about cognitive assembly and the special composition question ask about the circumstances under which entities (broadly construed) compose or assemble another entity. The paper argues for two points. The first point is that insofar as the metaphysics of composition presupposes that composition is a synchronic (...)
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  • The Explanatory Force of Dynamical and Mathematical Models in Neuroscience: A Mechanistic Perspective.David Michael Kaplan & Carl F. Craver - 2011 - Philosophy of Science 78 (4):601-627.
    We argue that dynamical and mathematical models in systems and cognitive neuro- science explain (rather than redescribe) a phenomenon only if there is a plausible mapping between elements in the model and elements in the mechanism for the phe- nomenon. We demonstrate how this model-to-mechanism-mapping constraint, when satisfied, endows a model with explanatory force with respect to the phenomenon to be explained. Several paradigmatic models including the Haken-Kelso-Bunz model of bimanual coordination and the difference-of-Gaussians model of visual receptive fields are (...)
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  • The Supposed Competition Between Theories of Human Causal Inference.David Danks - 2005 - Philosophical Psychology 18 (2):259 – 272.
    Newsome ((2003). The debate between current versions of covariation and mechanism approaches to causal inference. Philosophical Psychology, 16, 87-107.) recently published a critical review of psychological theories of human causal inference. In that review, he characterized covariation and mechanism theories, the two dominant theory types, as competing, and offered possible ways to integrate them. I argue that Newsome has misunderstood the theoretical landscape, and that covariation and mechanism theories do not directly conflict. Rather, they rely on distinct sets of reliable (...)
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  • Are More Details Better? On the Norms of Completeness for Mechanistic Explanations.Carl F. Craver & David M. Kaplan - 2020 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 71 (1):287-319.
    Completeness is an important but misunderstood norm of explanation. It has recently been argued that mechanistic accounts of scientific explanation are committed to the thesis that models are complete only if they describe everything about a mechanism and, as a corollary, that incomplete models are always improved by adding more details. If so, mechanistic accounts are at odds with the obvious and important role of abstraction in scientific modelling. We respond to this characterization of the mechanist’s views about abstraction and (...)
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  • Functional Analysis and Mechanistic Explanation.David Barrett - 2014 - Synthese 191 (12):2695-2714.
    Piccinini and Craver (Synthese 183:283–311, 2011) argue for the surprising view that psychological explanation, properly understood, is a species of mechanistic explanation. This contrasts with the ‘received view’ (due, primarily, to Cummins and Fodor) which maintains a sharp distinction between psychological explanation and mechanistic explanation. The former is typically construed as functional analysis, the analysis of some psychological capacity into an organized series of subcapacities without specifying any of the structural features that underlie the explanandum capacity. The latter idea, of (...)
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  • Stable Consciousness? The “Hard Problem” Historically Reconstructed and in Perspective of Neurophenomenological Research on Meditation.Stephan Schleim - 2022 - Frontiers in Psychology 13.
    Finding a scientific, third-person explanation of subjective experience or phenomenal content is commonly called the “hard problem” of consciousness. There has recently been a surge in neuropsychological research on meditation in general and long-term meditators in particular. These experimental subjects are allegedly capable of generating a stable state of consciousness over a prolonged period of time, which makes experimentation with them an interesting paradigm for consciousness research. This perspective article starts out with a historical reconstruction of the “hard problem,” tracing (...)
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