Are Higher Mechanistic Levels Causally Autonomous?

Philosophy of Science 86 (5):847-857 (2019)
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Abstract

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 of higher mechanistic levels.

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Peter Fazekas
University of Antwerp

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