Mechanistic Causation: Difference-Making is Enough

Teorema: International Journal of Philosophy 3 (38):53-75 (2019)
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In this paper we defend the view that mechanisms are underpinned by networks of difference-making relations. First, we distinguish and criticise two different kinds of arguments in favour of an activity-based understanding of mechanism: Glennan’s metaphysics- first approach and Illari and Williamson’s science-first approach. Second, we present an alternative difference-making view of mechanism and illustrate it by looking at the history of the case of scurvy prevention. We use the case of scurvy to argue that evidence for a mechanism just is evidence for difference-making relations.



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Stathis Psillos
University of Athens
Stavros Ioannidis
University of Athens

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