Why there isn’t inter-level causation in mechanisms

Synthese 192 (11):3731-3755 (2015)
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Abstract

The experimental interventions that provide evidence of causal relations are notably similar to those that provide evidence of constitutive relevance relations. In the first two sections, I show that this similarity creates a tension: there is an inconsistent triad between Woodward’s popular interventionist theory of causation, Craver’s mutual manipulability account of constitutive relevance in mechanisms, and a variety of arguments for the incoherence of inter-level causation. I argue for an interpretation of the views in which the tension is merely apparent. I propose to explain inter-level relations without inter-level causation by appealing to the notion of fat-handed interventions, and an argument against inter-level causation which dissolves the problem

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Felipe Romero
University of Groningen