Michael Ruse
Florida State University
There are two main senses of ‘mechanism’, both deriving from the metaphor of nature as a machine. One sense refers to contrivance or design, as in ‘the plant’s mechanism of attracting butterflies’. The other sense refers to cause or law process, as in ‘the mechanism of heredity’. In his work on evolution, Charles Darwin showed that organisms are produced by a mechanism in the second sense, although he never used this language. He also discussed contrivance, where he did use the language of mechanism. This discussion relates metaphor in general and Darwin’s use of the machine metaphor in particular to the problem of the nature of science, concluding that one use of the metaphor reinforces the objective nature of science and the other use reinforces the subjective nature of science
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DOI 10.1016/j.shpsc.2005.03.004
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References found in this work BETA

Values in Science.Ernan McMullin - 1982 - PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1982 (4):3-28.
Natural Theology.William Paley - 1802 - In Elizabeth Schmidt Radcliffe, Richard McCarty, Fritz Allhoff & Anand Vaidya (eds.), Late Modern Philosophy: Essential Readings with Commentary. Blackwell.
Michael Ruse's Design for Living.Robert J. Richards - 2004 - Journal of the History of Biology 37 (1):25 - 38.

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Citations of this work BETA

The Concept of Mechanism in Biology.Daniel J. Nicholson - 2012 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 43 (1):152-163.
Two Concepts of Mechanism: Componential Causal System and Abstract Form of Interaction.Jaakko Kuorikoski - 2009 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 23 (2):143 – 160.
Living Machines: Metaphors We Live By.Nora S. Vaage - 2020 - NanoEthics 14 (1):57-70.
Natural Selection According to Darwin: Cause or Effect?Ben Bradley - 2022 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 44 (2):1-26.

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