In P. Braillard & C. Malaterre (eds.), Explanation in Biology. An Enquiry into the Diversity of Explanatory Patterns in the Life Sciences. Dordrecht: Springer. pp. 295-318 (2015)

Authors
Carlos Zednik
Eindhoven University of Technology
Abstract
The philosophical conception of mechanistic explanation is grounded on a limited number of canonical examples. These examples provide an overly narrow view of contemporary scientific practice, because they do not reflect the extent to which the heuristic strategies and descriptive practices that contribute to mechanistic explanation have evolved beyond the well-known methods of decomposition, localization, and pictorial representation. Recent examples from evolutionary robotics and network approaches to biology and neuroscience demonstrate the increasingly important role played by computer simulations and mathematical representations in the epistemic practices of mechanism discovery and mechanism description. These examples also indicate that the scope of mechanistic explanation must be re-examined: With new and increasingly powerful methods of discovery and description comes the possibility of describing mechanisms far more complex than traditionally assumed.
Keywords Mechanistic Explanation  Mathematical Modeling  Simulation  Systems Neuroscience  Dynamical Systems Theory  Heuristics for Scientific Discovery  Evolutionary Robotics
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References found in this work BETA

Thinking About Mechanisms.Peter Machamer, Lindley Darden & Carl F. Craver - 2000 - Philosophy of Science 67 (1):1-25.
Explaining the Brain.Carl F. Craver - 2009 - Oxford University Press.

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Citations of this work BETA

Models and Mechanisms in Network Neuroscience.Carlos Zednik - 2018 - Philosophical Psychology 32 (1):23-51.
Computational Cognitive Neuroscience.Carlos Zednik - forthcoming - In Mark Sprevak & Matteo Colombo (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of the Computational Mind. Routledge.
Mechanism Discovery and Design Explanation: Where Role Function Meets Biological Advantage Function.Dingmar van Eck & Julie Mennes - 2018 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 49 (3):413-434.
Information and Explanation: An Inconsistent Triad and Solution.Mark Povich - 2021 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 11 (2):1-17.

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