Switch to: Citations

Add references

You must login to add references.
  1. Scientific Explanation and the Causal Structure of the World.Wesley C. Salmon - 1984 - Princeton University Press.
    The philosophical theory of scientific explanation proposed here involves a radically new treatment of causality that accords with the pervasively statistical character of contemporary science. Wesley C. Salmon describes three fundamental conceptions of scientific explanation--the epistemic, modal, and ontic. He argues that the prevailing view is untenable and that the modal conception is scientifically out-dated. Significantly revising aspects of his earlier work, he defends a causal/mechanical theory that is a version of the ontic conception. Professor Salmon's theory furnishes a robust (...)
  • Re-Engineering Philosophy for Limited Beings: Piecewise Approximations to Reality.William C. Wimsatt - 2007 - Harvard University Press.
    This book offers a philosophy for error-prone humans trying to understand messy systems in the real world.
    Direct download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   366 citations  
  • Explaining the Brain: Mechanisms and the Mosaic Unity of Neuroscience.Carl F. Craver - 2007 - Oxford University Press, Clarendon Press.
    Carl Craver investigates what we are doing when we sue neuroscience to explain what's going on in the brain.
  • The Nature of Dynamical Explanation.Carlos Zednik - 2011 - Philosophy of Science 78 (2):238-263.
    The received view of dynamical explanation is that dynamical cognitive science seeks to provide covering law explanations of cognitive phenomena. By analyzing three prominent examples of dynamicist research, I show that the received view is misleading: some dynamical explanations are mechanistic explanations, and in this way resemble computational and connectionist explanations. Interestingly, these dynamical explanations invoke the mathematical framework of dynamical systems theory to describe mechanisms far more complex and distributed than the ones typically considered by philosophers. Therefore, contemporary dynamicist (...)
    Direct download (8 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   60 citations  
  • Functional stability and systems level causation.Anders Strand & Gry Oftedal - 2009 - Philosophy of Science 76 (5):809-820.
    A wide range of gene knockout experiments shows that functional stability is an important feature of biological systems. On this backdrop, we present an argument for higher‐level causation based on counterfactual dependence. Furthermore, we sketch a metaphysical picture providing resources to explain the metaphysical nature of functional stability, higher‐level causation, and the relevant notion of levels. Our account aims to clarify the role empirical results and philosophical assumptions should play in debates about reductionism and higher‐level causation. It thereby contributes to (...)
    Direct download (7 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   11 citations  
  • Thinking about evolutionary mechanisms: Natural selection.Robert Skipper & Roberta Millstein - 2004 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 36 (2):327-347.
    This paper explores whether natural selection, a putative evolutionary mechanism, and a main one at that, can be characterized on either of the two dominant conceptions of mechanism, due to Glennan and the team of Machamer, Darden, and Craver, that constitute the “new mechanistic philosophy.” The results of the analysis are that neither of the dominant conceptions of mechanism adequately captures natural selection. Nevertheless, the new mechanistic philosophy possesses the resources for an understanding of natural selection under the rubric.
    Direct download (8 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   86 citations  
  • On Gene’s Action and Reciprocal Causation.Slobodan Perovic & Paul-Antoine Miquel - 2011 - Foundations of Science 16 (1):31-46.
    Advancing the reductionist conviction that biology must be in agreement with the assumptions of reductive physicalism (the upward hierarchy of causal powers, the upward fixing of facts concerning biological levels) A. Rosenberg argues that downward causation is ontologically incoherent and that it comes into play only when we are ignorant of the details of biological phenomena. Moreover, in his view, a careful look at relevant details of biological explanations will reveal the basic molecular level that characterizes biological systems, defined by (...)
    Direct download (4 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   2 citations  
  • Thinking about mechanisms.Peter Machamer, Lindley Darden & Carl F. Craver - 2000 - Philosophy of Science 67 (1):1-25.
    The concept of mechanism is analyzed in terms of entities and activities, organized such that they are productive of regular changes. Examples show how mechanisms work in neurobiology and molecular biology. Thinking in terms of mechanisms provides a new framework for addressing many traditional philosophical issues: causality, laws, explanation, reduction, and scientific change.
    Direct download (10 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   1248 citations  
  • The Explanatory Force of Dynamical and Mathematical Models in Neuroscience: A Mechanistic Perspective.David Michael Kaplan & Carl F. Craver - 2011 - Philosophy of Science 78 (4):601-627.
    We argue that dynamical and mathematical models in systems and cognitive neuro- science explain (rather than redescribe) a phenomenon only if there is a plausible mapping between elements in the model and elements in the mechanism for the phe- nomenon. We demonstrate how this model-to-mechanism-mapping constraint, when satisfied, endows a model with explanatory force with respect to the phenomenon to be explained. Several paradigmatic models including the Haken-Kelso-Bunz model of bimanual coordination and the difference-of-Gaussians model of visual receptive fields are (...)
    Direct download (7 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   176 citations  
  • How to demarcate the boundaries of cognition.David Michael Kaplan - 2012 - Biology and Philosophy 27 (4):545-570.
    Advocates of extended cognition argue that the boundaries of cognition span brain, body, and environment. Critics maintain that cognitive processes are confined to a boundary centered on the individual. All participants to this debate require a criterion for distinguishing what is internal to cognition from what is external. Yet none of the available proposals are completely successful. I offer a new account, the mutual manipulability account, according to which cognitive boundaries are determined by relationships of mutual manipulability between the properties (...)
    Direct download (4 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   49 citations  
  • Dynamical Models: An Alternative or Complement to Mechanistic Explanations?David M. Kaplan & William Bechtel - 2011 - Topics in Cognitive Science 3 (2):438-444.
    Abstract While agreeing that dynamical models play a major role in cognitive science, we reject Stepp, Chemero, and Turvey's contention that they constitute an alternative to mechanistic explanations. We review several problems dynamical models face as putative explanations when they are not grounded in mechanisms. Further, we argue that the opposition of dynamical models and mechanisms is a false one and that those dynamical models that characterize the operations of mechanisms overcome these problems. By briefly considering examples involving the generation (...)
    Direct download (2 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   54 citations  
  • Reliability and novelty: Information gain in multi-level selection systems. [REVIEW]William Harms - 1997 - Erkenntnis 46 (3):335-363.
    Information about the environment is captured in human biological systems on a variety of interacting levels – in distributions of genes, linguistic particulars, concepts, methods, theories, preferences, and overt behaviors. I investigate some of the basic principles which govern such a hierarchy by constructing a comparatively simple three-level selection model of bee foraging preferences and behaviors. The information-theoretic notion of ''''mutual information'''' is employed as a measure of efficiency in tracking a changing environment, and its appropriateness in epistemological applications is (...)
    Direct download (5 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   6 citations  
  • Rethinking mechanistic explanation.Stuart Glennan - 2002 - Proceedings of the Philosophy of Science Association 2002 (3):S342-353.
    Philosophers of science typically associate the causal-mechanical view of scientific explanation with the work of Railton and Salmon. In this paper I shall argue that the defects of this view arise from an inadequate analysis of the concept of mechanism. I contrast Salmon's account of mechanisms in terms of the causal nexus with my own account of mechanisms, in which mechanisms are viewed as complex systems. After describing these two concepts of mechanism, I show how the complex-systems approach avoids certain (...)
    Direct download (10 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   368 citations  
  • Rethinking Mechanistic Explanation.Stuart Glennan - 2002 - Philosophy of Science 69 (S3):S342-S353.
    Philosophers of science typically associate the causal-mechanical view of scientific explanation with the work of Railton and Salmon. In this paper I shall argue that the defects of this view arise from an inadequate analysis of the concept of mechanism. I contrast Salmon's account of mechanisms in terms of the causal nexus with my own account of mechanisms, in which mechanisms are viewed as complex systems. After describing these two concepts of mechanism, I show how the complex-systems approach avoids certain (...)
    Direct download (4 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   383 citations  
  • Mechanisms and the nature of causation.Stuart S. Glennan - 1996 - Erkenntnis 44 (1):49--71.
    In this paper I offer an analysis of causation based upon a theory of mechanisms-complex systems whose internal parts interact to produce a system's external behavior. I argue that all but the fundamental laws of physics can be explained by reference to mechanisms. Mechanisms provide an epistemologically unproblematic way to explain the necessity which is often taken to distinguish laws from other generalizations. This account of necessity leads to a theory of causation according to which events are causally related when (...)
    Direct download (9 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   408 citations  
  • Mechanisms, Causes, and the Layered Model of the World.Stuart Glennan - 2010 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 81 (2):362-381.
    Most philosophical accounts of causation take causal relations to obtain between individuals and events in virtue of nomological relations between properties of these individuals and events. Such views fail to take into account the consequences of the fact that in general the properties of individuals and events will depend upon mechanisms that realize those properties. In this paper I attempt to rectify this failure, and in so doing to provide an account of the causal relevance of higher-level properties. I do (...)
    Direct download (10 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   55 citations  
  • Scientific Explanation and the Causal Structure of the World.Ronald N. Giere - 1988 - Philosophical Review 97 (3):444.
  • Emergent properties and the context objection to reduction.Megan Delehanty - 2005 - Biology and Philosophy 20 (4):715-734.
    Reductionism is a central issue in the philosophy of biology. One common objection to reduction is that molecular explanation requires reference to higher-level properties, which I refer to as the context objection. I respond to this objection by arguing that a well-articulated notion of a mechanism and what I term mechanism extension enables one to accommodate the context-dependence of biological processes within a reductive explanation. The existence of emergent features in the context could be raised as an objection to the (...)
    Direct download (3 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   21 citations  
  • Strategies for discovering mechanisms: Schema instantiation, modular subassembly, forward/backward chaining.Lindley Darden - 2002 - Proceedings of the Philosophy of Science Association 2002 (3):S354-S365.
    Discovery proceeds in stages of construction, evaluation, and revision. Each of these stages is constrained by what is known or conjectured about what is being discovered. A new characterization of mechanism aids in specifying what is to be discovered when a mechanism is sought. Guidance in discovering mechanisms may be provided by the reasoning strategies of schema instantiation, modular subassembly, and forward/backward chaining. Examples are found in mechanisms in molecular biology, biochemistry, immunology, and evolutionary biology.
    Direct download (4 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   65 citations  
  • Strategies for Discovering Mechanisms: Schema Instantiation, Modular Subassembly, Forward/Backward Chaining.Lindley Darden - 2002 - Philosophy of Science 69 (S3):S354-S365.
    Discovery proceeds in stages of construction, evaluation, and revision. Each of these stages is constrained by what is known or conjectured about what is being discovered. A new characterization of mechanism aids in specifying what is to be discovered when a mechanism is sought. Guidance in discovering mechanisms may be provided by the reasoning strategies of schema instantiation, modular subassembly, and forward/backward chaining. Examples are found in mechanisms in molecular biology, biochemistry, immunology, and evolutionary biology.
    Direct download (4 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   59 citations  
  • Rethinking Mechanistic Explanation.Lindley Darden - 2002 - Philosophy of Science 69 (S3):342-353.
    Philosophers of science typically associate the causal‐mechanical view of scientific explanation with the work of Railton and Salmon. In this paper I shall argue that the defects of this view arise from an inadequate analysis of the concept of mechanism. I contrast Salmon’s account of mechanisms in terms of the causal nexus with my own account of mechanisms, in which mechanisms are viewed as complex systems. After describing these two concepts of mechanism, I show how the complex‐systems approach avoids certain (...)
    Direct download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   180 citations  
  • Top-down causation without top-down causes.Carl F. Craver & William Bechtel - 2007 - Biology and Philosophy 22 (4):547-563.
    We argue that intelligible appeals to interlevel causes (top-down and bottom-up) can be understood, without remainder, as appeals to mechanistically mediated effects. Mechanistically mediated effects are hybrids of causal and constitutive relations, where the causal relations are exclusively intralevel. The idea of causation would have to stretch to the breaking point to accommodate interlevel causes. The notion of a mechanistically mediated effect is preferable because it can do all of the required work without appealing to mysterious interlevel causes. When interlevel (...)
    Direct download (4 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   217 citations  
  • Interlevel experiments and multilevel mechanisms in the neuroscience of memory.Carl F. Craver - 2002 - Philosophy of Science Supplemental Volume 69 (3):S83-S97.
    The dominant neuroscientific theory of spatial memory is, like many theories in neuroscience, a multilevel description of a mechanism. The theory links the activities of molecules, cells, brain regions, and whole organisms into an integrated sketch of an explanation for the ability of organisms to navigate novel environments. Here I develop a taxonomy of interlevel experimental strategies for integrating the levels in such multilevel mechanisms. These experimental strategies include activation strategies, interference strategies, and additive strategies. These strategies are mutually reinforcing, (...)
    Direct download (5 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   84 citations  
  • Interlevel Experiments and Multilevel Mechanisms in the Neuroscience of Memory.Carl F. Craver - 2002 - Philosophy of Science 69 (S3):S83-S97.
    The dominant neuroscientific theory of spatial memory is, like many theories in neuroscience, a multilevel description of a mechanism. The theory links the activities of molecules, cells, brain regions, and whole organisms into an integrated sketch of an explanation for the ability of organisms to navigate novel environments. Here I develop a taxonomy of interlevel experimental strategies for integrating the levels in such multilevel mechanisms. These experimental strategies include activation strategies, interference strategies, and additive strategies. These strategies are mutually reinforcing, (...)
    Direct download (4 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   74 citations  
  • Understanding endogenously active mechanisms: A scientific and philosophical challenge. [REVIEW]William Bechtel - 2012 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 2 (2):233-248.
    Abstract Although noting the importance of organization in mechanisms, the new mechanistic philosophers of science have followed most biologists in focusing primarily on only the simplest mode of organization in which operations are envisaged as occurring sequentially. Increasingly, though, biologists are recognizing that the mechanisms they confront are non-sequential and the operations nonlinear. To understand how such mechanisms function through time, they are turning to computational models and tools of dynamical systems theory. Recent research on circadian rhythms addressing both intracellular (...)
    Direct download (5 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   24 citations  
  • The Downs and Ups of Mechanistic Research: Circadian Rhythm Research as an Exemplar. [REVIEW]William Bechtel - 2010 - Erkenntnis 73 (3):313 - 328.
    In the context of mechanistic explanation, reductionistic research pursues a decomposition of complex systems into their component parts and operations. Using research on the mechanisms responsible for circadian rhythms, I consider both the gains that have been made by discovering genes and proteins that figure in these intracellular oscillators and also highlight the increasingly recognized need to understand higher-level integration, both between cells in the central oscillator and between the central and peripheral oscillators. This history illustrates a common need to (...)
    Direct download (8 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   25 citations  
  • Thinking Dynamically About Biological Mechanisms: Networks of Coupled Oscillators. [REVIEW]William Bechtel & Adele A. Abrahamsen - 2013 - Foundations of Science 18 (4):707-723.
    Explaining the complex dynamics exhibited in many biological mechanisms requires extending the recent philosophical treatment of mechanisms that emphasizes sequences of operations. To understand how nonsequentially organized mechanisms will behave, scientists often advance what we call dynamic mechanistic explanations. These begin with a decomposition of the mechanism into component parts and operations, using a variety of laboratory-based strategies. Crucially, the mechanism is then recomposed by means of computational models in which variables or terms in differential equations correspond to properties of (...)
    Direct download (6 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   36 citations  
  • Mechanism and Biological Explanation.William Bechtel - 2011 - Philosophy of Science 78 (4):533-557.
    This article argues that the basic account of mechanism and mechanistic explanation, involving sequential execution of qualitatively characterized operations, is itself insufficient to explain biological phenomena such as the capacity of living organisms to maintain themselves as systems distinct from their environment. This capacity depends on cyclic organization, including positive and negative feedback loops, which can generate complex dynamics. Understanding cyclically organized mechanisms with complex dynamics requires coordinating research directed at decomposing mechanisms into parts and operations with research using computational (...)
    Direct download (7 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   114 citations  
  • Explanation: a mechanist alternative.William Bechtel & Adele Abrahamsen - 2005 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 36 (2):421-441.
    Explanations in the life sciences frequently involve presenting a model of the mechanism taken to be responsible for a given phenomenon. Such explanations depart in numerous ways from nomological explanations commonly presented in philosophy of science. This paper focuses on three sorts of differences. First, scientists who develop mechanistic explanations are not limited to linguistic representations and logical inference; they frequently employ diagrams to characterize mechanisms and simulations to reason about them. Thus, the epistemic resources for presenting mechanistic explanations are (...)
    Direct download (4 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   510 citations  
  • Epiphenomenalism - the do's and the don 'ts'.Lawrence A. Shapiro & Elliott Sober - 2007 - In G. Wolters & Peter K. Machamer (eds.), Thinking About Causes: From Greek Philosophy to Modern physics. University of Pittsburgh Press. pp. 235-264.
    When philosophers defend epiphenomenalist doctrines, they often do so by way of a priori arguments. Here we suggest an empirical approach that is modeled on August Weismann’s experimental arguments against the inheritance of acquired characters. This conception of how epiphenomenalism ought to be developed helps clarify some mistakes in two recent epiphenomenalist positions – Jaegwon Kim’s (1993) arguments against mental causation, and the arguments developed by Walsh (2000), Walsh, Lewens, and Ariew (2002), and Matthen and Ariew (2002) that natural selection (...)
    Direct download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   102 citations  
  • Decomposing, recomposing, and situating circadian mechanisms: Three tasks in developing mechanistic explanations.William Bechtel & Adele Abrahamsen - 2009 - In H. Leitgeb & A. Hieke (eds.), Reduction: Between the Mind and the Brain. Ontos. pp. 12--177.
  • Re-Engineering Philosophy for Limited Beings. Piecewise Approximations to Reality.William C. Wimsatt - 2010 - Critica 42 (124):108-117.
    No categories
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   321 citations