PSA2016: The 25th Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association

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Mechanisms Without Mechanistic Explanation

Some recent accounts of constitutive relevance have identified mechanism components with entities that are causal intermediates between the input and output of a mechanism. I argue that on such accounts there is no distinctive form of mechanistic explanation. Nevertheless, the entities that these accounts call ‘components’ do play an explanatory role. Studying causal intermediates linking X and Y provides knowledge of the counterfactual conditions under which X will continue to bring about Y. This explanatory role does not depend of whether these variables count as components. The question of whether there are distinctively mechanistic explanations remains open.

Author Information:

Naftali Weinberger    
Tilburg Center for Logic, Ethics, and Philosophy of Science
Tilburg University

 

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