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  1. Quaderns de Filosofia VI, 1.Quad Fia - 2019 - Quaderns de Filosofia 6 (1).
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  • Intervals of Quasi-Decompositionality and Mechanistic Explanations.Emilio Cáceres - 2019 - Quaderns de Filosofia 6 (1):15.
    It is commonly assumed that the concept of mechanism is a keytool for the scientific understanding of observable phenomena. However, there is no single definition of mechanism in the current philosophy of science. In fact, philosophers have developed several characterizations of what seemed to be a clear intuitive concept for scientists. In this paper, I will analyze these philosophical conceptions of mechanism, highlighting their problematic aspects and proposing a new mechanistic approach based on the idea that the pertinent levels of (...)
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  • Evolution, Dysfunction, and Disease: A Reappraisal.Paul E. Griffiths & John Matthewson - 2016 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 69 (2):301-327.
    Some ‘naturalist’ accounts of disease employ a biostatistical account of dysfunction, whilst others use a ‘selected effect’ account. Several recent authors have argued that the biostatistical account offers the best hope for a naturalist account of disease. We show that the selected effect account survives the criticisms levelled by these authors relatively unscathed, and has significant advantages over the BST. Moreover, unlike the BST, it has a strong theoretical rationale and can provide substantive reasons to decide difficult cases. This is (...)
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  • Against Computational Perspectivalism.Dimitri Coelho Mollo - forthcoming - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science:axz036.
    Computational perspectivalism has been recently proposed as an alternative to mainstream accounts of physical computation, and especially to the teleologically-based mechanistic view. It takes physical computation to be partly dependent on explanatory perspectives, and eschews appeal to teleology in helping individuate computational systems. I assess several varieties of computational perspectivalism, showing that they either collapse into existing non-perspectival views; or end up with unsatisfactory or implausible accounts of physical computation. Computational perspectivalism fails therefore to be a compelling alternative to perspective-independent (...)
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  • Evolution, Dysfunction, and Disease: A Reappraisal: Table 1.Paul E. Griffiths & John Matthewson - 2016 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science:axw021.
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  • Normativity of Predictions: A New Research Perspective.Michał Piekarski - 2019 - Frontiers in Psychology 10.
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  • On Closing the Gap Between Philosophical Concepts and Their Usage in Scientific Practice: A Lesson From the Debate About Natural Selection as a Mechanism.Lucas J. Matthews - 2016 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 55:21-28.
    In addition to theorizing about the role and value of mechanisms in scientific explanation or the causal structure of the world, there is a fundamental task of getting straight what a ‘mechanism’ is in the first place. Broadly, this paper is about the challenge of application: the challenge of aligning one's philosophical account of a scientific concept with the manner in which that concept is actually used in scientific practice. This paper considers a case study of the challenge of application (...)
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  • Mechanisms, Counterfactuals and Laws.Stavros Ioannidis & Stathis Psillos - 2018 - In Stuart Glennan & Phyllis Illari (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Mechanisms and Mechanical Philosophy. Routledge. pp. 144-156.
    In this chapter we examine the relation between mechanisms and laws/counterfactuals by revisiting the main notions of mechanism found in the literature. We distinguish between two different conceptions of ‘mechanism’: mechanisms-of underlie or constitute a causal process; mechanisms-for are complex systems that function so as to produce a certain behavior. According to some mechanists, a mechanism fulfills both of these roles simultaneously. The main argument of the chapter is that there is an asymmetrical dependence between both kinds of mechanisms and (...)
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  • The False Dichotomy Between Causal Realization and Semantic Computation.Marcin Miłkowski - 2017 - Hybris. Internetowy Magazyn Filozoficzny 38:1-21.
    In this paper, I show how semantic factors constrain the understanding of the computational phenomena to be explained so that they help build better mechanistic models. In particular, understanding what cognitive systems may refer to is important in building better models of cognitive processes. For that purpose, a recent study of some phenomena in rats that are capable of ‘entertaining’ future paths (Pfeiffer and Foster 2013) is analyzed. The case shows that the mechanistic account of physical computation may be complemented (...)
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  • Social Mechanisms and Social Causation.Friedel Weinert - unknown
    The aim of this paper is to examine the notion of social mechanisms by comparison with the notions of evolutionary and physical mechanisms. It is argued that social mechanisms are based on trends, and not lawlike regularities, so that social mechanisms are different from mechanisms in the natural sciences. Taking as an example of social causation the abolition of the slave trade, the paper argues that social mechanisms should be incorporated in Weber’s wider notion of adequate causation in order to (...)
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  • Did the Bacterium Really Kill the Colonel? Systemic View, Inter-Level Causation, and Levels of Quasi-Decompositionality in Mechanistic Explanations.Emilio Cáceres Vázquez & Cristian Saborido - 2018 - Theoria : An International Journal for Theory, History and Fundations of Science 33 (1):129-148.
    In this paper, we critically analyze the mechanicist approach to scientific explanation and propose to complement this view with a conception of level as interval of quasi-decompositionality. This conception allows us to metaphysically base the mechanicist proposals on characteristic systemic features. By means of concrete examples, we claim that this proposal is able to overcome some of the alleged limitations of predominant models of mechanistic explanation.
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  • From Wide Cognition to Mechanisms: A Silent Revolution.Marcin Miłkowski, Robert Clowes, Zuzanna Rucińska, Aleksandra Przegalińska, Tadeusz Zawidzki, Joel Krueger, Adam Gies, Marek McGann, Łukasz Afeltowicz, Witold Wachowski, Fredrik Stjernberg, Victor Loughlin & Mateusz Hohol - 2018 - Frontiers in Psychology 9.
    In this paper, we argue that several recent ‘wide’ perspectives on cognition (embodied, embedded, extended, enactive, and distributed) are only partially relevant to the study of cognition. While these wide accounts override traditional methodological individualism, the study of cognition has already progressed beyond these proposed perspectives towards building integrated explanations of the mechanisms involved, including not only internal submechanisms but also interactions with others, groups, cognitive artifacts, and their environment. The claim is substantiated with reference to recent developments in the (...)
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  • Against Organizational Functions.Justin Garson - 2017 - Philosophy of Science 84 (5):1093-1103.
    Over the last 20 years, several philosophers have developed a new approach to biological functions, the organizational approach. This is not a single theory but a family of theories based on the idea that a trait token can acquire a function by virtue of the way it contributes to a complex, organized system and thereby to its own continued persistence as a token. I argue that the organizational approach faces a serious liberality objection. I examine three different ways organizational theorists (...)
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  • Isolability as the Unifying Feature of Modularity.Lucas J. Matthews - 2019 - Biology and Philosophy 34 (2):20.
    Although the concept of modularity is pervasive across fields and disciplines, philosophers and scientists use the term in a variety of different ways. This paper identifies two distinct ways of thinking about modularity, and considers what makes them similar and different. For philosophers of mind and cognitive science, cognitive modularity helps explain the capacities of brains to process sundry and distinct kinds of informational input. For philosophy of biology and evolutionary science, biological modularity helps explain the capacity of random evolutionary (...)
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  • When is It Mental?Stuart Glennan - 2015 - Humana Mente 8 (29).
    Most philosophical debate over mental causation has been concerned with reconciling commonsense intuitions that there are causal interactions between the mental and the physical with philosophical theories of the nature of the mental that seem to suggest otherwise. My concern is with a different and more practical problem. We often confront some cognitive, affective, or bodily phenomenon, and wonder about its source – its etiology or its underlying causal basis. For instance, you might wonder whether your queasiness due to something (...)
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  • A Weakened Mechanism is Still a Mechanism: On the Causal Role of Absences in Mechanistic Explanation.Alexander Mebius - 2014 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 45:43-48.
    Much contemporary debate on the nature of mechanisms centers on the issue of modulating negative causes. One type of negative causability, which I refer to as "causation by absence," appears difficult to incorporate into modern accounts of mechanistic explanation. This paper argues that a recent attempt to resolve this problem, proposed by Benjamin Barros, requires improvement as it overlooks the fact that not all absences qualify as sources of mechanism failure. I suggest that there are a number of additional types (...)
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  • Evidence, Illness, and Causation: An Epidemiological Perspective on the Russo–Williamson Thesis.Alexander R. Fiorentino & Olaf Dammann - 2015 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 54:1-9.
    According to the Russo-Williamson Thesis, causal claims in the health sciences need to be supported by both difference-making and mechanistic evidence. In this article, we attempt to determine whether Evidence-based Medicine can be improved through the consideration of mechanistic evidence. We discuss the practical composition and function of each RWT evidence type and propose that exposure-outcome evidence provides associations that can be explained through a hypothesis of causation, while mechanistic evidence provides finer-grained associations and knowledge of entities that ultimately explains (...)
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  • Evolutionary causes as mechanisms: a critical analysis.Saúl Pérez-González & Victor J. Luque - 2019 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 41 (2):13.
    In this paper, we address the question whether a mechanistic approach can account for evolutionary causes. The last decade has seen a major attempt to account for natural selection as a mechanism. Nevertheless, we stress the relevance of broadening the debate by including the other evolutionary causes inside the mechanistic approach, in order to be a legitimate conceptual framework on the same footing as other approaches to evolutionary theory. We analyse the current debate on natural selection as a mechanism, and (...)
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  • Representation and the Active Consumer.Patrick Butlin - forthcoming - Synthese:1-18.
    One of the central tasks for naturalistic theories of representation is to say what it takes for something to be a representation, and some leading theories have been criticised for being too liberal. Prominent discussions of this problem have proposed a producer-oriented solution; it is argued that representations must be produced by systems employing perceptual constancy mechanisms. However, representations may be produced by simple transducers if they are consumed in the right way. It is characteristic of representations to be consumed (...)
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  • Making Mechanism Interesting.Alex Rosenberg - 2018 - Synthese 195 (1):11-33.
    I note the multitude of ways in which, beginning with the classic paper by Machamer et al., the mechanists have qualify their methodological dicta, and limit the vulnerability of their claims by strategic vagueness regarding their application. I go on to generalize a version of the mechanist requirement on explanations due to Craver and Kaplan :601–627, 2011) in cognitive and systems neuroscience so that it applies broadly across the life sciences in accordance with the view elaborated by Craver and Darden (...)
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  • A Weakened Mechanism is Still a Mechanism: On the Causal Role of Absences in Mechanistic Explanation.Alexander Mebius - 2013 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 45 (1):43-48.
    Much contemporary debate on the nature of mechanisms centers on the issue of modulating negative causes. One type of negative causability, which I refer to as “causation by absence,” appears difficult to incorporate into modern accounts of mechanistic explanation. This paper argues that a recent attempt to resolve this problem, proposed by Benjamin Barros, requires improvement as it overlooks the fact that not all absences qualify as sources of mechanism failure. I suggest that there are a number of additional types (...)
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  • Functional Analysis and the Species Design.Karen Neander - 2017 - Synthese 194 (4).
    This paper argues that a minimal notion of function and a notion of normal-proper function are used in explaining how bodies and brains operate. Neither is Cummins’ notion, as originally defined, and yet his is often taken to be the clearly relevant notion for such an explanatory context. This paper also explains how adverting to normal-proper functions, even if these are selected functions, can play a significant scientific role in the operational explanations of complex systems that physiologists and neurophysiologists provide, (...)
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  • Biological Pathology From an Organizational Perspective.Cristian Saborido & Alvaro Moreno - 2015 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 36 (1):83-95.
    In contrast to the “normativist” view, “naturalist” theorists claim that the concept of health refers to natural or normal states and propose different characterizations of healthy and diseased conditions that are meant to be objectivist and biologically grounded. In this article, we examine the core concept of these naturalist accounts of disease, i.e., the concept of biological malfunction, and develop a new formulation of the notion of malfunction following the recent organizational approach to functions in the philosophy of biology. We (...)
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