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  1. Models as Interpreters.Chuanfei Chin - 2011 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 42 (2):303-312.
    Most philosophical accounts of scientific models assume that models represent some aspect, or some theory, of reality. They also assume that interpretation plays only a supporting role. This paper challenges both assumptions. It proposes that models can be used in science to interpret reality. (a) I distinguish these interpretative models from representational ones. They find new meanings in a target system’s behaviour, rather than fit its parts together. They are built through idealisation, abstraction and recontextualisation. (b) To show how interpretative (...)
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  • Causal Explanation Beyond the Gene: Manipulation and Causality in Epigenetics.Jan Baedke - 2012 - Theoria: Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia 27 (2):153-174.
    This paper deals with the interrelationship between causal explanation and methodology in a relatively young discipline in biology: epigenetics. Based on cases from molecular and ecological epigenetics, I show that James Woodward’s interventionist account of causation captures essential features about how epigeneticists using highly diverse methods, i.e. laboratory experiments and purely observational studies, think about causal explanation. I argue that interventionism thus qualifies as a useful unifying explanatory approach when it comes to cross-methodological research efforts. It can act as a (...)
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  • What Was Hodgkin and Huxley's Achievement?A. Levy - 2014 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 65 (3):469-492.
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  • Mechanisms Meet Structural Explanation.Laura Felline - 2018 - Synthese 195 (1):99-114.
    This paper investigates the relationship between structural explanation and the New Mechanistic account of explanation. The aim of this paper is twofold: firstly, to argue that some phenomena in the domain of fundamental physics, although mechanically brute, are structurally explained; and secondly, by elaborating on the contrast between SE and mechanistic explanation to better clarify some features of SE. Finally, this paper will argue that, notwithstanding their apparently antithetical character, SE and ME can be reconciled within a unified account of (...)
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  • Mechanisms: What Are They Evidence for in Evidence-Based Medicine?Holly Andersen - 2012 - Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice 18 (5):992-999.
    Even though the evidence‐based medicine movement (EBM) labels mechanisms a low quality form of evidence, consideration of the mechanisms on which medicine relies, and the distinct roles that mechanisms might play in clinical practice, offers a number of insights into EBM itself. In this paper, I examine the connections between EBM and mechanisms from several angles. I diagnose what went wrong in two examples where mechanistic reasoning failed to generate accurate predictions for how a dysfunctional mechanism would respond to intervention. (...)
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  • A Field Guide to Mechanisms: Part I.Holly Andersen - 2014 - Philosophy Compass 9 (4):274-283.
    In this field guide, I distinguish five separate senses with which the term ‘mechanism’ is used in contemporary philosophy of science. Many of these senses have overlapping areas of application but involve distinct philosophical claims and characterize the target mechanisms in relevantly different ways. This field guide will clarify the key features of each sense and introduce some main debates, distinguishing those that transpire within a given sense from those that are best understood as concerning distinct senses. The ‘new mechanisms’ (...)
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  • Synthetic Modeling and Mechanistic Account: Material Recombination and Beyond.Tarja Knuuttila & Andrea Loettgers - 2013 - Philosophy of Science 80 (5):874-885.
    Recently, Bechtel and Abrahamsen have argued that mathematical models study the dynamics of mechanisms by recomposing the components and their operations into an appropriately organized system. We will study this claim through the practice of combinational modeling in circadian clock research. In combinational modeling, experiments on model organisms and mathematical/computational models are combined with a new type of model—a synthetic model. We argue that the strategy of recomposition is more complicated than what Bechtel and Abrahamsen indicate. Moreover, synthetic modeling as (...)
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  • Grounding-Mechanical Explanation.Kelly Trogdon - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (6):1289-1309.
    I argue that there is an important similarity between causation and grounding. In particular I argue that, just as there is a type of scientific explanation that appeals to causal mechanisms—causal-mechanical explanation—there is a type of metaphysical explanation that appeals to grounding mechanisms—grounding-mechanical explanation. The upshot is that the role that grounding mechanisms play in certain metaphysical explanations mirrors the role that causal mechanisms play in certain scientific explanations. In this light, it becomes clear that grounding-mechanical explanations make crucial contributions (...)
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  • Mechanism or Bust? Explanation in Psychology.Lawrence A. Shapiro - 2017 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 68 (4):1037-1059.
    ABSTRACT Proponents of mechanistic explanation have recently suggested that all explanation in the cognitive sciences is mechanistic, even functional explanation. This last claim is surprising, for functional explanation has traditionally been conceived as autonomous from the structural details that mechanistic explanations emphasize. I argue that functional explanation remains autonomous from mechanistic explanation, but not for reasons commonly associated with the phenomenon of multiple realizability. 1Introduction 2Mechanistic Explanation: A Quick Primer 3Functional Explanation: An Example 4Autonomy as Lack of Constraint 5The Price (...)
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  • The Metaphysics of Constitutive Mechanistic Phenomena.Marie I. Kaiser & Beate Krickel - 2017 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 68 (3):745-779.
    ABSTRACT The central aim of this article is to specify the ontological nature of constitutive mechanistic phenomena. After identifying three criteria of adequacy that any plausible approach to constitutive mechanistic phenomena must satisfy, we present four different suggestions, found in the mechanistic literature, of what mechanistic phenomena might be. We argue that none of these suggestions meets the criteria of adequacy. According to our analysis, constitutive mechanistic phenomena are best understood as what we will call ‘object-involving occurrents’. Furthermore, on the (...)
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  • Models Don’T Decompose That Way: A Holistic View of Idealized Models.Collin Rice - 2019 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 70 (1):179-208.
    Many accounts of scientific modelling assume that models can be decomposed into the contributions made by their accurate and inaccurate parts. These accounts then argue that the inaccurate parts of the model can be justified by distorting only what is irrelevant. In this paper, I argue that this decompositional strategy requires three assumptions that are not typically met by our best scientific models. In response, I propose an alternative view in which idealized models are characterized as holistically distorted representations that (...)
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  • What Was Hodgkin and Huxley's Achievement?Arnon Levy - 2013 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science (3):axs043.
    The Hodgkin–Huxley (HH) model of the action potential is a theoretical pillar of modern neurobiology. In a number of recent publications, Carl Craver ([2006], [2007], [2008]) has argued that the model is explanatorily deficient because it does not reveal enough about underlying molecular mechanisms. I offer an alternative picture of the HH model, according to which it deliberately abstracts from molecular specifics. By doing so, the model explains whole-cell behaviour as the product of a mass of underlying low-level events. The (...)
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  • Difference Making, Explanatory Relevance, and Mechanistic Models.Dingmar van Eck & Raoul Gervais - 2016 - Theoria: Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia 31 (1):125-134.
    In this paper we consider mechanistic explanations for biologic malfunctions. Drawing on Lipton’s work on difference making, we offer three reasons why one should distinguish i) mechanistic features that only make a difference to the malfunction one aims to explain, from ii) features that make a difference to both the malfunction and normal functioning. Recognition of the distinction is important for a) repair purposes, b) mechanism discovery, and c) understanding. This analysis extends current mechanistic thinking, which fails to appreciate the (...)
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  • Why Function Indeterminacy is Still a Problem for Biomedicine, and How Seeing Functional Items as Components of Mechanisms Can Solve It.Justin Garson - unknown
    During the 1990s, many philosophers wrestled with the problem of function indeterminacy. Although interest in the problem has waned, I argue that solving the problem is of value for biomedical research and practice. This is because a solution to the problem is required in order to specify rigorously the conditions under which a given item is “dysfunctional.” In the following I revisit a solution developed originally by Neander, which uses functional analysis to solve the problem. I situate her solution in (...)
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  • Models and Mechanisms in Network Neuroscience.Carlos Zednik - 2018 - Philosophical Psychology 32 (1):23-51.
    This paper considers the way mathematical and computational models are used in network neuroscience to deliver mechanistic explanations. Two case studies are considered: Recent work on klinotaxis by Caenorhabditis elegans, and a longstanding research effort on the network basis of schizophrenia in humans. These case studies illustrate the various ways in which network, simulation and dynamical models contribute to the aim of representing and understanding network mechanisms in the brain, and thus, of delivering mechanistic explanations. After outlining this mechanistic construal (...)
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  • The Functional Unity of Special Science Kinds.D. A. Weiskopf - 2011 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 62 (2):233-258.
    The view that special science properties are multiply realizable has been attacked in recent years by Shapiro, Bechtel and Mundale, Polger, and others. Focusing on psychological and neuroscientific properties, I argue that these attacks are unsuccessful. By drawing on interspecies physiological comparisons I show that diverse physical mechanisms can converge on common functional properties at multiple levels. This is illustrated with examples from the psychophysics and neuroscience of early vision. This convergence is compatible with the existence of general constraints on (...)
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  • Naturalism and the Enlightenment Ideal : Rethinking a Central Debate in the Philosophy of Social Science.Daniel Steel & S. Kedzie Hall - 2010 - In P. D. Magnus & Jacob Busch (eds.), New Waves in Philosophy of Science. Palgrave-Macmillan.
    The naturalism versus interpretivism debate the in philosophy of social science is traditionally framed as the question of whether social science should attempt to emulate the methods of natural science. I show that this manner of formulating the issue is problematic insofar as it presupposes an implausibly strong unity of method among the natural sciences. I propose instead that what is at stake in this debate is the feasibility and desirability of what I call the Enlightenment ideal of social science. (...)
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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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  • What Can Polysemy Tell Us About Theories of Explanation?Maria Şerban - unknown
    Philosophical accounts of scientific explanation are broadly divided into ontic and epistemic views. This paper explores the idea that the lexical ambiguity of the verb to explain and its nominalisation supports an ontic conception of explanation. I analyse one argument which challenges this strategy by criticising the claim that explanatory talk is lexically ambiguous, 375–394, 2012). I propose that the linguistic mechanism of transfer of meaning, 109–132, 1995) provides a better account of the lexical alternations that figure in the systematic (...)
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  • Lineage Explanations: Explaining How Biological Mechanisms Change.Brett Calcott - 2009 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 60 (1):51-78.
    This paper describes a pattern of explanation prevalent in the biological sciences that I call a ‘lineage explanation’. The aim of these explanations is to make plausible certain trajectories of change through phenotypic space. They do this by laying out a series of stages, where each stage shows how some mechanism worked, and the differences between each adjacent stage demonstrates how one mechanism, through minor modifications, could be changed into another. These explanations are important, for though it is widely accepted (...)
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  • The Case for Regularity in Mechanistic Causal Explanation.Holly Andersen - 2012 - Synthese 189 (3):415-432.
    How regular do mechanisms need to be, in order to count as mechanisms? This paper addresses two arguments for dropping the requirement of regularity from the definition of a mechanism, one motivated by examples from the sciences and the other motivated by metaphysical considerations regarding causation. I defend a broadened regularity requirement on mechanisms that takes the form of a taxonomy of kinds of regularity that mechanisms may exhibit. This taxonomy allows precise explication of the degree and location of regular (...)
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  • Inferential Explanations in Biology.Raoul Gervais & Erik Weber - 2013 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 44 (3):356-364.
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  • Inferential Explanations in Biology.Raoul Gervais & Erik Weber - 2013 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 44 (3):356-364.
    Among philosophers of science, there is now a widespread agreement that the DN model of explanation is poorly equipped to account for explanations in biology. Rather than identifying laws, so the consensus goes, researchers explain biological capacities by constructing a model of the underlying mechanism.We think that the dichotomy between DN explanations and mechanistic explanations is misleading. In this article, we argue that there are cases in which biological capacities are explained without constructing a model of the underlying mechanism. Although (...)
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  • The Concept of Mechanism in Biology.Daniel J. Nicholson - 2012 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 43 (1):152-163.
    The concept of mechanism in biology has three distinct meanings. It may refer to a philosophical thesis about the nature of life and biology (‘mechanicism’), to the internal workings of a machine-like structure (‘machine mechanism’), or to the causal explanation of a particular phenomenon (‘causal mechanism’). In this paper I trace the conceptual evolution of ‘mechanism’ in the history of biology, and I examine how the three meanings of this term have come to be featured in the philosophy of biology, (...)
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  • Mechanistic and Topological Explanations in Medicine: The Case of Medical Genetics and Network Medicine.Marie Darrason - 2018 - Synthese 195 (1):147-173.
    Medical explanations have often been thought on the model of biological ones and are frequently defined as mechanistic explanations of a biological dysfunction. In this paper, I argue that topological explanations, which have been described in ecology or in cognitive sciences, can also be found in medicine and I discuss the relationships between mechanistic and topological explanations in medicine, through the example of network medicine and medical genetics. Network medicine is a recent discipline that relies on the analysis of various (...)
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  • Mechanistic Information as Evidence in Decision-Oriented Science.José Luis Luján, Oliver Todt & Juan Bautista Bengoetxea - 2016 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 47 (2):293-306.
    Mechanistic information is used in the field of risk assessment in order to clarify two controversial methodological issues, the selection of inference guides and the definition of standards of evidence. In this paper we present an analysis of the concept of mechanistic information in risk assessment by recurring to previous philosophical analyses of mechanistic explanation. Our conclusion is that the conceptual analysis of mechanistic explanation facilitates a better characterization of the concept of mechanistic information. However, it also shows that the (...)
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  • Modelling Mechanisms with Causal Cycles.Brendan Clarke, Bert Leuridan & Jon Williamson - 2014 - Synthese 191 (8):1-31.
    Mechanistic philosophy of science views a large part of scientific activity as engaged in modelling mechanisms. While science textbooks tend to offer qualitative models of mechanisms, there is increasing demand for models from which one can draw quantitative predictions and explanations. Casini et al. (Theoria 26(1):5–33, 2011) put forward the Recursive Bayesian Networks (RBN) formalism as well suited to this end. The RBN formalism is an extension of the standard Bayesian net formalism, an extension that allows for modelling the hierarchical (...)
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  • Mechanism or Bust? Explanation in Psychology.Lawrence A. Shapiro - 2016 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science:axv062.
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  • The Ontic Conception of Scientific Explanation.Cory Wright - 2015 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 54:20-30.
    Wesley Salmon’s version of the ontic conception of explanation is a main historical root of contemporary work on mechanistic explanation. This paper examines and critiques the philosophical merits of Salmon’s version, and argues that his conception’s most fundamental construct is either fundamentally obscure, or else reduces to a non-ontic conception of explanation. Either way, the ontic conception is a misconception.
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  • Reconciling Ontic and Epistemic Constraints on Mechanistic Explanation, Epistemically.Dingmar van Eck - 2015 - Axiomathes 25 (1):5-22.
    In this paper I address the current debate on ontic versus epistemic conceptualizations of mechanistic explanation in the mechanisms literature. Illari recently argued that good explanations are subject to both ontic and epistemic constraints: they must describe mechanisms in the world in such fashion that they provide understanding of their workings. Elaborating upon Illari’s ‘integration’ account, I argue that causal role function discovery of mechanisms and their components is an epistemic prerequisite for achieving these two aims. This analysis extends Illari’s (...)
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  • Empirically Testable Models Are Needed for Understanding Visual Prediction.Giuseppe Trautteur, Edoardo Datteri & Matteo Santoro - 2008 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 31 (2):217-218.
    Nijhawan argues convincingly that predictive mechanisms are pervasive in the central nervous system (CNS). However, scientific understanding of visual prediction requires one to formulate empirically testable neurophysiological models. The author's suggestions in this direction are to be evaluated on the basis of more realistic experimental methodologies and more plausible assumptions on the hierarchical character of the human visual cortex.
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  • The Modeler in the Crib.Stuart S. Glennan - 2005 - Philosophical Explorations 8 (3):217-227.
    A number of developmental psychologists have argued for a theory they call the theory theory - a theory of cognitive development that suggests that infants and small children make sense of their world by constructing cognitive representations that have many of the attributes of scientific theories. In this paper I argue that there are indeed close parallels between the activities of children and scientists, but that these parallels will be better understood if one recognizes that both scientists and children are (...)
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  • Mechanistic Explanation Without the Ontic Conception.Cory Wright - 2012 - European Journal of Philosophy of Science 2 (3):375-394.
    The ontic conception of scientific explanation has been constructed and motivated on the basis of a putative lexical ambiguity in the term explanation. I raise a puzzle for this ambiguity claim, and then give a deflationary solution under which all ontically-rendered talk of explanation is merely elliptical; what it is elliptical for is a view of scientific explanation that altogether avoids the ontic conception. This result has revisionary consequences for New Mechanists and other philosophers of science, many of whom have (...)
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  • Mechanistic Explanation: Integrating the Ontic and Epistemic.Phyllis Illari - 2013 - Erkenntnis 78 (2):237-255.
    Craver claims that mechanistic explanation is ontic, while Bechtel claims that it is epistemic. While this distinction between ontic and epistemic explanation originates with Salmon, the ideas have changed in the modern debate on mechanistic explanation, where the frame of the debate is changing. I will explore what Bechtel and Craver’s claims mean, and argue that good mechanistic explanations must satisfy both ontic and epistemic normative constraints on what is a good explanation. I will argue for ontic constraints by drawing (...)
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  • Biorobotic Experiments for the Discovery of Biological Mechanisms.Edoardo Datteri & Guglielmo Tamburrini - 2007 - Philosophy of Science 74 (3):409-430.
    Robots are being extensively used for the purpose of discovering and testing empirical hypotheses about biological sensorimotor mechanisms. We examine here methodological problems that have to be addressed in order to design and perform “good” experiments with these machine models. These problems notably concern the mapping of biological mechanism descriptions into robotic mechanism descriptions; the distinction between theoretically unconstrained “implementation details” and robotic features that carry a modeling weight; the role of preliminary calibration experiments; the monitoring of experimental environments for (...)
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  • Integrating Psychology and Neuroscience: Functional Analyses as Mechanism Sketches.Gualtiero Piccinini & Carl Craver - 2011 - Synthese 183 (3):283-311.
    We sketch a framework for building a unified science of cognition. This unification is achieved by showing how functional analyses of cognitive capacities can be integrated with the multilevel mechanistic explanations of neural systems. The core idea is that functional analyses are sketches of mechanisms , in which some structural aspects of a mechanistic explanation are omitted. Once the missing aspects are filled in, a functional analysis turns into a full-blown mechanistic explanation. By this process, functional analyses are seamlessly integrated (...)
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  • 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.
    Although there has been much recent discussion on mechanisms in philosophy of science and social theory, no shared understanding of the crucial concept itself has emerged. In this paper, a distinction between two core concepts of mechanism is made on the basis that the concepts correspond to two different research strategies: the concept of mechanism as a componential causal system is associated with the heuristic of functional decomposition and spatial localization and the concept of mechanism as an abstract form of (...)
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  • What is a Mechanism? Thinking About Mechanisms Across the Sciences.Phyllis Illari & Jon Williamson - 2012 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 2 (1):119-135.
    After a decade of intense debate about mechanisms, there is still no consensus characterization. In this paper we argue for a characterization that applies widely to mechanisms across the sciences. We examine and defend our disagreements with the major current contenders for characterizations of mechanisms. Ultimately, we indicate that the major contenders can all sign up to our characterization.
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  • Mechanistic and Non-Mechanistic Varieties of Dynamical Models in Cognitive Science: Explanatory Power, Understanding, and the ‘Mere Description’ Worry.Raoul Gervais - 2015 - Synthese 192 (1):43-66.
    In the literature on dynamical models in cognitive science, two issues have recently caused controversy. First, what is the relation between dynamical and mechanistic models? I will argue that dynamical models can be upgraded to be mechanistic as well, and that there are mechanistic and non-mechanistic dynamical models. Second, there is the issue of explanatory power. Since it is uncontested the mechanistic models can explain, I will focus on the non-mechanistic variety of dynamical models. It is often claimed by proponents (...)
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  • Mechanistic Explanation in Engineering Science.Dingmar van Eck - 2015 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 5 (3):349-375.
    In this paper I apply the mechanistic account of explanation to engineering science. I discuss two ways in which this extension offers further development of the mechanistic view. First, functional individuation of mechanisms in engineering science proceeds by means of two distinct sub types of role function, behavior function and effect function, rather than role function simpliciter. Second, it offers refined assessment of the explanatory power of mechanistic explanations. It is argued that in the context of malfunction explanations of technical (...)
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  • The Journey From Discovery to Scientific Change: Scientific Communities, Shared Models, and Specialised Vocabulary.Sarah M. Roe - 2017 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 31 (1):47-67.
    Scientific communities as social groupings and the role that such communities play in scientific change and the production of scientific knowledge is currently under debate. I examine theory change as a complex social interaction among individual scientists and the scientific community, and argue that individuals will be motivated to adopt a more radical or innovative attitude when confronted with striking similarities between model systems and a more robust understanding of specialised vocabulary. Two case studies from the biological sciences, Barbara McClintock (...)
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  • Ecological Explanation Between Manipulation and Mechanism Description.Viorel Pâslaru - 2009 - Philosophy of Science 76 (5):821-837.
    James Woodward offers a conception of explanation and mechanism in terms of interventionist counterfactuals. Based on a case from ecology, I show that ecologists’ approach to that case satisfies Woodward’s conditions for explanation and mechanism, but his conception does not fully capture what ecologists view as explanatory. The new mechanistic philosophy likewise aims to describe central aspects of mechanisms, but I show that it is not sufficient to account for ecological mechanisms. I argue that in ecology explanation involves identification of (...)
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  • Intentional Models as Essential Scientific Tools.Eric Hochstein - 2013 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 27 (2):199-217.
    In this article, I argue that the use of scientific models that attribute intentional content to complex systems bears a striking similarity to the way in which statistical descriptions are used. To demonstrate this, I compare and contrast an intentional model with a statistical model, and argue that key similarities between the two give us compelling reasons to consider both as a type of phenomenological model. I then demonstrate how intentional descriptions play an important role in scientific methodology as a (...)
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  • Function, Selection, and Construction in the Brain.Justin Garson - 2012 - Synthese 189 (3):451-481.
    A common misunderstanding of the selected effects theory of function is that natural selection operating over an evolutionary time scale is the only functionbestowing process in the natural world. This construal of the selected effects theory conflicts with the existence and ubiquity of neurobiological functions that are evolutionary novel, such as structures underlying reading ability. This conflict has suggested to some that, while the selected effects theory may be relevant to some areas of evolutionary biology, its relevance to neuroscience is (...)
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  • When Mechanistic Models Explain.Carl F. Craver - 2006 - Synthese 153 (3):355-376.
    Not all models are explanatory. Some models are data summaries. Some models sketch explanations but leave crucial details unspecified or hidden behind filler terms. Some models are used to conjecture a how-possibly explanation without regard to whether it is a how-actually explanation. I use the Hodgkin and Huxley model of the action potential to illustrate these ways that models can be useful without explaining. I then use the subsequent development of the explanation of the action potential to show what is (...)
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  • Plausibility Versus Richness in Mechanistic Models.Raoul Gervais & Erik Weber - 2013 - Philosophical Psychology 26 (1):139-152.
    In this paper we argue that in recent literature on mechanistic explanations, authors tend to conflate two distinct features that mechanistic models can have or fail to have: plausibility and richness. By plausibility, we mean the probability that a model is correct in the assertions it makes regarding the parts and operations of the mechanism, i.e., that the model is correct as a description of the actual mechanism. By richness, we mean the amount of detail the model gives about the (...)
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  • The Functional Sense of Mechanism.Justin Garson - 2013 - Philosophy of Science 80 (3):317-333.
    This article presents a distinct sense of ‘mechanism’, which I call the functional sense of mechanism. According to this sense, mechanisms serve functions, and this fact places substantive restrictions on the kinds of system activities ‘for which’ there can be a mechanism. On this view, there are no mechanisms for pathology; pathologies result from disrupting mechanisms for functions. Second, on this sense, natural selection is probably not a mechanism for evolution because it does not serve a function. After distinguishing this (...)
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  • Medicalization and Epistemic Injustice.Alistair Wardrope - 2015 - Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 18 (3):341-352.
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  • Model Testing, Prediction and Experimental Protocols in Neuroscience: A Case Study.Edoardo Datteri & Federico Laudisa - 2012 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 43 (3):602-610.
    In their theoretical and experimental reflections on the capacities and behaviours of living systems, neuroscientists often formulate generalizations about the behaviour of neural circuits. These generalizations are highly idealized, as they omit reference to the myriads of conditions that could perturb the behaviour of the modelled system in real-world settings. This article analyses an experimental investigation of the behaviour of place cells in the rat hippocampus, in which highly idealized generalizations were tested by comparing predictions flowing from them with real-world (...)
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  • 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.
    In the recent literature on explanation in biology, increasing attention is being paid to the connection between design explanation and mechanistic explanation, viz. the role of design principles and heuristics for mechanism discovery and mechanistic explanation. In this paper we extend the connection between design explanation and mechanism discovery by prizing apart two different types of design explanation and by elaborating novel heuristics that one specific type offers for mechanism discovery across species. We illustrate our claims in terms of two (...)
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