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Mechanistic explanation: asymmetry lost

In Dennis Dieks & Vassilios Karakostas (eds.), Recent Progress in Philosophy of Science: Perspectives and Foundational Problems. Springer (2013)

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  1. Mutual manipulability and causal inbetweenness.Totte Harinen - 2018 - Synthese 195 (1):35-54.
    Carl Craver’s mutual manipulability criterion aims to pick out all and only those components of a mechanism that are constitutively relevant with respect to a given phenomenon. In devising his criterion, Craver has made heavy use of the notion of an ideal intervention, which is a tool for illuminating causal concepts in causal models. The problem is that typical mechanistic models contain non-causal relations in addition to causal ones, which is why the standard concept of an ideal intervention is not (...)
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  • Phenomenal Precision and Some Possible Pitfalls – A Commentary on Ned Block.Sascha Benjamin Fink - 2015 - Open MIND.
    Ground Representationism is the position that for each phenomenal feature there is a representational feature that accounts for it. Against this thesis, Ned Block (The Puzzle of Phenomenal Precision, 2015) has provided an intricate argument that rests on the notion of “phenomenal precision”: the phenomenal precision of a percept may change at a different rate from its representational counterpart. If so, there is then no representational feature that accounts for a specific change of this phenomenal feature. Therefore, Ground Representationism cannot (...)
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  • Constitutive Relevance, Mutual Manipulability, and Fat-Handedness.Michael Baumgartner & Alexander Gebharter - 2016 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 67 (3):731-756.
    The first part of this paper argues that if Craver’s ([2007a], [2007b]) popular mutual manipulability account (MM) of mechanistic constitution is embedded within Woodward’s ([2003]) interventionist theory of causation--for which it is explicitly designed--it either undermines the mechanistic research paradigm by entailing that there do not exist relationships of constitutive relevance or it gives rise to the unwanted consequence that constitution is a form of causation. The second part shows how Woodward’s theory can be adapted in such a way that (...)
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  • Constitutive Relevance in Interlevel Experiments.Maria Serban & Sune Holm - 2020 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 71 (2):697-725.
    One reason for the popularity of Craver’s mutual manipulability account of constitutive relevance is that it seems to make good sense of the experimental practices and constitutive reasoning in the life sciences. Two recent papers propose a theoretical alternative to in light of several important conceptual objections. Their alternative approach, the no de-coupling account, conceives of constitution as a dependence relation that once postulated provides the best explanation of the impossibility of breaking the common cause coupling of a macro-level mechanism (...)
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  • Diachronic causal constitutive relations.Bert Leuridan & Thomas Lodewyckx - 2020 - Synthese (9):1-31.
    Mechanistic approaches are very common in the causal interpretation of biological and neuroscientific experimental work in today’s philosophy of science. In the mechanistic literature a strict distinction is often made between causal relations and constitutive relations, where the latter cannot be causal. One of the typical reasons for this strict distinction is that constitutive relations are supposedly synchronic whereas most if not all causal relations are diachronic. This strict distinction gives rise to a number of problems, however. Our end goal (...)
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  • A Defence of Manipulationist Noncausal Explanation: The Case for Intervention Liberalism.Nicholas Emmerson - 2023 - Erkenntnis 88 (8):3179-3201.
    Recent years have seen growing interest in modifying interventionist accounts of causal explanation in order to characterise noncausal explanation. However, one surprising element of such accounts is that they have typically jettisoned the core feature of interventionism: interventions. Indeed, the prevailing opinion within the philosophy of science literature suggests that interventions exclusively demarcate causal relationships. This position is so prevalent that, until now, no one has even thought to name it. We call it “intervention puritanism” (I-puritanism, for short). In this (...)
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