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  1. Uncovering Constitutive Relevance Relations in Mechanisms.Alexander Gebharter - 2017 - Philosophical Studies 174 (11):2645-2666.
    In this paper I argue that constitutive relevance relations in mechanisms behave like a special kind of causal relation in at least one important respect: Under suitable circumstances constitutive relevance relations produce the Markov factorization. Based on this observation one may wonder whether standard methods for causal discovery could be fruitfully applied to uncover constitutive relevance relations. This paper is intended as a first step into this new area of philosophical research. I investigate to what extent the PC algorithm, originally (...)
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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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  • “Looking Up” and “Looking Down”: On the Dual Character of Mechanistic Explanations.Kari L. Theurer - 2018 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 49 (3):371-392.
    Mechanistic explanation is at present the received view of scientific explanation. One of its central features is the idea that mechanistic explanations are both “downward looking” and “upward looking”: they explain by offering information about the internal constitution of the mechanism as well as the larger environment in which the mechanism is situated. That is, they offer both constitutive and contextual explanatory information. Adequate mechanistic explanations, on this view, accommodate the full range of explanatory factors both “above” and “below” the (...)
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  • Reduction Without Elimination: Mental Disorders as Causally Efficacious Properties.Gottfried Vosgerau & Patrice Soom - 2018 - Minds and Machines 28 (2):311-330.
    We argue that any account of mental disorders that meets the desideratum of assigning causal efficacy to mental disorders faces the so-called “causal exclusion problem”. We argue that fully reductive accounts solve this problem but run into the problem of multiple realizability. Recently advocated symptom-network approaches avoid the problem of multiple realizability, but they also run into the causal exclusion problem. Based on a critical analysis of these accounts, we will present our own account according to which mental disorders are (...)
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  • Validating Function-Based Design Methods: An Explanationist Perspective.Dingmar van Eck - 2015 - Philosophy and Technology 28 (4):511-531.
    Analysis of the adequacy of engineering design methods, as well as analysis of the utility of concepts of function often invoked in these methods, is a neglected topic in both philosophy of technology and in engineering proper. In this paper, I present an approach—dubbed an explanationist perspective—for assessing the adequacy of function-based design methods. Engineering design is often intertwined with explanation, for instance, in reverse engineering and subsequent redesign, knowledge base-assisted designing, and diagnostic reasoning. I argue that the presented approach (...)
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