Making Sense of Interlevel Causation in Mechanisms from a Metaphysical Perspective

Download Edit this record How to cite View on PhilPapers
According to the new mechanistic approach, an acting entity is at a lower mechanistic level than another acting entity if and only if the former is a component in the mechanism for the latter. Craver and Bechtel :547–563, 2007. doi:10.1007/s10539-006-9028-8) argue that a consequence of this view is that there cannot be causal interactions between acting entities at different mechanistic levels. Their main reason seems to be what I will call the Metaphysical Argument: things at different levels of a mechanism are related as part and whole; wholes and their parts cannot be related as cause and effect; hence, interlevel causation in mechanisms is impossible. I will analyze this argument in more detail and show under which conditions it is valid. This analysis will reveal that interlevel causation in mechanisms is indeed possible, if we take seriously the idea that the relata of the mechanistic level relation are acting entities and accept a slightly modified notion of a mechanistic level that is highly plausible in the light of the first clarification.
Reprint years
PhilPapers/Archive ID
Revision history
Archival date: 2017-05-26
View upload history
References found in this work BETA
.Williamson, Timothy
Thinking About Mechanisms.Machamer, Peter K.; Darden, Lindley & Craver, Carl F.

View all 33 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
Mechanistic Explanation for Enactive Sociality.Abramova, Ekaterina & Slors, Marc

Add more citations

Added to PP index

Total views
234 ( #18,466 of 48,954 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
49 ( #13,648 of 48,954 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks to external links.