Switch to: Citations

References in:

Mechanisms, counterfactuals and laws

In Stuart Glennan & Phyllis Illari (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Mechanisms and Mechanical Philosophy. Routledge. pp. 144-156 (2018)

Add references

You must login to add references.
  1. Making Things Happen.Eric Hiddleston - 2005 - Philosophical Review 114 (4):545-547.
    Woodward's long awaited book is an attempt to construct a comprehensive account of causation explanation that applies to a wide variety of causal and explanatory claims in different areas of science and everyday life. The book engages some of the relevant literature from other disciplines, as Woodward weaves together examples, counterexamples, criticisms, defences, objections, and replies into a convincing defence of the core of his theory, which is that we can analyse causation by appeal to the notion of manipulation.
    Download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   311 citations  
  • Explaining the Brain.Carl F. Craver - 2009 - Oxford University Press.
    Carl F. Craver investigates what we are doing when we use neuroscience to explain what's going on in the brain. When does an explanation succeed and when does it fail? Craver offers explicit standards for successful explanation of the workings of the brain, on the basis of a systematic view about what neuroscientific explanations are.
    Download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   244 citations  
  • What is a Law of Nature?D. M. Armstrong - 1983 - Cambridge University Press.
    This is a study of a crucial and controversial topic in metaphysics and the philosophy of science: the status of the laws of nature. D. M. Armstrong works out clearly and in comprehensive detail a largely original view that laws are relations between properties or universals. The theory is continuous with the views on universals and more generally with the scientific realism that Professor Armstrong has advanced in earlier publications. He begins here by mounting an attack on the orthodox and (...)
    Download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   370 citations  
  • The Cement of the Universe.J. L. Mackie - 1974 - Oxford, Clarendon Press.
    Download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   266 citations  
  • The New Mechanical Philosophy.Stuart Glennan - 2017 - Oxford University Press.
    This volume argues for a new image of science that understands both natural and social phenomena to be the product of mechanisms, casting the work of science as an effort to understand those mechanisms. Glennan offers an account of the nature of mechanisms and of the models used to represent them in physical, life, and social sciences.
    Download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   29 citations  
  • Causation and Explanation.Stathis Psillos - 2002 - Routledge.
    What is the nature of causation? How is causation linked with explanation? And can there be an adequate theory of explanation? These questions and many others are addressed in this unified and rigorous examination of the philosophical problems surrounding causation, laws and explanation. Part 1 of this book explores Hume's views on causation, theories of singular causation, and counterfactual and mechanistic approaches. Part 2 considers the regularity view of laws and laws as relations among universals, as well as recent alternative (...)
    Download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   38 citations  
  • Causation and Explanation.Stathis Psillos - 2002 - Routledge.
    What is the nature of causation? How is causation linked with explanation? And can there be an adequate theory of explanation? These questions and many others are addressed in this unified and rigorous examination of the philosophical problems surrounding causation, laws and explanation. Part 1 of this book explores Hume's views on causation, theories of singular causation, and counterfactual and mechanistic approaches. Part 2 considers the regularity view of laws and laws as relations among universals, as well as recent alternative (...)
    Download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   57 citations  
  • Mental Mechanisms: Philosophical Perspectives on Cognitive Neuroscience.William Bechtel - 2007 - Psychology Press.
    A variety of scientific disciplines have set as their task explaining mental activities, recognizing that in some way these activities depend upon our brain. But, until recently, the opportunities to conduct experiments directly on our brains were limited. As a result, research efforts were split between disciplines such as cognitive psychology, linguistics, and artificial intelligence that investigated behavior, while disciplines such as neuroanatomy, neurophysiology, and genetics experimented on the brains of non-human animals. In recent decades these disciplines integrated, and with (...)
    Download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   139 citations  
  • Scientific Explanation and the Causal Structure of the World.Wesley Salmon - 1984 - Princeton University Press.
    The philosophical theory of scientific explanation proposed here involves a radically new treatment of causality that accords with the pervasively statistical character of contemporary science. Wesley C. Salmon describes three fundamental conceptions of scientific explanation--the epistemic, modal, and ontic. He argues that the prevailing view is untenable and that the modal conception is scientifically out-dated. Significantly revising aspects of his earlier work, he defends a causal/mechanical theory that is a version of the ontic conception. Professor Salmon's theory furnishes a robust (...)
    Download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   781 citations  
  • Making Things Happen: A Theory of Causal Explanation.James Woodward - 2003 - Oxford University Press.
    Woodward's long awaited book is an attempt to construct a comprehensive account of causation explanation that applies to a wide variety of causal and explanatory claims in different areas of science and everyday life. The book engages some of the relevant literature from other disciplines, as Woodward weaves together examples, counterexamples, criticisms, defenses, objections, and replies into a convincing defense of the core of his theory, which is that we can analyze causation by appeal to the notion of manipulation.
    Download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   1053 citations  
  • Regularities, Natural Patterns and Laws of Nature.Stathis Psillos - 2014 - Theoria : An International Journal for Theory, History and Fundations of Science 29 (1):9-27.
    The goal of this paper is to sketch an empiricist metaphysics of laws of nature. The key idea is that there are regularities without regularity-enforcers. Differently put, there are natural laws without law-makers _of a distinct metaphysical kind_. This sketch will rely on the concept of a natural pattern and more significantly on the existence of a network of natural patterns in nature. The relation between a regularity and a pattern will be analysed in terms of mereology. Here is the (...)
    Download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   9 citations  
  • Scientific Explanation and the Causal Structure of the World.Ronald N. Giere - 1988 - Philosophical Review 97 (3):444.
    Download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   353 citations  
  • What is a Law of Nature?Mark Wilson - 1987 - Philosophical Review 96 (3):435-441.
    Download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   195 citations  
  • The Direction of Time.Henryk Mehlberg - 1962 - Philosophical Review 71 (1):99.
    Download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   225 citations  
  • Explanation and Invariance in the Special Sciences.James Woodward - 2000 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 51 (2):197-254.
    This paper describes an alternative to the common view that explanation in the special sciences involves subsumption under laws. According to this alternative, whether or not a generalization can be used to explain has to do with whether it is invariant rather than with whether it is lawful. A generalization is invariant if it is stable or robust in the sense that it would continue to hold under a relevant if it is stable or robust in the sense that it (...)
    Download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   131 citations  
  • Regularities and Causality; Generalizations and Causal Explanations.Jim Bogen - 2005 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 36 (2):397-420.
    Machamer, Darden, and Craver argue that causal explanations explain effects by describing the operations of the mechanisms which produce them. One of this paper’s aims is to take advantage of neglected resources of Mechanism to rethink the traditional idea that actual or counterfactual natural regularities are essential to the distinction between causal and non-causal co-occurrences, and that generalizations describing natural regularities are essential components of causal explanations. I think that causal productivity and regularity are by no means the same thing, (...)
    Download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   68 citations  
  • Explanation: A Mechanist Alternative.William Bechtel - 2005 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Biol and Biomed Sci 36 (2):421--441.
    Explanations in the life sciences frequently involve presenting a model of the mechanism taken to be responsible for a given phenomenon. Such explanations depart in numerous ways from nomological explanations commonly presented in philosophy of science. This paper focuses on three sorts of differences. First, scientists who develop mechanistic explanations are not limited to linguistic representations and logical inference; they frequently employ dia- grams to characterize mechanisms and simulations to reason about them. Thus, the epistemic resources for presenting mechanistic explanations (...)
    Download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   364 citations  
  • A Glimpse of the Secret Connexion: Harmonizing Mechanisms with Counterfactuals.Stathis Psillos - 2003 - Perspectives on Science 12 (3):288-319.
    Among the current philosophical attempts to understand causation two seem to be the most prominent. The first is James Woodward’s counterfactual approach; the second is the mechanistic approach advocated by Peter Machamer, Lindley Darden, Carl Craver, Jim Bogen and Stuart Glennan. The counterfactual approach takes it that causes make a difference to their effects, where this difference-making is cashed out in terms of actual and counterfactual interventions. The mechanistic approach takes it that two events are causally related if and only (...)
    Download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   49 citations  
  • Against Regular and Irregular Characterizations of Mechanisms.Lane DesAutels - 2011 - Philosophy of Science 78 (5):914-925.
    This article addresses the question of whether we should conceive of mechanisms as productive of change in a regular way. I argue that, if mechanisms are characterized as fully regular, on the one hand, then not enough processes will count as mechanisms for them to be interesting or useful. If no appeal to regularity is made at all in their characterization, on the other hand, then mechanisms can no longer be useful for grounding prediction and supporting intervention strategies. I conclude (...)
    Download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   6 citations  
  • The Causal Structure of Mechanisms.Peter Menzies - 2012 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 43 (4):796-805.
    Recently, a number of philosophers of science have claimed that much explanation in the sciences, especially in the biomedical and social sciences, is mechanistic explanation. I argue the account of mechanistic explanation provided in this tradition has not been entirely satisfactory, as it has neglected to describe in complete detail the crucial causal structure of mechanistic explanation. I show how the interventionist approach to causation, especially within a structural equations framework, provides a simple and elegant account of the causal structure (...)
    Download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   10 citations  
  • The Nature of Laws.Michael Tooley - 1977 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 7 (4):667-98.
    This paper is concerned with the question of the truth conditions of nomological statements. My fundamental thesis is that it is possible to set out an acceptable, noncircular account of the truth conditions of laws and nomological statements if and only if relations among universals - that is, among properties and relations, construed realistically - are taken as the truth-makers for such statements. My discussion will be restricted to strictly universal, nonstatistical laws. The reason for this limitation is not that (...)
    Download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   287 citations  
  • Laws of Nature.Fred Dretske - 1977 - Philosophy of Science 44 (2):248-268.
    It is a traditional empiricist doctrine that natural laws are universal truths. In order to overcome the obvious difficulties with this equation most empiricists qualify it by proposing to equate laws with universal truths that play a certain role, or have a certain function, within the larger scientific enterprise. This view is examined in detail and rejected; it fails to account for a variety of features that laws are acknowledged to have. An alternative view is advanced in which laws are (...)
    Download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   314 citations  
  • Ephemeral Mechanisms and Historical Explanation.Stuart Glennan - 2010 - Erkenntnis 72 (2):251-266.
    While much of the recent literature on mechanisms has emphasized the superiority of mechanisms and mechanistic explanation over laws and nomological explanation, paradigmatic mechanisms—e.g., clocks or synapses—actually exhibit a great deal of stability in their behavior. And while mechanisms of this kind are certainly of great importance, there are many events that do not occur as a consequence of the operation of stable mechanisms. Events of natural and human history are often the consequence of causal processes that are ephemeral and (...)
    Download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   30 citations  
  • Scientific Explanation and the Causal Structure of the World. Wesley Salmon.James H. Fetzer - 1987 - Philosophy of Science 54 (4):597-610.
    Download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   158 citations  
  • Function and Design.Philip Kitcher - 1993 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 18 (1):379-397.
    Download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   103 citations  
  • What is a Law of Nature?David M. Armstrong - 1983 - Cambridge University Press.
    First published in 1985, D. M. Armstrong's original work on what laws of nature are has continued to be influential in the areas of metaphysics and philosophy of science. Presenting a definitive attack on the sceptical Humean view, that laws are no more than a regularity of coincidence between stances of properties, Armstrong establishes his own theory and defends it concisely and systematically against objections. Presented in a fresh twenty-first-century series livery, and including a specially commissioned preface written by Marc (...)
    Download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   208 citations  
  • Two Concepts of Causation.Ned Hall - 2004 - In John Collins, Ned Hall & Laurie Paul (eds.), Causation and Counterfactuals. MIT Press. pp. 225-276.
    Download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   204 citations  
  • Functional Analysis.Robert Cummins - 1975 - Journal of Philosophy 72 (November):741-64.
    Download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   586 citations  
  • Causal Relations.Donald Davidson - 1967 - Journal of Philosophy 64 (21):691-703.
    Download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   260 citations  
  • 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 (...)
    Download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   31 citations  
  • Can Mechanisms Really Replace Laws of Nature?Bert Leuridan - 2010 - Philosophy of Science 77 (3):317-340.
    Today, mechanisms and mechanistic explanation are very popular in philosophy of science and are deemed a welcome alternative to laws of nature and deductive‐nomological explanation. Starting from Mitchell's pragmatic notion of laws, I cast doubt on their status as a genuine alternative. I argue that (1) all complex‐systems mechanisms ontologically must rely on stable regularities, while (2) the reverse need not hold. Analogously, (3) models of mechanisms must incorporate pragmatic laws, while (4) such laws themselves need not always refer to (...)
    Download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   25 citations  
  • What is a Mechanism? A Counterfactual Account.Jim Woodward - 2002 - Proceedings of the Philosophy of Science Association 2002 (3):S366-S377.
    This paper presents a counterfactual account of what a mechanism is. Mechanisms consist of parts, the behavior of which conforms to generalizations that are invariant under interventions, and which are modular in the sense that it is possible in principle to change the behavior of one part independently of the others. Each of these features can be captured by the truth of certain counterfactuals.
    Download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   136 citations  
  • Rethinking Mechanistic Explanation.Stuart Glennan - 2002 - Proceedings of the Philosophy of Science Association 2002 (3):S342-353.
    Philosophers of science typically associate the causal-mechanical view of scientific explanation with the work of Railton and Salmon. In this paper I shall argue that the defects of this view arise from an inadequate analysis of the concept of mechanism. I contrast Salmon's account of mechanisms in terms of the causal nexus with my own account of mechanisms, in which mechanisms are viewed as complex systems. After describing these two concepts of mechanism, I show how the complex-systems approach avoids certain (...)
    Download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   301 citations  
  • 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 (...)
    Download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   21 citations  
  • Mechanisms and Laws: Clarifying the Debate.Marie I. Kaiser & C. F. Craver - 2013 - In H.-K. Chao, S.-T. Chen & R. Millstein (eds.), Mechanism and Causality in Biology and Economics. Dordrecht: Springer. pp. 125-145.
    Leuridan (2011) questions whether mechanisms can really replace laws at the heart of our thinking about science. In doing so, he enters a long-standing discussion about the relationship between the mech-anistic structures evident in the theories of contemporary biology and the laws of nature privileged especially in traditional empiricist traditions of the philosophy of science (see e.g. Wimsatt 1974; Bechtel and Abrahamsen 2005; Bogen 2005; Darden 2006; Glennan 1996; MDC 2000; Schaffner 1993; Tabery 2003; Weber 2005). In our view, Leuridan (...)
    Download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   14 citations  
  • Mechanisms and Counterfactuals: A Different Glimpse of the Connexion.Rafaella Campaner - 2006 - Philosophica 77.
    Ever since Wesley Salmon’s theory, the mechanical approach to causality has found an increasing number of supporters who have developed it in different directions. Mechanical views such as those advanced by Stuart Glennan, Jim Bogen and Peter Machamer, Lindley Darden and Carl Craver have met with broad consensus in recent years. This paper analyses the main features of these mechanical positions and some of the major problems they still face, referring to the latest debate on mechanisms, causal explanation and the (...)
    Download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   8 citations  
  • Mechanisms and the Nature of Causation.StuartS Glennan - 1996 - Erkenntnis 44 (1):49--71.
    In this paper I offer an analysis of causation based upon a theory of mechanisms-complex systems whose internal parts interact to produce a system's external behavior. I argue that all but the fundamental laws of physics can be explained by reference to mechanisms. Mechanisms provide an epistemologically unproblematic way to explain the necessity which is often taken to distinguish laws from other generalizations. This account of necessity leads to a theory of causation according to which events are causally related when (...)
    Download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   335 citations  
  • Singular and General Causal Relations: A Mechanist Perspective.Stuart Glennan - 2011 - In Phyllis McKay Illari, Federica Russo & Jon Williamson (eds.), Causality in the Sciences. Oxford University Press.
    My aim in this paper is to make a case for the singularist view from the perspective of a mechanical theory of causation, and to explain what, from this perspective, causal generalizations mean, and what role they play within the mechanical theory.
    Download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   22 citations  
  • Mechanistic Explanation at the Limit.Jonathan Waskan - 2011 - Synthese 183 (3):389-408.
    Resurgent interest in both mechanistic and counterfactual theories of explanation has led to a fair amount of discussion regarding the relative merits of these two approaches. James Woodward is currently the pre-eminent counterfactual theorist, and he criticizes the mechanists on the following grounds: Unless mechanists about explanation invoke counterfactuals, they cannot make sense of claims about causal interactions between mechanism parts or of causal explanations put forward absent knowledge of productive mechanisms. He claims that these shortfalls can be offset if (...)
    Download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   11 citations  
  • Nature’s Metaphysics.Alexander Bird - 2007 - Oxford University Press.
    Professional philosophers and advanced students working in metaphysics and the philosophy of science will find this book both provocative and stimulating.
    Download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   290 citations  
  • Physical Causation.D. Ehring - 2003 - Mind 112 (447):529-533.
    Download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   72 citations  
  • What Is a Law of Nature?James Woodward - 1985 - Ethics 95 (4):949-951.
    Download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   43 citations  
  • Three Kinds of New Mechanism.Arnon Levy - 2013 - Biology and Philosophy 28 (1):99-114.
    I distinguish three theses associated with the new mechanistic philosophy – concerning causation, explanation and scientific methodology. Advocates of each thesis are identified and relationships among them are outlined. I then look at some recent work on natural selection and mechanisms. There, attention to different kinds of New Mechanism significantly affects of what is at stake.
    Download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   26 citations  
  • Mechanisms Revisited.James Woodward - 2011 - Synthese 183 (3):409-427.
    This paper defends an interventionist treatment of mechanisms and contrasts this with Waskan (forthcoming). Interventionism embodies a difference-making conception of causation. I contrast such conceptions with geometrical/mechanical or “actualist” conceptions, associating Waskan’s proposals with the latter. It is argued that geometrical/mechanical conceptions of causation cannot replace difference-making conceptions in characterizing the behavior of mechanisms, but that some of the intuitions behind the geometrical/mechanical approach can be captured by thinking in terms of spatio-temporally organized difference-making information.
    Download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   24 citations  
  • Explanation: A Mechanist Alternative.William Bechtel & Adele Abrahamsen - 2005 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 36 (2):421-441.
    Explanations in the life sciences frequently involve presenting a model of the mechanism taken to be responsible for a given phenomenon. Such explanations depart in numerous ways from nomological explanations commonly presented in philosophy of science. This paper focuses on three sorts of differences. First, scientists who develop mechanistic explanations are not limited to linguistic representations and logical inference; they frequently employ diagrams to characterize mechanisms and simulations to reason about them. Thus, the epistemic resources for presenting mechanistic explanations are (...)
    Download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   355 citations  
  • Causal Relations.Donald Davidson - 2004 - In Tim Crane & Katalin Farkas (eds.), Metaphysics: A Guide and Anthology. Oxford University Press.
    Download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   81 citations  
  • 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’ (...)
    Download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   23 citations  
  • A Field Guide to Mechanisms: Part II.Holly Andersen - 2014 - Philosophy Compass 9 (4):284-293.
    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 two distinct senses. The ‘new (...)
    Download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   12 citations  
  • Thinking About Mechanisms.Peter K. Machamer, Lindley Darden & Carl F. Craver - 2000 - Philosophy of Science 67 (1):1-25.
    The concept of mechanism is analyzed in terms of entities and activities, organized such that they are productive of regular changes. Examples show how mechanisms work in neurobiology and molecular biology. Thinking in terms of mechanisms provides a new framework for addressing many traditional philosophical issues: causality, laws, explanation, reduction, and scientific change.
    Download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   1003 citations  
  • Role Functions, Mechanisms, and Hierarchy.Carl F. Craver - 2001 - Philosophy of Science 68 (1):53-74.
    Many areas of science develop by discovering mechanisms and role functions. Cummins' (1975) analysis of role functions-according to which an item's role function is a capacity of that item that appears in an analytic explanation of the capacity of some containing system-captures one important sense of "function" in the biological sciences and elsewhere. Here I synthesize Cummins' account with recent work on mechanisms and causal/mechanical explanation. The synthesis produces an analysis of specifically mechanistic role functions, one that uses the characteristic (...)
    Download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   185 citations