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Mechanisms Without Mechanistic Explanation

Weinberger, Naftali (2017) Mechanisms Without Mechanistic Explanation. [Preprint]

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Abstract

Some recent accounts of constitutive relevance have identified mechanism components with entities that are causal intermediaries between the input and output of a mechanism. I argue that on such accounts there is no distinctive inter-level form of mechanistic explanation and that this highlights an absence in the literature of a compelling argument that there are such explanations. Nevertheless, the entities that these accounts call ‘components’ do play an explanatory role. Studying causal intermediaries linking variables X and Y provides knowledge of the counterfactual conditions under which X will continue to bring about Y. This explanatory role does not depend on whether intermediate variables count as components. The question of whether there are distinctively mechanistic explanations remains open.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Weinberger, Naftalinaftali.weinberger@gmail.com
Additional Information: To Appear in Synthese
Keywords: Mechanisms; Causation; Causal Modeling; Extrapolation; Constitution;
Subjects: General Issues > Causation
Specific Sciences > Complex Systems
Specific Sciences > Cognitive Science
General Issues > Experimentation
General Issues > Explanation
Depositing User: Mr. Naftali Weinberger
Date Deposited: 18 Aug 2017 16:02
Last Modified: 18 Aug 2017 16:02
Item ID: 13333
Subjects: General Issues > Causation
Specific Sciences > Complex Systems
Specific Sciences > Cognitive Science
General Issues > Experimentation
General Issues > Explanation
Date: 14 August 2017
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/13333

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