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Decoupling Topological Explanations from Mechanisms

Kostic, Daniel and Khalifa, Kareem (2022) Decoupling Topological Explanations from Mechanisms. [Preprint]

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Abstract

Recent debates concern the question of whether topological or “network” explanations are a species of mechanistic explanation. In this paper, we provide a more principled framework for the purposes of advancing these discussions. Our innovations on this front are threefold. First, we more precisely characterize the requirement that all topological explanations are mechanistic explanations, and show scientific practice to belie such a requirement. Second, we provide an account that unifies mechanistic and non-mechanistic topological explanations, thereby enriching both the mechanist and autonomist programs by highlighting when and where topological explanations are mechanistic. Third, we defend this view against some powerful mechanist objections. We conclude from this that topological explanations are autonomous from their mechanistic counterparts.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Kostic, Danieldaniel.kostic@gmail.com0000-0001-5729-1476
Khalifa, Kareemkkhalifa@middlebury.edu
Additional Information: Forthcoming in Philosophy of Science. Please cite the published version.
Keywords: Topological explanation, Mechanistic explanation, Constitutive mechanistic explanation, Contextual mechanistic explanation, Etiological mechanistic explanation, Levels, Causation.
Subjects: General Issues > Causation
General Issues > Explanation
General Issues > Models and Idealization
Specific Sciences > Neuroscience
Depositing User: Dr. Daniel Kostic
Date Deposited: 20 Mar 2022 03:30
Last Modified: 20 Mar 2022 03:30
Item ID: 20351
Subjects: General Issues > Causation
General Issues > Explanation
General Issues > Models and Idealization
Specific Sciences > Neuroscience
Date: 2022
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/20351

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