Title

Mechanisms and Mechanical Philosophy

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

September 2016

Publication Title

The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Science

DOI

10.1093/OXFORDHB/9780199368815.013.39

Abstract

The past twenty years have seen a resurgence of philosophical interest in mechanisms, an interest that has been driven both by concerns with the logical empiricist tradition and by the sense that a philosophy of science that attends to mechanisms will be more successful than traditional alternatives in illuminating the actual content and practice of science. In this chapter, the author surveys some of the topics discussed by the so-called new mechanists. These include the nature of mechanisms themselves, how mechanisms are discovered and represented via models, the debate over the norms of mechanistic explanation, and the relationship between mechanisms and causation.

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