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Mechanisms: Are activities up to the job?

Persson, Johannes LU (2010) In EPSA Epistemology and Methodology of Science: Launch of the European Philosophy of Science Association p.201-209
Abstract
In this article I examine whether an influential theory of mechanisms proposed by Peter Machamer, Lindley Darden and Carl Craver can accommodate polygenic effects. This theory is both interesting and problematic, I will argue, because it ascribes a central role to activities. In it, activities are needed not only to constitute mechanisms but also to perform their causal role. These putative functions of activities become problematic in certain situations where several causes or elements of a mechanism contribute simultaneously, i.e. with certain forms of polygenic causation. The problematic form of polygeny, polygeny 2, occurs when the polygenic contribution concerns one and the same property or aspect of the affected object. When the... (More)
In this article I examine whether an influential theory of mechanisms proposed by Peter Machamer, Lindley Darden and Carl Craver can accommodate polygenic effects. This theory is both interesting and problematic, I will argue, because it ascribes a central role to activities. In it, activities are needed not only to constitute mechanisms but also to perform their causal role. These putative functions of activities become problematic in certain situations where several causes or elements of a mechanism contribute simultaneously, i.e. with certain forms of polygenic causation. The problematic form of polygeny, polygeny 2, occurs when the polygenic contribution concerns one and the same property or aspect of the affected object. When the result of such causation is that nothing happens, the theory suggested by Machamer and his colleagues cannot be applied. More generally, it seems that, whenever polygeny 2 is involved, the Machamer approach leads to an impoverished conception of mechanism. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
publishing date
type
Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceeding
publication status
published
subject
keywords
causation, metaphysics, processes, philosophy of science, activities, Machamer, Mechanisms
in
EPSA Epistemology and Methodology of Science: Launch of the European Philosophy of Science Association
editor
M, Suárez; M, Dorato and M, Rédei
pages
201 - 209
publisher
Springer
external identifiers
  • WOS:000282597600017
  • Scopus:84892303543
ISBN
978-90-481-3262-1 (print)
978-90-481-3263-8 (online)
DOI
10.1007/978-90-481-3263-8
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
b8082376-8e0b-4e75-8e9c-5ea141934b7b (old id 1293834)
alternative location
http://www.springerlink.com/content/978-90-481-3262-1?sortorder=asc&p_o=10
date added to LUP
2009-02-16 13:39:06
date last changed
2016-10-13 04:47:18
@misc{b8082376-8e0b-4e75-8e9c-5ea141934b7b,
  abstract     = {In this article I examine whether an influential theory of mechanisms proposed by Peter Machamer, Lindley Darden and Carl Craver can accommodate polygenic effects. This theory is both interesting and problematic, I will argue, because it ascribes a central role to activities. In it, activities are needed not only to constitute mechanisms but also to perform their causal role. These putative functions of activities become problematic in certain situations where several causes or elements of a mechanism contribute simultaneously, i.e. with certain forms of polygenic causation. The problematic form of polygeny, polygeny 2, occurs when the polygenic contribution concerns one and the same property or aspect of the affected object. When the result of such causation is that nothing happens, the theory suggested by Machamer and his colleagues cannot be applied. More generally, it seems that, whenever polygeny 2 is involved, the Machamer approach leads to an impoverished conception of mechanism.},
  author       = {Persson, Johannes},
  editor       = {M, Suárez and M, Dorato and M, Rédei},
  isbn         = {978-90-481-3262-1 (print)},
  keyword      = {causation,metaphysics,processes,philosophy of science,activities,Machamer,Mechanisms},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {201--209},
  publisher    = {ARRAY(0x5de7750)},
  series       = {EPSA Epistemology and Methodology of Science: Launch of the European Philosophy of Science Association},
  title        = {Mechanisms: Are activities up to the job?},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-90-481-3263-8},
  year         = {2010},
}