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Varieties of Mechanisms

Stuart, Glennan and Phyllis, Illari (2018) Varieties of Mechanisms. [Preprint]

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The things that scientists and philosophers have called mechanisms are a diverse lot. In this Chapter we provide some taxonomic principles to help sort them out. We start with the permissive conception called minimal mechanism, which suggests that a mechanism consists of entities whose activities and interactions are organized so as to be responsible for some phenomenon. We then sort mechanistic varieties by considering the varieties of phenomena, varieties of entities and activities/interactions, varieties of organization and also varieties of origins (etiologies). We explore interdependencies within this taxonomic space, and consider why certain varieties of mechanisms are characteristic of certain scientific domains, how many of these varieties cross domains, and how different varieties are relevant to different kinds of metaphysical or methodological projects.

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Item Type: Preprint
Stuart, Glennan
Phyllis, Illari0000-0002-4211-3332
Keywords: Mechanisms; kinds
Subjects: General Issues > Causation
General Issues > Explanation
Depositing User: Dr Phyllis Illari
Date Deposited: 28 Sep 2018 17:28
Last Modified: 28 Sep 2018 17:28
Item ID: 15071
Official URL:
Subjects: General Issues > Causation
General Issues > Explanation
Date: 2018

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