Journal Article

Three Problems for the Mutual Manipulability Account of Constitutive Relevance in Mechanisms

Bert Leuridan

in The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science

Published on behalf of British Society for the Philosophy of Science

Volume 63, issue 2, pages 399-427
Published in print June 2012 | ISSN: 0007-0882
Published online November 2011 | e-ISSN: 1464-3537 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/bjps/axr036
Three Problems for the Mutual Manipulability Account of Constitutive Relevance in Mechanisms

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In this article, I present two conceptual problems for Craver's mutual manipulability account of constitutive relevance in mechanisms. First, constitutive relevance threatens to imply causal relevance despite Craver (and Bechtel)'s claim that they are strictly distinct. Second, if (as is intuitively appealing) parthood is defined in terms of spatio-temporal inclusion, then the mutual manipulability account is prone to counterexamples, as I show by a case of endosymbiosis. I also present a methodological problem (a case of experimental underdetermination) and formulate two partial, but fallible solutions based on the notions of parthood and synchronicity.

1Introduction

2Mechanisms

3Intralevel Causal Relations and Invariance

4Interlevel Constitutive Relations and Mutual Manipulability

5Doesn't Constitutive Relevance Entail Causal Relevance?

6Parthood and Endosymbiosis

7Possible Ways Out

8Interlevel Experiments

9The Problem of Underdetermination

10Solving the Problem of Underdetermination: Parthood

11Synchronicity, the Etiological Nature of Experimental Apparatus, and Causal-Constitutive Propagation

12Pragmatic Interests and the Boundaries of Mechanisms

13Concluding Remarks

Appendix

Journal Article.  12330 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Science ; Science and Mathematics

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