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Article
Ecological Explanation between Manipulation and Mechanism Description
Philosophy of Science
  • Viorel Pâslaru, University of Dayton
Document Type
Article
Publication Date
12-1-2009
Abstract
James Woodward offers a conception of explanation and mechanism in terms of interventionist counterfactuals. Based on a case from ecology, I show that ecologists’ approach to that case satisfiesWoodward’s conditions for explanation and mechanism, but his conception does not fully capture what ecologists view as explanatory. The new mechanistic philosophy likewise aims to describe central aspects of mechanisms, but I show that it is not sufficient to account for ecological mechanisms. I argue that in ecology explanation involves identification of invariant and insensitive causal relationships and descriptions of the mechanistic characteristics that make these relations possible.
Inclusive pages
821-837
ISBN/ISSN
0031-8248
Document Version
Published Version
Comments

The document available for download is provided here in compliance with publisher policies on self-archiving. Any content used from this article must be attributed properly. Permission documentation is on file.

Publisher
Philosophy of Science Association
Peer Reviewed
Yes
Citation Information
Viorel Pâslaru. "Ecological Explanation between Manipulation and Mechanism Description" Philosophy of Science Vol. 76 Iss. 5 (2009)
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/viorel_paslaru/1/