The Mechanical World

The Metaphysical Commitments of the New Mechanistic Approach

  • Beate Krickel

Part of the Studies in Brain and Mind book series (SIBM, volume 13)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-x
  2. Beate Krickel
    Pages 1-15
  3. Beate Krickel
    Pages 17-37
  4. Beate Krickel
    Pages 69-93
  5. Beate Krickel
    Pages 111-128
  6. Beate Krickel
    Pages 129-153

About this book


This monograph examines the metaphysical commitments of the new mechanistic philosophy, a way of thinking that has returned to center stage. It challenges a variant of reductionism with regard to higher-level phenomena, which has crystallized as a default position among these so-called New Mechanists. Furthermore, it opposes those philosophers who reject the possibility of interlevel causation.

Contemporary philosophers believe that the explanation of scientific phenomena requires the discovery of relevant mechanisms. As a result, new mechanists are, in the main, concerned solely with epistemological questions. But, the author argues, their most central claims rely on metaphysical assumptions. Thus, they must also take into account metaphysics, a system of thought concerned with explaining the fundamental nature of being and the world around it. This branch of philosophy does indeed matter to the empirical sciences.

The chapters investigate the nature of mechanisms, their components, and the ways in which they can bring about different phenomena. In addition, the author develops a novel account of causation in terms of activities. 

The analysis provides the basis for many further research projects on mechanisms and their relations to, for example, the mind-body problem, realization, multiple realization, natural kinds, causation, laws of nature, counterfactuals, and scientific levels.


Metaphysics of mechanisms Philosophy of biology Metaphysics of biology New mechanistic approach to scientific explanation Mechanistic explanation Mechanisms in biology Mechanisms in neuroscience Machamer, Darden, Craver vs. Glennan Glennan Philosophy of the life sciences Mechanisms in the life sciences Mechanisms and functions Mechanistic constitution Mechanisms causation Interlevel Causation Biological phenomena Mechanistic Non-Reductive Physicalism New Mechanistic Approach to the mind-body problem Activities and Causation

Authors and affiliations

  • Beate Krickel
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Philosophy IIRuhr-University BochumBochumGermany

Bibliographic information