Mechanism and Causality in Biology and Economics

  • Hsiang-Ke Chao
  • Szu-Ting Chen
  • Roberta L. Millstein

Part of the History, Philosophy and Theory of the Life Sciences book series (HPTL, volume 3)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-x
  2. Hsiang-Ke Chao, Szu-Ting Chen, Roberta L. Millstein
    Pages 1-16
  3. Defining Mechanism and Causality

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 17-17
  4. Models and Representation

  5. Reconsidering Biological Mechanisms and Causality

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 123-123
    2. Carl F. Craver, Marie I. Kaiser
      Pages 125-145
    3. Roberta L. Millstein
      Pages 147-163
  6. Across Boundaries Between Biology and Economics

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 183-183
    2. David Teira, Julian Reiss
      Pages 207-224
    3. Hsiang-Ke Chao, Szu-Ting Chen
      Pages 225-242
  7. Back Matter
    Pages 243-256

About this book


This volume addresses fundamental issues in the philosophy of science in the context of two most intriguing fields: biology and economics. Written by authorities and experts in the philosophy of biology and economics, Mechanism and Causality in Biology and Economics provides a structured study of the concepts of mechanism and causality in these disciplines and draws careful juxtapositions between philosophical apparatus and scientific practice. By exploring the issues that are most salient to the contemporary philosophies of biology and economics and by presenting comparative analyses, the book serves as a platform not only for gaining mutual understanding between scientists and philosophers of the life sciences and those of the social sciences, but also for sharing interdisciplinary research that combines both philosophical concepts in both fields.

The book begins by defining the concepts of mechanism and causality in biology and economics, respectively. The second and third parts investigate philosophical perspectives of various causal and mechanistic issues in scientific practice in the two fields. These two sections include chapters on causal issues in the theory of evolution; experiments and scientific discovery; representation of causal relations and mechanism by models in economics. The concluding section presents interdisciplinary studies of various topics concerning extrapolation of life sciences and social sciences, including chapters on the philosophical investigation of conjoining biological and economic analyses with, respectively, demography, medicine and sociology.


Causal issues in the theory of natural selection Causal models Causal structure Connections between causation and mechanisms Economic mechanisms Mechanisms of genetics and biomedicine Methodological turn in the philosophy of science Modeling mechanisms biology and economy causality mechanism philosophy of biology philosophy of economy

Editors and affiliations

  • Hsiang-Ke Chao
    • 1
  • Szu-Ting Chen
    • 2
  • Roberta L. Millstein
    • 3
  1. 1.EconomicsNational Tsing Hua UniversityHsinchuTaiwan
  2. 2.PhilosophyNational Tsing Hua UniversityHsinchuTaiwan
  3. 3.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of California, DavisDavisUSA

Bibliographic information