Mechanistic Componency, Relevance, and Levels
What distinguishes those EIOs that are components of a particular mechanism from those EIOs that are not? What, for example, distinguishes the hippocampus’s generation of spatial maps, which is a component in the mechanism for spatial memory, from the blood circulating through the brain, which is not taken to be a component in that mechanism? The basic idea is that those and only those EIOs are components of a given mechanism that make a difference to the phenomenon that the mechanism is responsible for. The criteria for difference-making differ for etiological and constitutive mechanisms. In the case of etiological mechanisms, components are causally relevant; in case of constitutive mechanisms, components are constitutively relevant. According to the most prominent approaches to causal and constitutive relevance (Woodward 2003; Craver 2007a), both notions are explicated in terms of interventionism. I will present and discuss both notions in what follows.
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