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Mechanistic Phenomena

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

Abstract

The notion of a phenomenon plays a crucial role in the new mechanistic thinking. But what are mechanistic phenomena? In this chapter, I discuss and reject a view that is common in the new mechanistic literature: the view that constitutive mechanistic phenomena are capacities. My argument, roughly, is that this view is incompatible with the metaphysics of EA-mechanisms as described in the previous chapters. An alternative view that can be found in the new mechanistic literature, and that is prima facie compatible with the metaphysics of EA-mechanisms, is the view that constitutive mechanistic phenomena are behaving systems. I will present two interpretations of this claim: according to what I will call the functionalist view, constitutive mechanistic phenomena are behaviors of mechanisms characterized by input–output relations. According to what I will call the behaving entity view, constitutive mechanistic phenomena are higher-level entities that contain mechanisms that are engaged in an occurrent (as defined in Chap.  4). I will argue that the functionalist view is flawed since it conflicts with the general aims of the new mechanists, such as defending the autonomy of the special sciences (see Introduction), and defending a specific notion of levels of nature (see Chap.  5). I will show that the behaving entity view is compatible with these general goals. Hence, I will conclude, constitutive mechanistic phenomena, like etiological mechanistic phenomena, are EIOs.

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

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

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