Mekanismers ontologi och epistemologi


Populärvetenskaplig beskrivning

Studier av mekanismer håller på att bli ett viktigt område inom vetenskapsteori, jämsides mer traditionella studieobjekt som naturlagar och kausalitet.

Mechanisms are becoming an important subject of philosophy of science. There are also a number of philosophical theories about what mechanisms are. Recently, by concentrating on similar empirical case studies and by a sometimes explicit process of integration these theories are becoming similar. In this project, contemporary theories of mechanisms are evaluated with respect to how they cope with different environments in which they are supposed to be implemented. One of the environmental extremes will be where the environment contributes to many or even most of the supposed effects of the mechanism. The other extreme will be where the mechanism is effectively shielded. The first extreme, together with some of the other variations, will tell us something about to what extent the mechanistic theory works as a theory of causation. This is because causes are normally pleiotropic (i.e. contribute to many different effects) and effects are polygenic (i.e. depend on several causal contributors). The other extreme will tell us more about the relation between mechanisms and laws.
Most contemporary accounts are conjectured to display characteristic breakdowns in some of these environments. This will facilitate
further inquiry into what mechanisms are, what features are rather motivated as heuristics for discovering the structure of
mechanisms, and which properties of mechanisms affect the external validity of a certain mechanistic model.
Gällande start-/slutdatum2008/01/012012/12/31