International Society for History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Biology

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TUESDAY, JULY 7  /  11:00 - 12:30  /  DS-R515
Organized session / diverse format
Authors meet critics: In search of mechanisms (2013)

Ruey-Lin Chen (National Chung Cheng University, Taiwan)


Lindley Darden (University of Maryland, College Park, United States)
Carl F. Craver (Washington University in St. Louis, United States)
Lena Kästner (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Germany)
Holly Andersen (Simon Fraser University, Canada)
Shunkichi Matsumoto (Tokai University, Japan)
Hsiao-Fan Yeh (National Chung Cheng University, Taiwan)

Recently, the new mechanical philosophy has ignited numerous discussions about the characterization, structure, and role of mechanisms in scientific explanations, discoveries, causation, experimentation and other related topics. There has been an explosive production of articles on mechanisms across the globe ever since Machamer, Darden and Craver’s seminal paper was published in 2000. In their new book, In Search of Mechanisms, Carl F. Craver and Lindley Darden present a comprehensive and detailed summary of their views.

We have assembled a cross-national group of experts on this topic. Four panelists will present their commentaries on In Search of Mechanisms. Craver and Darden will respond. Lena Kästner questions whether the different mechanisms that produce, maintain, or underlie a phenomenon, according to Craver and Darden’s recent new book – go together with the MDC picture of mechanisms. Ruey-Lin Chen and Hsiao-Fan Yeh focus on the relations between mechanisms and theories on the one hand and between mechanisms and experiments on the other; they expect Craver and Darden to elaborate this point. Holly Andersen applies the considerations raised by Craver and Darden in the context of discovering mechanisms, to investigate how well they serve in using mechanisms to guide the management of ecological policy. Shunkichi Matsumoto will chair the panel.