Imagining Mechanisms with Diagrams

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Sheredos, Benjamin; Bechtel, William
preprint description
Some proponents of mechanistic explanation downplay the significant of how-possibly explanations. We argue that developing accounts of mechanisms that could explain a phenomenon is an important aspect of scientific reasoning, one that involves imagination. Although appeals to imagination may seem to obscure the process of reasoning, we illustrate how, by examining diagrams (including drafts researchers construct in the course of research) we can gain insights into the construction of mechanistic explanations.