Towards Mechanism 2.0: Expanding the Scope of Mechanistic Explanation

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Levy, Arnon; Bechtel, William
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conference paper description
Accounts of mechanistic explanation, especially as applied to biology and sometimes going under the heading of “new mechanism,” provided an attractive alternative to nomological accounts that preceded them. These accounts were motivated by selected examples, drawn primarily from cell and molecular biology and neuroscience. However, the range of examples that scientists take to be mechanistic explanations is far broader. We focus on examples that differ from those traditionally recruited by Mechanists. Our contention is that attention to additional examples will lead to a richer conception of mechanistic explanation, prompting a shift from what we refer to as Mechanism 1.0 to Mechanism 2.0.