Why there isn’t inter-level causation in mechanisms

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Synthese, ISSN: 0039-7857, Vol: 192, Issue: 11, Page: 3731-3755

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Romero, Felipe
Springer Nature
Arts and Humanities; Social Sciences
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article description
The experimental interventions that provide evidence of causal relations are notably similar to those that provide evidence of constitutive relevance relations. In the first two sections, I show that this similarity creates a tension: there is an inconsistent triad between (1) Woodward’s popular interventionist theory of causation, (2) Craver’s mutual manipulability account of constitutive relevance in mechanisms, and a variety of arguments for (3) the incoherence of inter-level causation. I argue for an interpretation of the views in which the tension is merely apparent. I propose to explain inter-level relations without inter-level causation by appealing to the notion of fat-handed interventions, and an argument against inter-level causation which dissolves the problem.