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Difference making, explanatory relevance, and mechanistic models

Dingmar van Eck UGent and Raoul Gervais (2016) THEORIA-REVISTA DE TEORIA HISTORIA Y FUNDAMENTOS DE LA CIENCIA. 31(1). p.125-134
abstract
In this paper we consider mechanistic explanations for biological malfunctions. Drawing on Lipton's (1993) work on difference making, we offer three reasons why one should distinguish i) mechanistic features that only make a difference to the malfunction one aims to explain, from ii) features that make a difference to both the malfunction and normal functioning. Recognition of the distinction is important for a) repair purposes, b) mechanism discovery, and c) understanding. This analysis extends current mechanistic thinking, which fails to appreciate the distinction. We illustrate our contribution with a case on sleeping disorders as arising from disruptions of circadian rhythms.
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
year
type
journalArticle (original)
publication status
published
subject
keyword
difference making, mechanistic explanation, explanatory relevance, malfunction explanation
journal title
THEORIA-REVISTA DE TEORIA HISTORIA Y FUNDAMENTOS DE LA CIENCIA
volume
31
issue
1
pages
125 - 134
Web of Science type
Article
Web of Science id
000371951700008
ISSN
0495-4548
DOI
10.1387/theoria.13282
language
English
UGent publication?
yes
classification
A1
id
5877477
handle
http://hdl.handle.net/1854/LU-5877477
date created
2015-03-06 19:46:19
date last changed
2017-03-02 12:44:04
@article{5877477,
  abstract     = {In this paper we consider mechanistic explanations for biological malfunctions. Drawing on Lipton's (1993) work on difference making, we offer three reasons why one should distinguish i) mechanistic features that only make a difference to the malfunction one aims to explain, from ii) features that make a difference to both the malfunction and normal functioning. Recognition of the distinction is important for a) repair purposes, b) mechanism discovery, and c) understanding. This analysis extends current mechanistic thinking, which fails to appreciate the distinction. We illustrate our contribution with a case on sleeping disorders as arising from disruptions of circadian rhythms.},
  author       = {van Eck, Dingmar and Gervais, Raoul},
  issn         = {0495-4548},
  journal      = {THEORIA-REVISTA DE TEORIA HISTORIA Y FUNDAMENTOS DE LA CIENCIA},
  keyword      = {difference making,mechanistic explanation,explanatory relevance,malfunction explanation},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {1},
  pages        = {125--134},
  title        = {Difference making, explanatory relevance, and mechanistic models},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1387/theoria.13282},
  volume       = {31},
  year         = {2016},
}

Chicago
van Eck, Dingmar, and Raoul Gervais. 2016. “Difference Making, Explanatory Relevance, and Mechanistic Models.” Theoria-revista De Teoria Historia Y Fundamentos De La Ciencia 31 (1): 125–134.
APA
van Eck, D., & Gervais, R. (2016). Difference making, explanatory relevance, and mechanistic models. THEORIA-REVISTA DE TEORIA HISTORIA Y FUNDAMENTOS DE LA CIENCIA, 31(1), 125–134.
Vancouver
1.
van Eck D, Gervais R. Difference making, explanatory relevance, and mechanistic models. THEORIA-REVISTA DE TEORIA HISTORIA Y FUNDAMENTOS DE LA CIENCIA. 2016;31(1):125–34.
MLA
van Eck, Dingmar, and Raoul Gervais. “Difference Making, Explanatory Relevance, and Mechanistic Models.” THEORIA-REVISTA DE TEORIA HISTORIA Y FUNDAMENTOS DE LA CIENCIA 31.1 (2016): 125–134. Print.