Single Idea 16530

[catalogued under 14. Science / D. Explanation / 2. Types of Explanation / i. Explanations by mechanism]

Full Idea

To give a description of a mechanism for a phenomenon is to explain that phenomenon, i.e. to explain how it was produced.

Gist of Idea

A mechanism explains a phenomenon by showing how it was produced


Machamer,P/Darden,L/Craver,C (Thinking About Mechanisms [2000], 1)

Book Reference

-: 'Philosophy of Science' [-], p.3

A Reaction

To 'show how' something happens needs a bit of precisification. It is probably analytic that 'showing how' means 'revealing the mechanism', though 'mechanism' then becomes the tricky concept.