Ideas from 'Scientific Explanation and the Causal Structure of the World' by Wesley Salmon [1984], by Theme Structure

green numbers give full details    |     back to texts     |     unexpand these ideas

14. Science / D. Explanation / 2. Types of Explanation / i. Explanations by mechanism
Causation produces productive mechanisms; to understand the world, understand these mechanisms
                        Full Idea: Causal processes, causal interactions, and causal laws provide the mechanisms by which the world works; to understand why certain things happen, we need to see how they are produced by these mechanisms.
                        From: Wesley Salmon (Scientific Explanation and the Causal Structure of the World [1984]), quoted by David-Hillel Ruben - Explaining Explanation Ch 7
                        A reaction: I don't think I've ever found a better quotation on explanation. That strikes me as correct, and (basically) there is nothing more to be said. I'm not sure about the 'laws'. This is later Wesley Salmon.
Salmon's interaction mechanisms needn't be regular, or involving any systems
                        Full Idea: While Salmon's mechanisms are processes involving interactions, the interactions are not necessarily regular, and they do not involve the operation of systems.
                        From: comment on Wesley Salmon (Scientific Explanation and the Causal Structure of the World [1984]) by Stuart Glennan - Mechanisms 'hierarchical'
                        A reaction: This is why modern mechanistic philosophy only began in 2000, despite Wesley Salmon's championing of the roughly mechanistic approach.