, Volume 28, Issue 1, pp 99-114
Date: 28 Aug 2012

Three kinds of new mechanism

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Abstract

I distinguish three theses associated with the new mechanistic philosophy—concerning causation, explanation and scientific methodology. Advocates of each thesis are identified and relationships among them are outlined. I then look at some recent work on natural selection and mechanisms. Framing that debate in terms of different kinds of New Mechanism significantly affects what is at stake.

My title and some terminological choices gesture at Peter Godfrey-Smith’s (2001) paper “Three kinds of Adaptationism”. The topics are unrelated, but the aims are analogous.