, Volume 183, Issue 3, pp 409–427

Mechanisms revisited


DOI: 10.1007/s11229-011-9870-3

Cite this article as:
Woodward, J. Synthese (2011) 183: 409. doi:10.1007/s11229-011-9870-3


This paper defends an interventionist treatment of mechanisms and contrasts this with Waskan (forthcoming). Interventionism embodies a difference-making conception of causation. I contrast such conceptions with geometrical/mechanical or “actualist” conceptions, associating Waskan’s proposals with the latter. It is argued that geometrical/mechanical conceptions of causation cannot replace difference-making conceptions in characterizing the behavior of mechanisms, but that some of the intuitions behind the geometrical/mechanical approach can be captured by thinking in terms of spatio-temporally organized difference-making information.


Mechanism Interventionist theory of causation Difference-making Perception of causation 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of PittsburghPittsburghUSA

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