, Volume 192, Issue 11, pp 3731–3755

Why there isn’t inter-level causation in mechanisms


DOI: 10.1007/s11229-015-0718-0

Cite this article as:
Romero, F. Synthese (2015) 192: 3731. doi:10.1007/s11229-015-0718-0


The experimental interventions that provide evidence of causal relations are notably similar to those that provide evidence of constitutive relevance relations. In the first two sections, I show that this similarity creates a tension: there is an inconsistent triad between (1) Woodward’s popular interventionist theory of causation, (2) Craver’s mutual manipulability account of constitutive relevance in mechanisms, and a variety of arguments for (3) the incoherence of inter-level causation. I argue for an interpretation of the views in which the tension is merely apparent. I propose to explain inter-level relations without inter-level causation by appealing to the notion of fat-handed interventions, and an argument against inter-level causation which dissolves the problem.


Mechanisms Mutual manipulability Interventionism  Inter-level causation 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Philosophy-Neuroscience-Psychology Program, Department of PhilosophyWashington University in St. LouisSt. LouisUSA

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