Synthese

, Volume 192, Issue 11, pp 3731–3755 | Cite as

Why there isn’t inter-level causation in mechanisms

Article

Abstract

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.

Keywords

Mechanisms Mutual manipulability Interventionism  Inter-level causation 

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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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