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Towards the Methodological Turn in the Philosophy of Science

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Mechanism and Causality in Biology and Economics

Abstract

This chapter provides an introduction to the study of the philosophical notions of mechanisms and causality in biology and economics. This chapter sets the stage for this volume in three ways. First, it gives a broad review of the recent changes and current state of the study of mechanisms and causality in the philosophy of science. Second, consistent with a recent trend in the philosophy of science to focus on scientific practices, it in turn implies the importance of studying the scientific methods employed by researchers. Finally, by way of providing an overview of each chapter in the volume, this chapter demonstrates that biology and economics are two fertile fields for the philosophy of science and shows how biological and economic mechanisms and causality can be synthesized.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    This point is also suggested in Bechtel (2008, pp. 8–9). For philosophical investigations of scientific devices, examples are experimental and observational instruments by Ian Hacking (1983), models by Mary Morgan and Margret Morrison (1999), and by the semantic or model-based view philosophers such as Ronald Giere (1988, 1999) and Bas van Fraassen (1980, 1989).

  2. 2.

    See Chao (2009, esp. Ch. 7) for the philosophical discussion on the DGP.

  3. 3.

    The term is coined by Mary Morgan (2008).

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Chao, HK., Chen, ST., Millstein, R.L. (2013). Towards the Methodological Turn in the Philosophy of Science. In: Chao, HK., Chen, ST., Millstein, R. (eds) Mechanism and Causality in Biology and Economics. History, Philosophy and Theory of the Life Sciences, vol 3. Springer, Dordrecht. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-007-2454-9_1

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