Mechanistic explanations 

  • Bechtel, W., & Abrahamsen, A. (2005). Explanation: A mechanist alternative. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, 36(2), 421-441.
  • Craver, C. F. (2001). Role functions, mechanisms, and hierarchy. Philosophy of Science, 68, 53-74.
  • Craver, C. F. (2002). Interlevel experiments and multilevel mechanisms in the neuroscience of memory. Philosophy of Science, 69, S83–S97.
  • Machamer, P., Darden, L., & Craver, C. F. (2000). Thinking about mechanisms. Philosophy of Science, 67,Von Eckardt, B., & Poland, J. S. (2004). Mechanism and explanation in cognitive neuroscience. Philosophy of Science, 71, 972-984.

Causal explanations:

  • Salmon, W. C. (1984). Scientific explanation and the causal structure of the world. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press.
  • Salmon, W. C. (1998). Causality and explanation. New York: Oxford University Press.

 Model-based explanations:

Cartwright, N. (1989). Nature’s capacities and their measurement. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Cartwright, N. (1999). The dappled world : A study of the boundaries of science. Cambridge, UK New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.
Giere, R. N. (1999). Science without laws. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Giere, R. N. (2004). How models are used to represent reality. Philosophy of Science, 71(5), 742-752.
Godfrey-Smith, P. (2005). Folk psychology as a model. Philosophers’ Imprint, 5(6).
Humphreys, P. (1995). Computational science and scientific method. Minds and Machines, 5(4), 499.
Humphreys, P. (2004). Extending ourselves : Computational science, empiricism, and scientific method. New York: Oxford University Press.
Morgan, M. S., & Morrison, M. (1999). Models as mediators : Perspectives on natural and social sciences. Cambridge ; New York: Cambridge University Press.
Wimsatt, W. C. (1987). False models as a means to truer theories. In M. Nitecki & A. Hoffmann (Eds.), Neutral models in biology (pp. 23-55). Oxford: Oxford University Press.


week 6 – reading notes

February 6, 2007

Week 6, Feb. 8



week 5 – reading notes

January 29, 2007

week 4 – reading notes

January 22, 2007

Notes are here and readings there

week 3 – reading notes

January 16, 2007

Notes can be downloaded here, and the readings are here.

References related to the last course:

– Innateness: Griffiths, P.E (2002) What is Innateness? The Monist, 85(1): 70-85.
– Mechanistic explanations: Bechtel, W. and Abrahamsen, A. (2005). Explanation: A Mechanistic Alternative. Studies in History and Philosophy of the Biological and Biomedical Sciences , 36, 421-441.
Arrow’s impossibility theorem

Reading notes – week 2

January 10, 2007

This week reading notes can be downloaded here.

All notes will available here.

Reading package

January 8, 2007

All the PDFs are now online here:

It can also be downloaded as a single .zip archive here

Please note the following:

1-These essays are mandatory.

2- Each count for 1%, no penalty if you miss one.

3-You must write a short essay where you discuss, or criticize, some aspects of the readings. Choose something that piques your attention, something you want to argue for/against, something wrong, etc. The important thing is that the essay shows that you read and understood the readings and that you have ideas about its content.

4- One of the goal of the essays is to make you think and write. At the end of the semester, you will have 10 pages already written that can be used elsewhere.

5- Normally, if you hand out the essay on time and you show that read the paper, you get 1%.

6- Essays must be written in 11pt fonts, 1.5 space. Use a Serif typeface (Bodoni, Century Schoolbook and Computer Modern, Rockwell, Times New Roman, Garamond, Bembo, Goudy Old Style, or Palatino), and regular margins (2.54 cm), max. 500 words.

7- Include you name and student ID

8- If there is more than one text to read, your essay can be about one text or all of them.

Syllabus updated

January 8, 2007

Syllabus has been updated: class hours, date and  location.

see pdf version

Week 2- Reading

January 8, 2007

Reading for week 2 meeting (January 11, 9:30, HH-357):

Adam Smith - The Theory of the Moral Sentiments

Do not forget to hand out or send by email your one-page essay