Open Access. Powered by Scholars. Published by Universities.®

Philosophy of Mind Commons

Open Access. Powered by Scholars. Published by Universities.®

Articles 1 - 6 of 6

Full-Text Articles in Philosophy of Mind

The New Mechanical Philosophy, Stuart Glennan Jul 2017

The New Mechanical Philosophy, Stuart Glennan

Stuart Glennan

The New Mechanical Philosophy argues for a new image of nature and of science--one that understands both natural and social phenomena to be the product of mechanisms, and that casts the work of science as an effort to discover and understand those mechanisms. Drawing on an expanding literature on mechanisms in physical, life, and social sciences, Stuart Glennan offers an account of the nature of mechanisms and of the models used to represent them. A key quality of mechanisms is that they are particulars - located at different places and times, with no one just like another. The crux of the ...


When Is It Mental?, Stuart Glennan Jan 2016

When Is It Mental?, Stuart Glennan

Stuart Glennan

Most philosophical debate over mental causation has been concerned with reconciling commonsense intuitions that there are causal interactions between the mental and the physical with philosophical theories of the nature of the mental that seem to suggest otherwise. My concern is with a different and more practical problem. We often confront some cognitive, affective, or bodily phenomenon, and wonder about its source – its etiology or its underlying causal basis. For instance, you might wonder whether your queasiness due to something you ate, or whether it is just nervousness, or whether your aunt’s memory loss is a neurological problem or ...


Capacities, Universality And Singularity, Stuart M. Glennan Jan 2016

Capacities, Universality And Singularity, Stuart M. Glennan

Stuart Glennan

In this paper I criticize Cartwright's analysis of capacities and offer an alternative analysis. I argue that Cartwright's attempt to connect capacities to her condition CC fails because individuals can exercise capacities only in certain contexts. My own analysis emphasizes three features of capacities: 1) Capacities belong to individuals; 2) Capacities are typically not metaphysically fundamental properties of individuals, but can be explained by referring to structural properties of individuals; and 3) Laws are best understood as ascriptions of capacities.


Contextual Unanimity And The Units Of Selection Problem, Stuart M. Glennan Jan 2016

Contextual Unanimity And The Units Of Selection Problem, Stuart M. Glennan

Stuart Glennan

Sober and Lewontin’s critique of genic selectionism is based upon the principle that a unit of selection should make a context‐independent contribution to fitness. Critics have effectively shown that this principle is flawed. In this paper I show that the context independence principle is an instance of a more general principle for characterizing causes,called the contextual unanimity principle. I argue that this latter principle, while widely accepted, is erroneous. What is needed is to replace the approach to causality characterized by the contextual unanimity criterion with an approach based on the concept of causal mechanism. After sketching ...


Mechanisms (Oxford), Stuart Glennan Nov 2011

Mechanisms (Oxford), Stuart Glennan

Stuart Glennan

Mechanism is undoubtedly a causal concept, in the sense that ordinary definitions and philosophical analyses explicate the concept in terms of other causal concepts such as production and interaction. Given this fact, many philosophers have supposed that analyses of the concept of mechanism, while they might appeal to philosophical theories about the nature of causation, could do little to inform such theories. On the other hand, methods of causal inference and explanation appeal to mechanisms. Discovering a mechanism is the gold standard for establishing and explaining causal connections. This fact suggests that it might be possible to provide an analysis ...


Singular And General Causal Relations: A Mechanist Perspective, Stuart Glennan Feb 2011

Singular And General Causal Relations: A Mechanist Perspective, Stuart Glennan

Stuart Glennan

My aim in this paper is to make a case for the singularist view from the perspective of a mechanical theory of causation (Glennan 1996, 1997, 2010, forthcoming), and to explain what, from this perspective, causal generalizations mean, and what role they play within the mechanical theory.