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The New Mechanical Philosophy$
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Stuart Glennan

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198779711

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198779711.001.0001

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Production and Relevance

Production and Relevance

(p.170) 7 Production and Relevance
The New Mechanical Philosophy

Stuart Glennan

Oxford University Press

This chapter offers an account of mechanistic production, which is contrasted with Salmon and Dowe’s theory of physical production. It provides a new analysis of the nature of events, and an account of how those events can form productive causal chains. This account identifies three distinct kinds of production: constitutive, precipitating, and chained. The chapter shows how the New Mechanist account addresses a number of standard problems for theories of causation, and for mechanistic theories in particular. These include how mechanistic production could be grounded in fundamental physics, how productive theories can explain causation by omission, prevention, and disconnection, how to explain causal relevance without appeal to counterfactuals, and how to understand the relation between production and constitution in inter-level causal claims. The chapter concludes by discussing how the New Mechanist approach to causation and constitution leads to a sensible account of the nature and limits of reduction and emergence.

Keywords:   production, causal relevance, events, fundamental physics, omission, prevention, disconnection, inter-level causation, reduction, emergence

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