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[Review of the book In Search of Mechanisms: Discoveries across the Life Sciences, by C.Fraver, & Larden]

  • Author(s) / Creator(s)
  • Introduction: A characteristic feature of contemporary practice in the life sciences is the study of mechanisms; consequently, mechanisms have become one of the major issues currently discussed by philosophers of biology. Lindley Darden and Carl Craver have been at the forefront of creating this philosophical trend and have (jointly and individually) made significant contributions on the nature of mechanisms and mechanistic explanation. Now, with their coauthored book In Search of Mechanisms: Discoveries across the Life Sciences, they successfully target a wide audience of philosophers, science studies scholars, and biology students. While philosophical discussions of mechanisms have focused on the theoretical issue of explanation—for example, articulating how mechanism schemas explain and what the standards for a good mechanistic explanation are—this recent contribution is novel in that it is dedicated to the practical issue of how mechanisms are discovered. Given the nature of most literature written by philosophers, a particularly refreshing aspect of Craver and Darden's account is that it does not advocate for one particular point of view while criticizing the arguments of others. Instead, the different aspects of mechanistic research (and thus its complexity and diversity) are laid out, well illustrated by a variety of examples from such different biological fields as molecular genetics, physiology, and neuroscience, often—though not exclusively—from the twentieth century.

  • Date created
    2014
  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Type of Item
    Review
  • DOI
    https://doi.org/10.7939/R3S17T702
  • License
    © 2014 Brigandt, I. This version of this article is open access and can be downloaded and shared. The original author(s) and source must be cited.
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  • Citation for previous publication
    • Brigandt, I. (2014). [Review of the book In Search of Mechanisms: Discoveries across the Life Sciences, by C.F. Craver, & L. Darden]. Isis, 105(4), 875-876. http://doi.org/10.1086/680308
  • Link to related item
    http://doi.org/10.1086/680308