Scientists studying the burning of stars, the evolution of species, DNA, the brain, the economy, and social change, all frequently describe their work as searching for mechanisms. Despite this fact, for much of the twentieth century philosophical discussions of the nature of mechanisms remained outside philosophy of science.The Routledge Handbook of Mechanisms and Mechanical Philosophy is an outstanding reference source to the key topics, problems, and debates in this exciting subject and is the first collection of its kind. Comprising over thirty chapters by a team of international contributors, the Handbook is divided into four Parts:Historical perspectives on mechanismsThe nature of mechanismsMechanisms and the philosophy of scienceDisciplinary perspectives on mechanisms.Within these Parts central topics and problems are examined, including the rise of mechanical philosophy in the seventeenth century; what mechanisms are made of and how they are organized; mechanisms and laws and regularities; how mechanisms are discovered and explained; dynamical systems theory; and disciplinary perspectives from physics, chemistry, biology, biomedicine, ecology, neuroscience, and the social sciences.Essential reading for students and researchers in philosophy of science, the Handbook will also be of interest to those in related fields, such as metaphysics, philosophy of psychology, and history of science.
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