Mechanistic artefact explanation

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One thing about technical artefacts that needs to be explained is how their physical make-up, or structure, enables them to fulfil the behaviour associated with their function, or, more colloquially, how they work. In this paper I develop an account of such explanations based on the familiar notion of mechanistic explanation. To accomplish this, I (1) outline two explanatory strategies that provide two different types of insight into an artefact's functioning, and (2) show how human action inevitably plays a role in artefact explanation. I then use my own account to criticize other recent work on mechanistic explanation and conclude with some general implications for the philosophy of explanation. © 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)81-96
JournalStudies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2006


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