Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Physical ComputationA Mechanistic Account$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Gualtiero Piccinini

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780199658855

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199658855.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 21 January 2022

From Functional Analysis to Mechanistic Explanation

From Functional Analysis to Mechanistic Explanation

Chapter:
(p.74) 5 From Functional Analysis to Mechanistic Explanation
Source:
Physical Computation
Author(s):

Gualtiero Piccinini

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199658855.003.0006

This chapter argues that traditional accounts of functional analysis suffer from two problems: they explicate functional analysis in terms of computation (whereas it should be the other way around) and they mistakenly assume that functional analysis is distinct and autonomous from mechanistic explanation. How functional analysis and computational explanation end up being conflated is discussed and the two are disentangled. The three main types of functional analysis are discussed. It is argued that functional analyses are sketches of mechanisms, in which some structural aspects of a mechanistic explanation are omitted. Once the missing aspects are filled in, a functional analysis turns into a full-blown mechanistic explanation. By this process, functional analyses are seamlessly integrated with multilevel mechanistic explanations.

Keywords:   functional analysis, mechanistic explanation, mechanism sketch, multi-level explanations, autonomy, task analysis, boxology

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .