Mechanisms in Ancient Philosophy of Science. Kosman, A. Perspectives on Science: Historical, Philosophical, Social, 12(3):244–261, 2004.
abstract   bibtex   
Early modern theories of science were committed to realism, and the notion of mechanisms was important to that commitment. Part of the force of mechanisms was that they were thought to reveal the activities by which phenomena are truly brought into being. In this way they often served early philosophers of science by promising a realistic science, able to discover the actual mechanisms by which phenomena were brought about in a universe increasingly viewed as mechanistic. Mechanisms, then, are of critical importance if one is a realist, but of considerably less importance if one is an instrumentalist. Since Aristotle, at least, was neither a realist nor an instrumentalist, his view might be thought to be typically Aristotelian: in some ways they're important, in some not. A glance at some contemporary instances suggests similarly that there can be no general view from a theoretical perspective of the status of mechanisms. Their place is dependent on specific features of specific projects of scientific research and explanation.
@article{kosman_mechanisms_2004,
	title = {Mechanisms in {Ancient} {Philosophy} of {Science}},
	volume = {12},
	shorttitle = {Mechanisms in {Ancient} {Philosophy} of {Science}},
	abstract = {Early modern theories of science were committed to realism, and the notion of mechanisms was important to that commitment. Part of the force of mechanisms was that they were thought to reveal the activities by which phenomena are truly brought into being. In this way they often served early philosophers of science by promising a realistic science, able to discover the actual mechanisms by which phenomena were brought about in a universe increasingly viewed as mechanistic. Mechanisms, then, are of critical importance if one is a realist, but of considerably less importance if one is an instrumentalist. Since Aristotle, at least, was neither a realist nor an instrumentalist, his view might be thought to be typically Aristotelian: in some ways they're important, in some not. A glance at some contemporary instances suggests similarly that there can be no general view from a theoretical perspective of the status of mechanisms. Their place is dependent on specific features of specific projects of scientific research and explanation.},
	number = {3},
	journal = {Perspectives on Science: Historical, Philosophical, Social},
	author = {Kosman, A.},
	year = {2004},
	keywords = {ARISTOTLE, AVERROES, BACON, EXPLANATION, MECHANICS, REALISM, SCIENCE},
	pages = {244--261}
}
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