Phil12_S11_Mechanisms&mechanistic_explanation(5-31-2011)

Phil12_S11_Mechanisms&mechanistic_explanation(5-31-2...

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Mechanisms and Mechanistic Explanation Phil 12: Logic and Decision Making Spring 2011 UC San Diego 5/31/2011 Tuesday, May 31, 2011
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CAPE deadline: 8am Monday June 6th Tuesday, May 31, 2011
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OfFce hours Mitch: HSS 8037 - Today:1-3pm - Tomorrow, Wed June 1st: 11am-1pm - Monday June 6th: 2-4pm and by appointment Nat: HSS 7054 - Thursday 1-3pm - Friday 2-4pm Jeremy: HSS 7059 - Friday 9-10am, 11am-12pm 3 Tuesday, May 31, 2011
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Review - 1 Experiments provide the best evidence of a causal relation, but sometimes they are not possible - Because it is impossible physically or morally to manipulate the independent variable Two strategies - Prospective studies Divide groups according to the independent variable and investigate correlation with the dependent variable - Retrospective studies Divide group according to the dependent variable and investigate correlation with the independent variable Tuesday, May 31, 2011
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Review - 2 All studies of causation are beset by confounds - Factors correlated with the independent variable that may themselves be the cause of the change in the dependent variable By manipulating the independent variable in an experiment, researchers reduce the risk of confounds - Researchers can randomize or match subjects or lock (control) procedural variables to minimize confounds Prospective and retrospective experiments do not allow manipulation - Greater risk of confounds. Try to reduce the risk by: matching subjects measuring possible confounds Tuesday, May 31, 2011
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Imagine someone has traveled in time from 1885 to 2011 and is trying to Fgure out how a car works. They do a series of experiments from the driver’s seat, without ever looking under the hood of the car, and conclude that turning the ignition key starts the car. Would you say this means they understand how the car starts up? A. Yes B. No C. Sort of Clicker question Tuesday, May 31, 2011
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Two limitations of causes for science Individual causal relations do not accomplish much - It often requires a coordinated system of causes to get something done What relates causes to their effects? - Typically there are processes intervening between causes and their effects Between and within causal relations scientists look for mechanisms: Parts (entities) and operations (activities) organized to produce a phenomenon Tuesday, May 31, 2011
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The Ubiquity of Mechanisms in Science Mechanisms in physical sciences - Solar system mechanics - Mechanisms of chemical reactions Mechanisms in biological sciences - Mechanisms of photosynthesis - Mechanisms of reproduction Mechanisms in behavioral sciences - Mechanisms of memory encoding - Mechanisms of decision making Mechanisms in social sciences - Mechanisms of consensus formation Tuesday, May 31, 2011
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Mechanisms as Coordinated Causation Mechanisms are made of parts whose operations cause changes in other parts, enabling whole mechanisms to cause changes in yet other things - Muscles in heart contract while valves open and shut, enabling
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Phil12_S11_Mechanisms&mechanistic_explanation(5-31-2...

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