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3. Mechanisms – The New Mechanical Philosophy

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1. Title Title of document 3. Mechanisms – The New Mechanical Philosophy - Explanation
2. Creator Author's name, affiliation, country Ann Taves; Religious Studies Department, UCSB; United States
2. Creator Author's name, affiliation, country Egil Asprem; University of California Santa Barbara; United States
3. Subject Discipline(s) Religious Studies
4. Subject Keyword(s) cognitive science of religion; explaining religion; religious phenomena; definition of religion; study of religion; ; philosophy of science; causality
5. Subject Subject classification Study of Religion; Philosophy of Science
6. Description Abstract The rise of the evolutionary and cognitive science of religion in the last two decades has sparked a resurgence of interest in explaining religion. Predictably, these efforts have prompted rehearsals of longstanding debates over definitions of religion (what is being explained) and whether religious phenomena can or should be explained in nonreligious terms. Little attention has been devoted to the nature of explanation, methods of explanation, or what should count as an adequate explanation. This book addresses a series of basic questions in relation to long-standing discussions in the philosophy of science about explanations, causality, and mechanisms: What is an explanation? What is the relation between interpretation, theory, and explanation? Is there a place for human intentions, meanings, and values in scientific explanations? In light of recent developments in the philosophy of science, the authors make a case for the value of explanations and suggest ways in which explanatory approaches can be tested in practice by means of computer modeling and experimental methods.
7. Publisher Organizing agency, location Equinox Publishing Ltd
8. Contributor Sponsor(s)
9. Date (YYYY-MM-DD) 01-Oct-2026
10. Type Status & genre Peer-reviewed Article
11. Type Type
12. Format File format PDF
13. Identifier Uniform Resource Identifier
14. Identifier Digital Object Identifier 10.1558/equinox.34328
15. Source Journal/conference title; vol., no. (year) Equinox eBooks Publishing; Explanation
16. Language English=en en
18. Coverage Geo-spatial location, chronological period, research sample (gender, age, etc.)
19. Rights Copyright and permissions Copyright 2014 Equinox Publishing Ltd