Mechanistic explanation and its limits in Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Mechanisms (2017) eds. S Glennan & P Illari.
Many attempts have been made by philosophers to provide a satisfying account of what constitutes an explanation in the sciences. Over the last few decades, particular attention has been given to the role of mechanisms in providing such an account in the life sciences. Mechanistic explanations have proved to provide a powerful account of both the practices of biologists and the normative constraints on explanation. Even so, many philosophers are wary of explanatory hegemony, holding instead that a plurality of accounts of explanation will be needed to capture the diversity of scientific practice.