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In defense of mechanism

Wells, Andrew J. (2006) In defense of mechanism. Ecological Psychology, 18 (1). pp. 39-65. ISSN 1040-7413

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Identification Number: 10.1207/s15326969eco1801_2


In Life Itself and in Essays on Life Itself, Robert Rosen (1991, 2000) argued that machines were, in principle, incapable of modeling the defining feature of living systems, which he claimed to be the existence of closed causal loops. Rosen's argument has been used to support critiques of computational models in ecological psychology. This article shows that Rosen's attack on mechanism is fundamentally misconceived. It is, in fact, of the essence of a mechanical system that it contains closed causal loops. Moreover, Rosen's epistemology is based on a strong form of indirect realism and his arguments, if correct, would call into question some of the fundamental principles of ecological psychology.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2006 Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.
Divisions: Psychological and Behavioural Science
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Date Deposited: 06 Aug 2007
Last Modified: 20 Feb 2021 01:48

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