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An Abductive Theory of Constitution

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Author Baumgartner Michael, Casini Lorenzo,
Project Mechanistic Constitution in the Special Sciences
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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal Philosophy of Science
Volume (Issue) 82(2)
Page(s) 214 - 233
Title of proceedings Philosophy of Science

Open Access

Type of Open Access Repository (Green Open Access)


The first part of this article finds Craver’s mutual manipulability theory (MM) of constitution inadequate, as it definitionally ties constitution to the feasibility of ideal experiments, which, however, are unrealizable in principle. As an alternative, the second part develops an abductive theory of constitution (NDC), which exploits the fact that phenomena and their constituents are unbreakably coupled via common causes. The best explanation for this fact is the existence of an additional dependence relation, namely, constitution. NDC has important ramifications for constitutional discovery—most notably, that there is no experimentum crucis for constitution, not even under ideal discovery circumstances.