Russell Meyer

University of Chinese Academy of Sciences
  • Enactivists frequently argue their account heralds a revolution in cognitive science: enactivism will unseat cognitivism as the dominant paradigm. We examine the lines of reasoning enactivists employ in stirring revolt, but show that none of these prove compelling reasons for cognitivism to be replaced by enactivism. First, we examine the hard sell of enactivism: enactivism reveals a critical explanatory gap at the heart of cognitivism. We show that enactivism does not meet the requirements to i…Read more
  •  5
    An explanatory taste for mechanisms
    Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 1-20. forthcoming.
    Mechanistic explanations, according to one prominent account, are derived from objective explanations. Mechanistic standards of explanation are in turn pulled from nature, and are thereby insulated from the values of investigators, since explanation is an objectively defined achievement grounded in the causal structure of the world. This results in the closure of mechanism’s explanatory standards—it is insulated from the values, norms and goals of investigators. I raise two problems with this po…Read more
  •  21
    The Non-mechanistic Option: Defending Dynamical Explanations
    British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 71 (3): 959-985. 2020.
    This article demonstrates that non-mechanistic, dynamical explanations are a viable approach to explanation in the special sciences. The claim that dynamical models can be explanatory without reference to mechanisms has previously been met with three lines of criticism from mechanists: the causal relevance concern, the genuine laws concern, and the charge of predictivism. I argue, however, that these mechanist criticisms fail to defeat non-mechanistic, dynamical explanation. Using the examples o…Read more
  •  87
    Dynamical causes
    Biology and Philosophy 35 (5): 1-21. 2020.
    Mechanistic explanations are often said to explain because they reveal the causal structure of the world. Conversely, dynamical models supposedly lack explanatory power because they do not describe causal structure. The only way for dynamical models to produce causal explanations is via the 3M criterion: the model must be mapped onto a mechanism. This framing of the situation has become the received view around the viability of dynamical explanation. In this paper, I argue against this position …Read more
  •  6
    The Routledge handbook of mechanisms and mechanical philosophy (review)
    Philosophical Psychology 32 (8): 1268-1271. 2019.
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  •  14
    Embracing the Meta-Copernican Turn: Non-decomposition and Mechanistic Explanations
    Australasian Philosophical Review 2 (2): 214-218. 2018.
    In line with proponents of 4E cognition, Gallagher [2019] is concerned that many cognitive phenomena are not amenable to decomposition strategies since their very nature is to be constituted extensively. By contrast the received view on causal explanation—the mechanistic account [Craver 2007]—emphasises the necessity for decomposition in explaining natural phenomena and insists on a sharp distinction between causal versus constitutive relations. I propose that removing the requirement that const…Read more
  •  61
    The Nonmechanistic Option: Defending Dynamical Explanation
    British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 0-0. 2018.
    This paper demonstrates that nonmechanistic, dynamical explanations are a viable approach to explanation in the special sciences. The claim that dynamical models can be explanatory without reference to mechanisms has previously been met with three lines of criticism from mechanists: the causal relevance concern, the genuine laws concern, and the charge of predictivism. I argue, however, that these mechanist criticisms fail to defeat nonmechanistic, dynamical explanation. Using the examples of Ha…Read more
  •  418
    Breaking explanatory boundaries: flexible borders and plastic minds
    with Michael David Kirchhoff
    Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 18 (1): 185-204. 2019.
    In this paper, we offer reasons to justify the explanatory credentials of dynamical modeling in the context of the metaplasticity thesis, located within a larger grouping of views known as 4E Cognition. Our focus is on showing that dynamicism is consistent with interventionism, and therefore with a difference-making account at the scale of system topologies that makes sui generis explanatory differences to the overall behavior of a cognitive system. In so doing, we provide a general overview of …Read more