Mechanistic Explanations and Deliberate Misrepresentations
Siponen, Mikko; Klaavuniemi, Tuula; Nathan, Marco (2020). Mechanistic Explanations and Deliberate Misrepresentations. In Proceedings of the 53rd Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS 2020), Proceedings of the Annual Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences. University of Hawai'i at Manoa, 5695-5704. http://hdl.handle.net/10125/64441
© The Authors, 2020
The philosophy of mechanisms has developed rapidly during the last 30 years. As mechanisms-based explanations (MBEs) are often seen as an alternative to nomological, law-based explanations, MBEs could be relevant in IS. We begin by offering a short history of mechanistic philosophy and set out to clarify the contemporary landscape. We then suggest that mechanistic models provide an alternative to variance and process models in IS. Finally, we highlight how MBEs typically contain deliberate misrepresentations. Although MBEs have recently been advocated as critical realist (CR) accounts in IS, idealizations (deliberate misrepresentations) seem to violate some fundamental tenets of CR and research method principles for CR. Idealizations in MBEs, therefore, may risk being regarded as flawed in IS. If it turns out that CR cannot account for idealizations, naturalism can, and it does so without extra-philosophical baggage.
PublisherUniversity of Hawai'i at Manoa
Parent publication ISBN978-0-9981331-3-3
ConferenceHawaii international conference on information systems
Is part of publicationProceedings of the 53rd Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS 2020)