Just One Thing - Mechanism 3
Mechanism is the belief that natural wholes (principally living things) are like machines or artifacts, composed of parts lacking any intrinsic relationship to each other, and with their order imposed from without. Thus, the source of an apparent thing's activities is not the whole itself, but its parts or an external influence on the parts. Mechanism is opposed to the organic conception of nature best articulated by Aristotle and more recently elaborated as vitalism.
The doctrine of mechanism in philosophy comes in two different flavors. They are both doctrines of metaphysics, but they are different in scope and ambitions: the first is a global doctrine about nature; the second is a local doctrine about humans and their minds, which is hotly contested. For clarity we might distinguish these two doctrines as universal mechanism and anthropic mechanism.