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Explanation

Edited by Brad Weslake (New York University, Shanghai)
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  1. B. W. A. (1973). Causality and Scientific Explanation. [REVIEW] Review of Metaphysics 26 (3):549-549.
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  2. Peter Achinstein (1981). Can There Be a Model of Explanation? Theory and Decision 13 (3):201-227.
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  3. Robert Ackermann & Alfred Stenner (1966). A Corrected Model of Explanation. Philosophy of Science 33 (1/2):168-.
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  4. Michael G. Adelberg (1994). The Natural History of Explanation. Panurge Press.
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  5. Sue Allen (1997). Using Scientific Inquiry Activities in Exhibit Explanations. Science Education 81 (6):715-734.
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  6. Valia Allori (2010). Quantum Theory: A Philosopher's Overview. [REVIEW] International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 24 (3):330-333.
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  7. William P. Alston (1971). The Place of the Explanation of Particular Facts in Science. Philosophy of Science 38 (1):13-34.
    On the critical side it is argued that, contrary to a widespread view, the explanation of particular facts does not play a central role in pure science and hence that philosophers of science are misguided in supposing that the understanding of such explanations is one of the central tasks of the philosophy of science. It is suggested that the view being attacked may stem in part from an impression that the establishing of a general law is tantamount to the explanation (...)
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  8. José Tomás Alvarado (2008). Conceptual Relativity and Structures of Explanation. Poznan Studies in the Philosophy of the Sciences and the Humanities 95 (1):163-183.
    Hilary Putnam's doctrine of conceptual relativity sustains that there are many different incompatible, yet equivalent, descriptions of what have to be considered "the same" phenomena. This fact is reason to justify the idea that metaphysical realism is wrong and that a better general view of reality should be something like a "pragmatic realism." Putnam sustains further that the different incompatible and equivalent descriptions have to bear the same explanatory virtue. Here it is contended that there seems to be difficulties in (...)
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  9. Logique A. Analyse (1991). Non Monotonic Epistemic Aspects of Scientific Explanations Yao-Hua Tan. Logique Et Analyse 133:197.
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  10. Daniel Athearn (1994). Scientific Nihilism: On the Loss and Recovery of Physical Explanation. State University of New York Press.
    This book shows that the breakoff of narrative causal explanation in physics, although remarkable, is no basis for the negative view of scientific knowledge.
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  11. Robert Audi (1981). Inductive-Nomological Explanations and Psychological Laws. Theory and Decision 13 (3):229-249.
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  12. R. J. B. (1971). Explanation in the Behavioral Sciences. Review of Metaphysics 25 (1):141-141.
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  13. Sergio Daniel Barberis (2012). Un Análisis Crítico de la Concepción Mecanicista de la Explicación. Revista Latinoamericana de Filosofia 38 (2):233-265.
    En este trabajo me propongo desarrollar un estudio crítico de la concepción mecanicista de la explicación científica. En primer lugar, argumento que la caracterización mecanicista de los modelos fenoménicos (no explicativos) es inadecuada, pues no ofrece un análisis aceptable de los conceptos de modelo científico y similitud, que son fundamentales para la propuesta. En segundo lugar, sostengo que la caracterización de los modelos mecanicistas (explicativos) es igualmente inadecuada, pues los análisis disponibles de la relación explicativa de relevancia constitutiva implican una (...)
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  14. Marcello Barbieri (2011). A Mechanistic Model of Meaning. Biosemiotics 4 (1):1-4.
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  15. John D. Barrow (2004). Mathematical Explanation. In John Cornwell (ed.), Explanations: Styles of Explanation in Science. Oxford University Press. 81--109.
  16. Robert W. Batterman & Collin C. Rice (forthcoming). Minimal Model Explanations. .
    This article discusses minimal model explanations, which we argue are distinct from various causal, mechanical, difference-making, and so on, strategies prominent in the philosophical literature. We contend that what accounts for the explanatory power of these models is not that they have certain features in common with real systems. Rather, the models are explanatory because of a story about why a class of systems will all display the same large-scale behavior because the details that distinguish them are irrelevant. This story (...)
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  17. Benjamin Bayer (2000). Salmon, Wesley C. Causality and Explanation. Review of Metaphysics 53 (3):729-730.
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  18. William Bechtel (2013). From Molecules to Behavior and the Clinic: Integration in Chronobiology. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 44 (4):493-502.
    Chronobiology, especially the study of circadian rhythms, provides a model scientific field in which philosophers can study how investigators from a variety of disciplines working at different levels of organization are each contributing to a multi-level account of the responsible mechanism. I focus on how the framework of mechanistic explanation integrates research designed to decompose the mechanism with efforts directed at recomposition that relies especially on computation models. I also examine how recently the integration has extended beyond basic research to (...)
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  19. William Bechtel, Understanding Biological Mechanisms: Using Illustrations From Circadian Rhythm Research.
    In many fields of biology, researchers explain a phenomenon by characterizing the responsible mechanism. This requires identifying the candidate mechanism, decomposing it into its parts and operations, recomposing it so as to understand how it is organized and its operations orchestrated to generate the phenomenon, and situating it in its environment. Mechanistic researchers have developed sophisticated tools for decomposing mechanisms but new approaches, including modeling, are increasingly being invoked to recompose mechanisms when they involve nonsequential organization of nonlinear operations. The (...)
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  20. William Bechtel & Adele Abrahamsen (2005). Mechanistic Explanation and the Nature-Nurture Controversy. Bulletin d'Histoire Et d'pistmologie Des Sciences de La Vie 12:75-100.
    Both in biology and psychology there has been a tendency on the part of many investigators to focus solely on the mature organism and ignore development. There are many reasons for this, but an important one is that the explanatory framework often invoked in the life sciences for understanding a given phenomenon, according to which explanation consists in identifying the mechanism that produces that phenomenon, both makes it possible to side-step the development issue and to provide inadequate resources for actually (...)
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  21. Uwe Becker (1988). From Social Scientific Functionalism to Open Functional Logic. Theory and Society 17 (6):865-883.
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  22. Radim Belohrad & Zdenka Jastrzembska (2013). On the Application of the Methods of Scientific Justification and Explanation in Ethics. Organon F 20:5-23.
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  23. A. Cornelius Benjamin (1941). Modes of Scientific Explanation. Philosophy of Science 8 (4):486-492.
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  24. Roy Bhaskar (1980). Scientific Explanation and Human Emancipation. Radical Philosophy 26:16-28.
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  25. Lukas Bielik (2012). The Abductive Model of (Scientific) Explanation. Organon F 19 (1).
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  26. Rens Bod (2007). Getting Rid of Derivational Redundancy or How to Solve Kuhn's Problem. Minds and Machines 17 (1):47-66.
    This paper deals with the problem of derivational redundancy in scientific explanation, i.e. the problem that there can be extremely many different explanatory derivations for a natural phenomenon while students and experts mostly come up with one and the same derivation for a phenomenon (modulo the order of applying laws). Given this agreement among humans, we need to have a story of how to select from the space of possible derivations of a phenomenon the derivation that humans come up with. (...)
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  27. Alisa Bokulich (2008). Can Classical Structures Explain Quantum Phenomena? British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 59 (2):217-235.
    In semiclassical mechanics one finds explanations of quantum phenomena that appeal to classical structures. These explanations are prima facie problematic insofar as the classical structures they appeal to do not exist. Here I defend the view that fictional structures can be genuinely explanatory by introducing a model-based account of scientific explanation. Applying this framework to the semiclassical phenomenon of wavefunction scarring, I argue that not only can the fictional classical trajectories explain certain aspects of this quantum phenomenon, but also that (...)
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  28. Alisa Bokulich (2012). Distinguishing Explanatory From Nonexplanatory Fictions. Philosophy of Science 79 (5):725-737.
    There is a growing recognition that fictions have a number of legitimate functions in science, even when it comes to scientific explanation. However, the question then arises, what distinguishes an explanatory fiction from a nonexplanatory one? Here I examine two cases—one in which there is a consensus in the scientific community that the fiction is explanatory and another in which the fiction is not explanatory. I shall show how my account of “model explanations” is able to explain this asymmetry, and (...)
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  29. U. K. Bolton - (2003). Meaning and Causal Explanations in the Behavioural Sciences. In Bill Fulford, Katherine Morris, John Z. Sadler & Giovanni Stanghellini (eds.), Nature and Narrative: An Introduction to the New Philosophy of Psychiatry. Oup Oxford.
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  30. Melinda Bonnie Fagan (2012). The Joint Account of Mechanistic Explanation. Philosophy of Science 79 (4):448-472.
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  31. Franz Borkenau (1987). The Sociology of the Mechanistic World-Picture. Science in Context 1 (1).
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  32. Seamus Bradley, Scientific Uncertainty: A User's Guide. Grantham Institute on Climate Change Discussion Paper.
    There are different kinds of uncertainty. I outline some of the various ways that uncertainty enters science, focusing on uncertainty in climate science and weather prediction. I then show how we cope with some of these sources of error through sophisticated modelling techniques. I show how we maintain confidence in the face of error.
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  33. P. Braillard & C. Malaterre (eds.) (forthcoming). Explanation in Biology. An Enquiry Into the Diversity of Explanatory Patterns in the Life Sciences. Springer.
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  34. David Braybrooke & Stephan Korner (1977). Explanation. Philosophical Quarterly 27 (106):74.
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  35. Ingar Brinck, Göran Hermerén, Johannes Persson & Nils-Eric Sahlin, Why Metaphysicians Do Not Explain.
    The paper discusses the concept of explanation in metaphysics. Different types of explanation are identified and explored. Scientific explanation is compared with (alleged) metaphysical explanation. The comparison illustrates the difficulties with applying the concept of explanation in metaphysics.
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  36. N. S. C. (1964). Studies in Explanation. Review of Metaphysics 17 (3):488-488.
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  37. Tian Yu Cao (2004). Ontology and Scientific Explanation. In John Cornwell (ed.), Explanations: Styles of Explanation in Science. Oxford University Press.
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  38. Barry Carpenter (2000). Models and Explanations: Understanding Chemical Reaction Mechanisms. In Bhushan & Rosenfeld (eds.), Of Minds and Molecules. Oxford University Press. 211--229.
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  39. Alejandro Cassini (2012). Pablo Sebastián García: (1955-2012). Revista Latinoamericana de Filosofia 38 (2):274-275.
    En este trabajo me propongo desarrollar un estudio crítico de la concepción mecanicista de la explicación científica. En primer lugar, argumento que la caracterización mecanicista de los modelos fenoménicos (no explicativos) es inadecuada, pues no ofrece un análisis aceptable de los conceptos de modelo científico y similitud, que son fundamentales para la propuesta. En segundo lugar, sostengo que la caracterización de los modelos mecanicistas (explicativos) es igualmente inadecuada, pues los análisis disponibles de la relación explicativa de relevancia constitutiva implican una (...)
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  40. Anjan Chakravartty (2010). Explanation, Inference, Testimony, and Truth: Essays Dedicated to the Memory of Peter Lipton. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 41 (4):335-336.
  41. Ulrich Charpa (1980). Konstruktivistische Erklärungstheorie AlS Grundlage Einer Methodisch Verfahrenden Philologie? Journal for General Philosophy of Science 11 (1):95-102.
    Summary It is well known that Hempels ‘classical’ approach to scientific explanation leads to a lot of difficulties with regard to the real world of inquiry, especially to that of the humanities. Seen against this background alternative views on explanation have become more and more attractive during the last years. The present paper deals with a recent contribution made by O. Schwemmer (a representative of the ‘Erlanger Schule’). His conception of explanation is explicitly meant to apply to the actual practice (...)
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  42. Michelene Th Chi (2003). What is Self-Explanation? In Gale M. Sinatra & Paul R. Pintrich (eds.), Intentional Conceptual Change. L. Erlbaum.
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  43. Seth Chin-Parker & Alexandra Bradner (2009). Background Shifts Affect Explanatory Style: How a Pragmatic Theory of Explanation Accounts for Background Effects in the Generation of Explanations. Cognitive Processing.
  44. Maureen Christie (2000). Laws and Theories in Chemistry Do Not Obey the Rules. In Bhushan & Rosenfeld (eds.), Of Minds and Molecules. Oxford University Press. 34--50.
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  45. Philip Clayton (2004). Mind and Emergence: From Quantum to Consciousness. Oxford University Press.
    Strong claims have been made for emergence as a new paradigm for understanding science, consciousness, and religion. Tracing the past history and current definitions of the concept, Clayton assesses the case for emergent phenomena in the natural world and their significance for philosophy and theology. Complex emergent phenomena require irreducible levels of explanation in physics, chemistry and biology. This pattern of emergence suggests a new approach to the problem of consciousness, which is neither reducible to brain states nor proof of (...)
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  46. Rob Clifton, Scientific Explanation in Quantum Theory.
    In this paper (which is, at best, a work in progress), I discuss different modes of scientific explanation identified by philosophers (Hempel, Salmon, Kitcher, Friedman, Hughes) and examine how well or badly they capture the "explanations" of phenomena that modern quantum theory provides. I tentatively conclude that quantum explanation is best seen as "structural explanation", and spell out in detail how this works in the case of explaining vacuum correlations. Problems and prospects for structural explanation in quantum theory are also (...)
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  47. Ben Crisp (2008). Do Causes Need to Make Their Effects Probable in Order to Explain Them? The Tension Between N1 and E5 in Craver's Mechanistic Model of Explanation. [REVIEW] Emergent Australasian Philosophers 1 (1).
    Carl Craver proposes a mechanistic model of explanation in science motivated by a desire to intervene, as exemplified by explanations in neuroscience which in his opinion are motivated by the desire to bring the central nervous system under control. In his discussion of causal relevancy conditions of mechanistic components Craver asserts that a cause need not make its effect probable in order to explain it . Although this is supported by some interpretations, Craver’s own is highlighted by his appeal to (...)
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  48. Henk W. de Regt, Sabina Leonelli & K. Eigner (2009). Focusing on Scientific Understanding. In Henk De Regt, Sabina Leonelli & Kai Eigner (eds.), Scientific Understanding: Philosophical Perspectives. University of Pittsburgh Press.
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  49. Henk W. de Regt & Wendy S. Parker (2014). Introduction: Simulation, Visualization, and Scientific Understanding. Perspectives on Science 22 (3):311-317.
    Only a decade ago, the topic of scientific understanding remained one that philosophers of science largely avoided. Earlier discussions by Hempel and others had branded scientific understanding a mere subjective state or feeling, one to be studied by psychologists perhaps, but not an important or fruitful focus for philosophers of science. Even as scientific explanation became a central topic in philosophy of science, little attention was given to understanding. Over the last decade, however, this situation has changed. Analyses of scientific (...)
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  50. Joseph De Rivera (1959). Some Conditions Governing the Use of the Cue-Producing Response as an Explanatory Device. Journal of Experimental Psychology 57 (5):299.
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