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  1. Atocha Aliseda (2007). Abductive Reasoning: Challenges Ahead. Theoria 22 (3):261-270.
    The motivation behind the collection of papers presented in this THEORIA forum on Abductive reasoning is my book Abductive Reasoning: Logical Investigations into the Processes of Discovery and Explanation. These contributions raise fundamental questions. One of them concerns the conjectural character of abduction. The choice of a logical framework for abduction is also discussed in detail, both its inferential aspect and search strategies. Abduction is also analyzed as inference to the best explanation, as well as a process of epistemic change, (...)
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  2. Robert Almeder (1989). Scientific Realism and Explanation. American Philosophical Quarterly 26 (3):173 - 185.
    Assuming for the sake of discussion that there is an external world, The "core" thesis of scientific realism is that some of our empirical beliefs (including the so-Called theoretical beliefs) succeed in correctly describing, In some important measure, The external world. Classical scientific realism also asserts that we are able to say justifiably just "which" of our beliefs so succeed in correctly describing the external world. This paper does not examine this last claim. Rather it seeks to defend the core (...)
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  3. Jiri Benovsky (2013). Primitiveness, Metaontology, and Explanatory Power. Dialogue 52 (2):341-358.
    Metaphysical theories heavily rely on the use of primitives to which they typically appeal. I will start by examining and evaluating some traditional well-known theories and I will discuss the role of primitives in metaphysical theories in general. I will then turn to a discussion of claims of between theories that, I think, depend on equivalences of primitives, and I will explore the nature of primitives. I will then claim that almost all explanatory power of metaphysical theories comes from their (...)
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  4. Alexander Bird (2006). Selection and Explanation. In Rethinking Explanation. Springer. 131--136.
    Selection explanations explain some non-accidental generalizations in virtue of a selection process. Such explanations are not particulaizable - they do not transfer as explanations of the instances of such generalizations. This is unlike many explanations in the physical sciences, where the explanation of the general fact also provides an explanation of its instances (i.e. standard D-N explanations). Are selection explanations (e.g. in biology) therefore a different kind of explanation? I argue that to understand this issue, we need to see that (...)
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  5. David Boersema (2003). Peirce on Explanation. Journal of Speculative Philosophy 17 (3):224-236.
    There has been a recent focused effort in philosophical scholarship to bridge the perceived divide between pragmatism and analytic philosophy. This divide, it has been suggested, is over philosophical doctrines, methods, and even aims. This is not to say there has not been fruitful—even if antagonistic—dialogue between these two philosophical traditions. Clearly there has been, e.g., Russell's famous (or infamous) disputes with James and Dewey. Clearly also, there has been direct philosophical influence from one tradition to the other, e.g., Peirce (...)
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  6. Robby Ray Brady (1975). Theoretical Limitations on Scientific Explanation. Dissertation, The Claremont Graduate University
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  7. Robert Evans Brumett (1976). Scientific Explanation and the Philosophy of Language. Dissertation, The Ohio State University
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  8. John W. Carroll (1997). Lipton on Compatible Contrasts. Analysis 57 (3):170–178.
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  9. C. E. Cleland (2011). Prediction and Explanation in Historical Natural Science. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 62 (3):551-582.
    In earlier work ( Cleland [2001] , [2002]), I sketched an account of the structure and justification of ‘prototypical’ historical natural science that distinguishes it from ‘classical’ experimental science. This article expands upon this work, focusing upon the close connection between explanation and justification in the historical natural sciences. I argue that confirmation and disconfirmation in these fields depends primarily upon the explanatory (versus predictive or retrodictive) success or failure of hypotheses vis-à-vis empirical evidence. The account of historical explanation that (...)
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  10. Marcos Rodrigues da Silva (2010). Inferência da melhor explicação: Peter Lipton e o debate realismo/anti-realismo. Princípios 17 (27):303-312.
    Apresentaçáo da traduçáo do artigo der Peter Lipton: "Is the Best Good Enough?" (publicado em 1993 no Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society , vol. XCIII, parte 2, pp. 89-104).
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  11. Fred I. Dretske (1970). Epistemic Operators. Journal of Philosophy 67 (24):1007-1023.
  12. Mohamed Elsamahi (2005). A Critique of Localized Realism. Philosophy of Science 72 (5):1350-1360.
    A Critique of Localized Realism Abstract In an attempt to avert Laudan’s pessimistic induction, Worrall and Psillos introduce a narrower version of scientific realism. According to this version, which can be referred to as “localized realism”, realists need not accept every component in a successful theory. They are supposed only to accept those components that led to the theory’s empirical success. Consequently, realists can avoid believing in dubious entities like the caloric and ether. This paper examines and critiques localized realism. (...)
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  13. Axel Gelfert (2003). Manipulative Success and the Unreal. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 17 (3):245-263.
    In its original form due to Ian Hacking, entity realism postulates a criterion of manipulative success which replaces explanatory virtue as the criterion of justified scientific belief. The article analyses the foundations on which this postulate rests and identifies the conditions on which one can derive a form of entity realism from it. It then develops in detail an extensive class of counterexamples, drawing on the notion of quasi-particles in condensed matter physics. While the phenomena associated with quasi-particles pass the (...)
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  14. Christopher Read Hitchcock (1992). Causal Explanation and Scientific Realism. Erkenntnis 37 (2):151 - 178.
    It is widely believed that many of the competing accounts of scientific explanation have ramifications which are relevant to the scientific realism debate. I claim that the two issues are orthogonal. For definiteness, I consider Cartwright's argument that causal explanations secure belief in theoretical entities. In Section I, van Fraassen's anti-realism is reviewed; I argue that this anti-realism is, prima facie, consistent with a causal account of explanation. Section II reviews Cartwright's arguments. In Section III, it is argued that causal (...)
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  15. Marten Ten Hoor (1936). Awareness and Inference: An Approach to Realism. Journal of Philosophy 33 (22):589 - 596.
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  16. L. Jansson (2012). Depth: An Account of Scientific Explanation. [REVIEW] Philosophical Review 121 (4):625-630.
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  17. Stephen Kearns & Daniel Star (2008). Reasons: Explanations or Evidence? Ethics 119 (1):31-56.
  18. Marc Lange (2009). Dimensional Explanations. Noûs 43 (4):742-775.
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  19. Uri D. Leibowitz (2011). Scientific Explanation and Moral Explanation. Noûs 45 (3):472-503.
    Moral philosophers are, among other things, in the business of constructing moral theories. And moral theories are, among other things, supposed to explain moral phenomena. Consequently, one’s views about the nature of moral explanation will influence the kinds of moral theories one is willing to countenance. Many moral philosophers are (explicitly or implicitly) committed to a deductive model of explanation. As I see it, this commitment lies at the heart of the current debate between moral particularists and moral generalists. In (...)
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  20. Peter Lipton (1998). The Best Explanation of a Scientific Paper. Philosophy of Science 65 (3):406-410.
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  21. William G. Lycan (2002). Explanation and Epistemology. In Paul K. Moser (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Epistemology. Oxford University Press. 413.
    Second, there is a form of ampliative inference that has come to be called ‘inference to the best explanation,’ or more briefly ‘explanatory inference.’ Roughly: From the fact that a certain hypothesis would explain the data at hand better than any other available hypothesis, we infer with some degree of confidence that that leading hypothesis is correct. There is no question but that this inference is often performed. Arguably, every human being performs it many times in a day, perhaps without (...)
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  22. Cynthia Macdonald & Graham Macdonald (2008). Explanation in Historiography. In A. Tucker (ed.), A Companion to the Philosophy of History and Historiography. Blackwell.
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  23. Nicholas Maxwell, Comprehensibility Rather Than Beauty. PhilSci Archive.
    Most scientists and philosophers of science recognize that, when it comes to accepting and rejecting theories in science, considerations that have to do with simplicity, unity, symmetry, elegance, beauty or explanatory power have an important role to play, in addition to empirical considerations. Until recently, however, no one has been able to give a satisfactory account of what simplicity (etc.) is, or how giving preference to simple theories is to be justified. But in the last few years, two different but (...)
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  24. G. Randolph Mayes (2000). Resisting Explanation. Argumentation 14 (4):361-380.
    Although explanation is widely regarded as an important concept in the study of rational inquiry, it remains largely unexplored outside the philosophy of science. This, I believe, is not due to oversight as much as to institutional resistance. In analytic philosophy it is basic that epistemic rationality is a function of justification and that justification is a function of argument. Explanation, however, is not argument nor is belief justification its function. I argue here that the task of incorporating explanation into (...)
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  25. Bernhard Nickel (2010). How General Do Theories of Explanation Need To Be? Noûs 44 (2):305 - 328.
    Theories of explanation seek to tell us what distinctively explanatory information is. The most ambitious ones, such as the DN-account, seek to tell us what an explanation is, tout court. Less ambitious ones, such as causal theories, restrict themselves to a particular domain of inquiry. The least ambitious theories constitute outright skepticism, holding that there is no reasonably unified phenomenon to give an account of. On these views, it is impossible to give any theories of explanation at all. I argue (...)
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  26. Stathos Psillos (2002). Causation and Explanation. Acumen.
    This book is copyright under the Berne Convention. No reproduction without permission. All rights reserved.
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  27. Maria Rentetzi (2005). The Metaphorical Conception of Scientific Explanation: Rereading Mary Hesse. [REVIEW] Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 36 (2):377 - 391.
    In 1997, five decades after the publication of the landmark Hempel-Oppenheim article "Studies in the Logic of Explanation"([1948], 1970) Wesley Salmon published Causality and Explanation, a book that re-addresses the issue of scientific explanation. He provided an overview of the basic approaches to scientific explanation, stressed their weaknesses, and offered novel insights. However, he failed to mention Mary Hesse's approach to the topic and analyze her standpoint. This essay brings front and center Hesse's approach to scientific explanation formulated in the (...)
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  28. David-Hillel Ruben (ed.) (1993). Explanation. Oxford University Press.
    The aim of this series is to bring together important recent writings in major areas of philosophical inquiry, selected from a variety of sources, mostly periodicals, which may not be conveniently available to the university student or the general reader. The editor of each volume contributes an introductory essay on the items chosen and on the questions with which they deal. A selective bibliography is appended as a guide to further reading. This volume presents a selection of the most important (...)
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  29. David-Hillel Ruben (1993). Introduction. In D.-H. Ruben (ed.), Explanation. Oxford University Press.
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  30. David-Hillel Ruben (1989). The Ontology of Explanation. In Fred D'Agostino & I. C. Jarvie (eds.), Freedom and Rationality. Reidel. 67--85.
    In an explanation, what does the explaining and what gets explained? What are the relata of the explanation relation? Candidates include: people, events, facts, sentences, statements, and propositions.
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  31. G. Schurz (2008). Patterns of Abduction. Synthese 164 (2):201 - 234.
    This article describes abductions as special patterns of inference to the best explanation whose structure determines a particularly promising abductive conjecture (conclusion) and thus serves as an abductive search strategy (Sect. 1). A classification of different patterns of abduction is provided which intends to be as complete as possible (Sect. 2). An important distinction is that between selective abductions, which choose an optimal candidate from given multitude of possible explanations (Sects. 3–4), and creative abductions, which introduce new theoretical models or (...)
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  32. Marcos Rodrigues da Silva (2010). Inferência da melhor explicação: Peter Lipton e o debate realismo/anti-realismo. Princípios 17 (27):303-312.
    Apresentaçáo da traduçáo do artigo der Peter Lipton: "Is the Best Good Enough?" (publicado em 1993 no Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society , vol. XCIII, parte 2, pp. 89-104).
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  33. Edward Slowik (1999). Moral and Scientific Explanation. Cogito 13 (1):39-44.
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  34. David Slutsky (2012). Confusion and Dependence in Uses of History. Synthese 184 (3):261-286.
    Many people argue that history makes a special difference to the subjects of biology and psychology, and that history does not make this special difference to other parts of the world. This paper will show that historical properties make no more or less of a difference to biology or psychology than to chemistry, physics, or other sciences. Although historical properties indeed make a certain kind of difference to biology and psychology, this paper will show that historical properties make the same (...)
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  35. Mauricio Suarez, Experimental Realism Defended: How Inference to the Most Likely Cause Might Be Sound.
    On a purely epistemic understanding of experimental realism, manipulation affords a particularly robust kind of causal warrant, which is – like any other warrant – defeasible. I defend a version of Nancy Cartwright’s inference to the most likely cause, and I conclude that this minimally epistemic version of experimental realism is a coherent, adequate and plausible epistemology for science.
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  36. Marten ten Hoor (1936). Awareness and Inference: An Approach to Realism. Journal of Philosophy 33 (22):589-596.
Explanation and Laws
  1. Peter Achinstein (1971). Law and Explanation: An Essay in the Philosophy of Science. London,Oxford University Press.
  2. Joshua Alexander (2004). Marc Lange: Natural Laws in Scientific Practice. [REVIEW] Philosophy of Science 71 (2):222-224.
    What is a law of nature? Traditionally, philosophical discussion of this question has been dominated by two prominent alternatives; David Lewis’s best-systems analysis, according to which a law is a regularity that serves as a theorem in our best axiomatization of the facts about the world, and the Dretske-Armstrong-Tooley analysis, which incorporates universals to distinguish laws from mere accidental generalizations. Marc Lange’s first book presents a provocative alternative to this tradition, providing a novel treatment of natural laws that should be (...)
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  3. Clint Ballinger (2008). Initial Conditions as Exogenous Factors in Spatial Explanation. Dissertation, University of Cambridge
    This dissertation shows how initial conditions play a special role in the explanation of contingent and irregular outcomes, including, in the form of geographic context, the special case of uneven development in the social sciences. The dissertation develops a general theory of this role, recognizes its empirical limitations in the social sciences, and considers how it might be applied to the question of uneven development. The primary purpose of the dissertation is to identify and correct theoretical problems in the study (...)
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  4. Clint Ballinger, Classifying Contingency in the Social Sciences: Diachronic, Synchronic, and Deterministic Contingency.
    This article makes three claims concerning the concept of contingency. First, we argue that the word contingency is used in far too many ways to be useful. Its many meanings are detrimental to clarity of discussion and thought in history and the social sciences. We show how there are eight distinct uses of the word and illustrate this with numerous examples from the social sciences and history, highlighting the scope for confusion caused by the many, often contradictory uses of the (...)
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  5. Alexander Bird (1999). Explanation and Laws. Synthese 120 (1):1--18.
    In this paper I examine two aspects of Hempel’s covering-law models of explanation. These are (i) nomic subsumption and (ii) explication by models. Nomic subsumption is the idea that to explain a fact is to show how it falls under some appropriate law. This conception of explanation Hempel explicates using a pair of models, where, in this context, a model is a template or pattern such that if something fits it, then that thing is an explanation. A range of well-known (...)
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  6. Alex Blum (1970). Laws and Instantial Statements. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 21 (4):371-378.
    In 'The Structure of Science' Nagel contends that a deductive explanation of the occurrence of an individual event must contain at least one instantial statement as a premiss (Nagel, 1961, p. 31). I shall defend a version of his contention.
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  7. Darren Bradley (2013). Functionalism and The Independence Problems. Noûs 47 (1):545-557.
    The independence problems for functionalism stem from the worry that if functional properties are defined in terms of their causes and effects then such functional properties seem to be too intimately connected to these purported causes and effects. I distinguish three different ways the independence problems can be filled out – in terms of necessary connections, analytic connections and vacuous explanations. I argue that none of these present serious problems. Instead, they bring out some important and over-looked features of functionalism.
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  8. John W. Carroll (2005). Natural Laws in Scientific Practice. [REVIEW] Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 71 (1):240–245.
    This is a review of Marc Lange's _Natural Laws in Scientific Practice<D>.
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  9. Nancy Cartwright (1980). The Truth Doesn't Explain Much. American Philosophical Quarterly 17 (2):159 - 163.
  10. Steve Clarke (1998). Cartwright on Fundamentalism. Theoria 45 (91):53-65.
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  11. Robert C. Cummins (2000). "How Does It Work" Versus "What Are the Laws?": Two Conceptions of Psychological Explanation. In F. Keil & Robert A. Wilson (eds.), Explanation and Cognition, 117-145. MIT Press.
    In the beginning, there was the DN (Deductive Nomological) model of explanation, articulated by Hempel and Oppenheim (1948). According to DN, scientific explanation is subsumption under natural law. Individual events are explained by deducing them from laws together with initial conditions (or boundary conditions), and laws are explained by deriving them from other more fundamental laws, as, for example, the simple pendulum law is derived from Newton's laws of motion.
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  12. Zoubeida R. Dagher & Sibel Erduran (2014). Laws and Explanations in Biology and Chemistry: Philosophical Perspectives and Educational Implications. In Michael R. Matthews (ed.), International Handbook of Research in History, Philosophy and Science Teaching. Springer. 1203-1233.
    This chapter utilises scholarship in philosophy of biology and philosophy of chemistry to produce meaningful implications for biology and chemistry education. The primary purpose for studying philosophical literature is to identify different perspectives on the nature of laws and explanations within these disciplines. The goal is not to resolve ongoing debates about the nature of laws and explanations but to consider their multiple forms and purposes in ways that promote deep and practical understanding of biological and chemical knowledge in educational (...)
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  13. Jon Dorling (1978). On Explanations in Physics: Sketch of an Alternative to Hempel's Account of the Explanation of Laws. Philosophy of Science 45 (1):136-140.
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  14. William H. Dray (1979). Laws and Explanation in History. Greenwood Press.
1 — 50 / 266