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  1. Robert W. Batterman (2002). The Devil in the Details: Asymptotic Reasoning in Explanation, Reduction, and Emergence. Oxford University Press.
    Robert Batterman examines a form of scientific reasoning called asymptotic reasoning, arguing that it has important consequences for our understanding of the scientific process as a whole. He maintains that asymptotic reasoning is essential for explaining what physicists call universal behavior. With clarity and rigor, he simplifies complex questions about universal behavior, demonstrating a profound understanding of the underlying structures that ground them. This book introduces a valuable new method that is certain to fill explanatory gaps across disciplines.
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  2. Christopher Clarke (forthcoming). Multi-Level Selection and the Explanatory Value of Mathematical Decompositions. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science.
    Do multi-level selection explanations of the evolution of social traits deepen the understanding provided by single-level explanations? Central to the former is a mathematical theorem, the multi-level Price decomposition. I build a framework through which to understand the explanatory role of such non-empirical decompositions in scientific practice. Applying this general framework to the present case places two tasks on the agenda. The first task is to distinguish the various ways of suppressing within-collective variation in fitness, and moreover to evaluate their (...)
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  3. Laura Felline (2011). Scientific Explanation Between Principle and Constructive Theories. Philosophy of Science 78 (5):989-1000.
    The aim of this paper is to analyse the role that the distinction between principle and constructive theories have in the question of the explanatory power of Special Relativity. We show how the distinction breaks down at the explanatory level. We assess Harvey Brown’s (2005) claim that, as a principle theory, Special Relativity lacks of explanatory power and criticize it, as, we argue, based upon an unrealistic picture of the kind of explanations provided by principle (and constructive) theories. Finally, we (...)
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  4. Shieva Kleinschmidt (forthcoming). Reasoning Without the Principle of Sufficient Reason. In Tyron Goldschmidt (ed.), The Philosophy of Existence: Why Is There Something Rather Than Nothing? Routledge.
    According to Principles of Sufficient Reason, every truth (in some relevant group) has an explanation. One of the most popular defenses of Principles of Sufficient Reason has been the presupposition of reason defense, which takes endorsement of the defended PSR to play a crucial role in our theory selection. According to recent presentations of this defense, our method of theory selection often depends on the assumption that, if a given proposition is true, then it has an explanation, and this will (...)
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  5. Marc Lange (2012). Abstraction and Depth in Scientific Explanation. [REVIEW] Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 84 (2):483-491.
  6. Angela Potochnik (2010). Explanatory Independence and Epistemic Interdependence: A Case Study of the Optimality Approach. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 61 (1):213-233.
    The value of optimality modeling has long been a source of contention amongst population biologists. Here I present a view of the optimality approach as at once playing a crucial explanatory role and yet also depending on external sources of confirmation. Optimality models are not alone in facing this tension between their explanatory value and their dependence on other approaches; I suspect that the scenario is quite common in science. This investigation of the optimality approach thus serves as a case (...)
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  7. Angela Potochnik (2010). Levels of Explanation Reconceived. Philosophy of Science 77 (1):59-72.
    A common argument against explanatory reductionism is that higher‐level explanations are sometimes or always preferable because they are more general than reductive explanations. Here I challenge two basic assumptions that are needed for that argument to succeed. It cannot be assumed that higher‐level explanations are more general than their lower‐level alternatives or that higher‐level explanations are general in the right way to be explanatory. I suggest a novel form of pluralism regarding levels of explanation, according to which explanations at different (...)
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  8. Angela Potochnik (2007). Optimality Modeling and Explanatory Generality. Philosophy of Science 74 (5):680-691.
    The optimality approach to modeling natural selection has been criticized by many biologists and philosophers of biology. For instance, Lewontin (1979) argues that the optimality approach is a shortcut that will be replaced by models incorporating genetic information, if and when such models become available. In contrast, I think that optimality models have a permanent role in evolutionary study. I base my argument for this claim on what I think it takes to best explain an event. In certain contexts, optimality (...)
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  9. Daniel Schoch (2000). A Fuzzy Measure for Explanatory Coherence. Synthese 122 (3):291-311.
    In a series of articles, Paul Thagard has developed a connectionist''s modelfor the evaluation of explanatory coherence for competing systems ofhypotheses. He has successfully applied it to various examples from thehistory of science and common language reasoning. However, I will argue thathis formalism does not adequately represent explanatory relations betweenmore than two propositions.In this paper, I develop a generalization of Thagard''s approach. It is notsubject to the connectionist paradigm of neural nets, but is based on fuzzylogic: Explanatory coherence increases with (...)
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  10. Jonah N. Schupbach (2011). Comparing Probabilistic Measures of Explanatory Power. Philosophy of Science 78 (5):813-829.
    Recently, in attempting to account for explanatory reasoning in probabilistic terms, Bayesians have proposed several measures of the degree to which a hypothesis explains a given set of facts. These candidate measures of "explanatory power" are shown to have interesting normative interpretations and consequences. What has not yet been investigated, however, is whether any of these measures are also descriptive of people’s actual explanatory judgments. Here, I present my own experimental work investigating this question. I argue that one measure in (...)
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  11. Brad Weslake, The Problem of Disjunctive Explanations.
    I present a problem for theories of explanation, concerning explanations involving disjunctive properties. The problem is particular acute for the explanatory non-fundamentalist, according to whom non-fundamental scientific explanations are sometimes superior to fundamental physical explanations. I criticise solutions to the problem due to Woodward, Strevens and Sober, and Lewis, and then defend a solution inspired by an account of non-fundamental laws recently defended by Callender and Cohen.
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  12. Brad Weslake (forthcoming). Statistical Mechanical Imperialism. In Alastair Wilson (ed.), Chance and Temporal Asymmetry. Oxford University Press.
    I argue against the claim, advanced by David Albert and Barry Loewer, that all non-fundamental laws can be derived from those required to underwrite the second law of thermodynamics.
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  13. Brad Weslake (2013). Proportionality, Contrast and Explanation. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 91 (4):785-797.
    If counterfactual dependence is sufficient for causation and if omissions can be causes, then all events have many more causes than common sense tends to recognize. This problem is standardly addressed by appeal to pragmatics. However, Carolina Sartorio [2010] has recently raised what I shall argue is a more interesting problem concerning omissions for counterfactual theories of causation—more interesting because it demands a more subtle pragmatic solution. I discuss the relationship between the idea that causes are proportional to their effects, (...)
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  14. Brad Weslake (2010). Explanatory Depth. Philosophy of Science 77 (2):273-294.
    I defend an account of explanatory depth according to which explanations in the non-fundamental sciences can be deeper than explanations in fundamental physics.
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  15. Petri Ylikoski (2009). The Illusion of Depth of Understanding in Science. In H. W. de Regt, S. Leonelli & K. Eigner (eds.), Scientific Understanding : Philosophical Perspectives. University of Pittsburgh Press. 100--119.
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  16. Karen R. Zwier (2011). Dalton's Chemical Atoms Versus Duhem's Chemical Equivalents. Philosophy of Science 78 (5):842-853.
    Paul Needham has claimed in several recent papers that Dalton’s chemical atomism was not explanatory. I respond to his criticism of Dalton by arguing that explanation admits of degrees and that under a view that allows for a spectrum of explanatory value, it is possible to see ample worth in Dalton’s atomistic explanations. Furthermore, I argue that even Duhem, who rejected atomism, acknowledged the explanatory worth of Dalton’s atomism.
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