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  1. Eric Barnes (1994). Explaining Brute Facts. PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1994:61-68.
    I aim to show that one way of testing the mettle of a theory of scientific explanation is to inquire what that theory entails about the status of brute facts. Here I consider the nature of brute facts, and survey several contemporary accounts of explanation vis a vis this subject. One problem with these accounts is that they seem to entail that brute facts represent a gap in scientific understanding. I argue that brute facts are non-mysterious and indeed are even (...)
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  2. Daniel Cohnitz (2002). Explanations Are Like Salted Peanuts. In A. Beckermann & C. Nimtz (eds.), Argument und Analyse: Proceedings of GAP4. Mentis
    Take a look at these four situations: Figure 1 All of these situations have certain features in common: in all of them an explanation is asked for, in all of them an explanation is given, and all these explanations are literally false (although in different ways).
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  3. Matteo Colombo (2016). Experimental Philosophy of Explanation Rising: The Case for a Plurality of Concepts of Explanation. Cognitive Science 40 (4):n/a-n/a.
    This paper brings together results from the philosophy and the psychology of explanation to argue that there are multiple concepts of explanation in human psychology. Specifically, it is shown that pluralism about explanation coheres with the multiplicity of models of explanation available in the philosophy of science, and it is supported by evidence from the psychology of explanatory judgment. Focusing on the case of a norm of explanatory power, the paper concludes by responding to the worry that if there is (...)
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  4. Michael E. Cuffaro (2013). On the Physical Explanation for Quantum Computational Speedup. Dissertation, The University of Western Ontario
    The aim of this dissertation is to clarify the debate over the explanation of quantum speedup and to submit, for the reader's consideration, a tentative resolution to it. In particular, I argue, in this dissertation, that the physical explanation for quantum speedup is precisely the fact that the phenomenon of quantum entanglement enables a quantum computer to fully exploit the representational capacity of Hilbert space. This is impossible for classical systems, joint states of which must always be representable as product (...)
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  5. Robert C. Cummins (1978). Explanation and Subsumption. PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1978:163 - 175.
    The thesis that subsumption is sufficient for explanation is dying out, but the thesis that it is necessary is alive and well. It is difficult to attack this thesis: non-subsumptive counter-examples are declared incomplete, or mere promissory notes. No theory, it is thought, can be explanatory unless it resorts to subsumption at some point. In this paper I attack this thesis by describing a theory that (1) would explain every event it could describe, (2) does not explain by subsumption, and (...)
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  6. Richard David-Rus (2011). Explanation Through Scientific Models: Reframing the Explanation Topic. Logos and Episteme 2 (2):177-189.
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  7. Finnur Dellsén (forthcoming). There May Yet Be Non-Causal Explanations. Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie:1-8.
    There are many putative counterexamples to the view that all scientific explanations are causal explanations. Using a new theory of what it is to be a causal explanation, Bradford Skow has recently argued that several of the putative counterexamples fail to be non-causal. This paper defends some of the counterexamples by showing how Skow’s argument relies on an overly permissive theory of causal explanations.
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  8. José Díez, Kareem Khalifa & Bert Leuridan (2013). General Theories of Explanation: Buyer Beware. Synthese 190 (3):379-396.
    We argue that there is no general theory of explanation that spans the sciences, mathematics, and ethics, etc. More specifically, there is no good reason to believe that substantive and domain-invariant constraints on explanatory information exist. Using Nickel (Noûs 44(2):305–328, 2010 ) as an exemplar of the contrary, generalist position, we first show that Nickel’s arguments rest on several ambiguities, and then show that even when these ambiguities are charitably corrected, Nickel’s defense of general theories of explanation is inadequate along (...)
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  9. Luis H. Favela (2014). Radical Embodied Cognitive Neuroscience: Addressing “Grand Challenges” of the Mind Sciences. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 8:01-10.
    It is becoming ever more accepted that investigations of mind span the brain, body, and environment. To broaden the scope of what is relevant in such investigations is to increase the amount of data scientists must reckon with. Thus, a major challenge facing scientists who study the mind is how to make big data intelligible both within and between fields. One way to face this challenge is to structure the data within a framework and to make it intelligible by means (...)
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  10. Laura Felline (2010). Review of R. Batterman: The Devil in the Details: Asymptotic Reasoning in Explanation, Reduction and Emergence. [REVIEW] APhEx – Portale Italiano di Filosofia Analitica 2:99-109.
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  11. John Forge (1985). Theoretical Explanation in Physical Science. Erkenntnis 23 (3):269 - 294.
    An account of physical explanation derived from the instance view of scientific explanation is outlined, and it is shown that this account does not cover explanations by theories which contain theoretical functions. An alternative account, also derived from the instance view, is proposed on the basis of Sneed's account of theories. It is shown that this account does cover theoretical explanations. Finally, it is shown that this account can accommodate explananda that record errors of measurement.
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  12. L. R. Franklin-Hall, The Meta-Explanatory Question.
    Philosophical theories of explanation characterize the difference between correct and incorrect explanations. While remaining neutral as to which of these ‘first-order’ theories is right, this paper asks the ‘meta-explanatory’ question: is the difference between correct and incorrect explanation real, i.e., objective or mind-independent? After offering a framework for distinguishing realist from anti-realist views, I sketch three distinct paths to explanatory anti-realism.
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  13. L. R. Franklin-Hall (forthcoming). New Mechanistic Explanation and the Need for Explanatory Constraints. In Ken Aizawa & Carl Gillett (eds.), Scientific Composition and Metaphysical Ground. Palgrave
    This paper critiques the new mechanistic explanatory program on grounds that, even when applied to the kinds of examples that it was originally designed to treat, it does not distinguish correct explanations from those that blunder. First, I offer a systematization of the explanatory account, one according to which explanations are mechanistic models that satisfy three desiderata: they must 1) represent causal relations, 2) describe the proper parts, and 3) depict the system at the right ‘level.’ Second, I argue that (...)
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  14. S. T. Goh (1970). The Logic of Explanation in Anthropology. Inquiry 13 (1-4):339 – 359.
    This paper is about the problem of explanation in anthropology. There are, broadly speaking, three theories of explanation, namely, the scientific theory, the historical theory, and finally what I have decided to call the phenomenological theory, after M. Natanson. The author argues that none of the three theories is adequate by itself to encompass the complex nature of anthropological science. The three theories correspond roughly to at least three different types of questions raised by anthropologists, and this being the case (...)
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  15. Attila Grandpierre (2011). The Biological Principle of Natural Sciences and the Logos of Life of Natural Philosophy: A Comparison and the Perspectives of Unifying the Science and Philosophy of Life. Analecta Husserliana 110 (Part II):711-727.
    Acknowledging that Nature is one unified whole, we expect that physics and biology are intimately related. Keeping in mind that physics became an exact science with which we are already familiar with, while, apparently, we do not have at present a similar knowledge about biology, we consider how can we make useful the clarity of physics to shed light to biology. The next question will be what are the most basic categories of physics and biology. If we do not want (...)
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  16. Stephan Hartmann (2001). Effective Field Theories, Reductionism and Scientific Explanation. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B 32 (2):267-304.
    Effective field theories have been a very popular tool in quantum physics for almost two decades. And there are good reasons for this. I will argue that effective field theories share many of the advantages of both fundamental theories and phenomenological models, while avoiding their respective shortcomings. They are, for example, flexible enough to cover a wide range of phenomena, and concrete enough to provide a detailed story of the specific mechanisms at work at a given energy scale. So will (...)
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  17. Stephan Hartmann & Jonah N. Schupbach (2010). Review of Michael Strevens, Depth: An Account of Scientific Explanation. [REVIEW] Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2010 (6).
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  18. Richard Healey (2013). How Quantum Theory Helps Us Explain. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science (1):axt031.
    I offer an account of how the quantum theory we have helps us explain so much. The account depends on a pragmatist interpretation of the theory: this takes a quantum state to serve as a source of sound advice to physically situated agents on the content and appropriate degree of belief about matters concerning which they are currently inevitably ignorant. The general account of how to use quantum states and probabilities to explain otherwise puzzling regularities is then illustrated by showing (...)
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  19. Carl Hempel (1965). Aspects of Scientific Explanation and Other Essays in the Philosophy of Science. The Free Press.
  20. C. S. Jenkins (2008). Romeo, René, and the Reasons Why: What Explanation Is. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 108 (1part1):61-84.
  21. Kareem Khalifa (2011). Contrastive Explanations as Social Accounts. Social Epistemology 24 (4):263-284.
    Explanatory contrastivists hold that we often explain phenomena of the form p rather than q. In this paper, I present a new, social‐epistemological model of contrastive explanation—accountabilism. Specifically, my view is inspired by social‐scientific research that treats explanations fundamentally as accounts; that is, communicative actions that restore one's social status when charged with questionable behaviour. After developing this model, I show how accountabilism provides a more comprehensive model of contrastive explanation than the causal models of contrastive explanation that are currently (...)
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  22. Arnon Levy & William Bechtel (2013). Abstraction and the Organization of Mechanisms. Philosophy of Science 80 (2):241-261.
  23. Michael Lissack & Abraham Graber (eds.) (2014). Modes of Explanation: Affordances for Action and Prediction. Palgrave.
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  24. Tania Lombrozo (2011). The Instrumental Value of Explanations. Philosophy Compass 6 (8):539-551.
    Scientific and ‘intuitive’ or ‘folk’ theories are typically characterized as serving three critical functions: prediction, explanation, and control. While prediction and control have clear instrumental value, the value of explanation is less transparent. This paper reviews an emerging body of research from the cognitive sciences suggesting that the process of seeking, generating, and evaluating explanations in fact contributes to future prediction and control, albeit indirectly by facilitating the discovery and confirmation of instrumentally valuable theories. Theoretical and empirical considerations also suggest (...)
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  25. C. Mantzavinos (2015). Scientific Explanation. In International Encyclopedia of Social and Behavioral Sciences. Elsevier 302-307.
    There are three main approaches to scientific explanation in the philosophical literature. The unification approach claims that science explains by fitting the particular facts and events within a general theoretical framework. The mechanistic approach claims that science explains by identifying mechanisms. According to the manipulationist approach an explanation ought to be such that it can be used to answer a “what-if-things-had-been-different question.” The article examines whether these three approaches are compatible or not in the case of the social sciences, and (...)
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  26. C. Mantzavinos (2013). Explanatory Games. Journal of Philosophy (November 2013):606-632.
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  27. Timothy McCarthy (1977). On an Aristotelian Model of Scientific Explanation. Philosophy of Science 44 (1):159-166.
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  28. Adam Morton (1990). Mathematical Modelling and Contrastive Explanation. Canadian Journal of Philosophy 20 (Supplement):251-270.
    Mathematical models provide explanations of limited power of specific aspects of phenomena. One way of articulating their limits here, without denying their essential powers, is in terms of contrastive explanation.
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  29. Andrés Páez (2008). Explicaciones Científicas y No Científicas: El Problema de la Demarcación. In Juan José Botero, Álvaro Corral, Carlos Cardona & Douglas Niño (eds.), Memorias del Primer Congreso Colombiano de Filosofía. Volumen II. Universidad Jorge Tadeo Lozano 269-282.
    ¿Existe alguna diferencia filosóficamente significativa entre una explicación científica y las explicaciones que se ofrecen en el curso de la vida diaria? Dado que la mayor parte de las discusiones en la filosofía de la ciencia se refieren al primer tipo de explicaciones, debemos considerar si existe un concepto específico que corresponda al término “explicación científica”, y que sea discontinuo de su contraparte cotidiana. El ensayo tiene cuatro secciones. En cada una de ellas considero diferentes criterios que podrían ser utilizados (...)
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  30. Andrés Páez (2006). Esbozo de una teoría pragmatista de la explicación científica. In José Ahumada, Marzio Pantalone & Víctor Rodríguez (eds.), Epistemología e Historia de la Ciencia. Selección de Trabajos de las XVI Jornadas. Universidad Nacional de Córdoba 451-457.
    El ensayo presenta el esbozo de una teoría de la explicación basada en el modelo duda-creencia de investigación propuesto por Peirce y desarrollado por Isaac Levi. Inicialmente se caracteriza una noción de explicación que hace referencia a las creencias y fines epistémicos de los miembros de una comunidad científica. Posteriormente se demuestra que la inclusión de los aspectos pragmáticos de la explicación en la teoría no sólo no conduce al relativismo, sino que es necesaria para poder dar cuenta de la (...)
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  31. Andrés Páez (2004). Explicación, Comprensión e Interpretación. In Carlos B. Gutiérrez (ed.), No hay hechos, sólo interpre­taciones. Ediciones Uniandes pp. 347-372.
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  32. Seungbae Park (2014). A Pessimistic Induction Against Scientific Antirealism. Organon F: Medzinárodný Časopis Pre Analytickú Filozofiu 21 (1):3-21.
    There are nine antirealist explanations of the success of science in the literature. I raise difficulties against all of them except the latest one, and then construct a pessimistic induction that the latest one will turn out to be problematic because its eight forerunners turned out to be problematic. This pessimistic induction is on a par with the traditional pessimistic induction that successful present scientific theories will be revealed to be false because successful past scientific theories were revealed to be (...)
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  33. Seungbae Park (2014). The Doxastic Requirement of Scientific Explanation and Understanding. Prolegomena 13 (2):279-290.
    Van Fraassen (1980) and Winther (2009) claim that we can explain phenomena in terms of scientific theories without believing that they are true. I argue that we ought to believe that they are true in order to use them to explain and understand phenomena. A scientific antirealist who believes that scientific theories are merely empirically adequate cannot use them to explain or to understand phenomena. The mere belief that they are empirically adequate produces neither explanation nor understanding of phenomena. Explanation (...)
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  34. Lydia Patton (2010). Scientific Understanding. [REVIEW] Isis: A Journal of the History of Science 101 (4):932-933..
    In _Aspects of Scientific Explanation_ (New York, 1965), Carl Hempel argued that the philosophy of science should focus on objectivist explanation and should not incorporate an account of pragmatic or subjective understanding. The stated aim of this collection of essays is to argue against Hempel's objectivist view by arguing for incorporating accounts of understanding into the philosophy of science and by giving a substantive account of the role of understanding in modeling and in scientific practice. The volume is ambitious and (...)
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  35. Johannes Persson (2012). Mechanistic Explanation in Social Contexts: Elster and the Problem of Local Scientific Growth. Social Epistemology 26 (1):105-114.
    Jon Elster worries about the explanatory power of the social sciences. His main concern is that they have so few well-established laws. Elster develops an interesting substitute: a special kind of mechanism designed to fill the explanatory gap between laws and mere description. However, his mechanisms suffer from a characteristic problem that I will explore in this article. As our causal knowledge of a specific problem grows we might come to know too much to make use of an Elsterian mechanism (...)
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  36. Johannes Persson (2011). Explanation in Metaphysics? Metaphysica 12 (2):165-181.
    Arguments from explanation, i.e. arguments in which the explanatory value of a hypothesis or premise is appealed to, are common in science, and explanatory considerations are becoming more popular in metaphysics. The paper begins by arguing that explanatory arguments in science—even when these are metaphysical explanations— may fail to be explanatory in metaphysics; there is a distinction to be drawn between metaphysical explanation and explanation in metaphysics. This makes it potentially problematic to deploy arguments from explanation in, for instance, metaphysics (...)
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  37. Alexander Reutlinger (2014). Why Is There Universal Macrobehavior? Renormalization Group Explanation as Noncausal Explanation. Philosophy of Science 81 (5):1157-1170.
    Renormalization group (RG) methods are an established strategy to explain how it is possible that microscopically different systems exhibit virtually the same macro behavior when undergoing phase-transitions. I argue – in agreement with Robert Batterman – that RG explanations are non-causal explanations. However, Batterman misidentifies the reason why RG explanations are non-causal: it is not the case that an explanation is non- causal if it ignores causal details. I propose an alternative argument, according to which RG explanations are non-causal explanations (...)
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  38. David-Hillel Ruben (2003, 2012). Explaining Explanation. Routledge; Paradigm Publishers.
    This book introduces readers to the topic of explanation. The insights of Plato, Aristotle, J.S. Mill and Carl Hempel are examined, and are used to argue against the view that explanation is merely a problem for the philosophy of science. Having established its importance for understanding knowledge in general, the book concludes with a bold and original explanation of explanation.
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  39. David-Hillel Ruben (2003). Explaining Explanation. Routledge.
    This book introduces readers to the topic of explanation. The insights of Plato, Aristotle, J.S. Mill and Carl Hempel are examined, and are used to argue against the view that explanation is merely a problem for the philosophy of science. Having established its importance for understanding knowledge in general, the book concludes with a bold and original explanation of explanation.
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  40. Juha Saatsi (forthcoming). On Explanations From 'Geometry of Motion'. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science:axw007.
    This paper examines explanations that turn on non-local geometrical facts about the space of possible configurations a system can occupy. I argue that it makes sense to contrast such explanations from "geometry of motion" with causal explanations. I also explore how my analysis of these explanations cuts across the distinction between kinematics and dynamics.
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  41. Michael J. Shaffer (2012). Counterfactuals and Scientific Realism. Palgrave MacMillan.
    This book is a sustained defense of the compatibility of the presence of idealizations in the sciences and scientific realism. So, the book is essentially a detailed response to the infamous arguments raised by Nancy Cartwright to the effect that idealization and scientific realism are incompatible.
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  42. Iulian D. Toader (2011). Objectivity Sans Intelligibility. Hermann Weyl's Symbolic Constructivism. Dissertation, University of Notre Dame
  43. Achille C. Varzi (2014). Because. In Anne Reboul (ed.), Mind, Values, and Metaphysics. Philosophical Essays in Honor of Kevin Mulligan, Volume 1. Springer-Verlag 253–256.
    There is a natural philosophical impulse (and, correspondingly, a great deal of pressure) to always ask for explanations, for example, explanations of why we act as we do. Kevin Mulligan has gone a very long way in disentangling the many different because’s, and the many senses of ‘because’, that tend to clutter our efforts to manage that impulse. This short dialogue is meant as a humble tribute to his work in this area.
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  44. Caren M. Walker, Tania Lombrozo, Cristine H. Legare & Alison Gopnik (2014). Explaining Prompts Children to Privilege Inductively Rich Properties. Cognition 133 (2):343-357.
    Two studies examined the specificity of effects of explanation on learning by prompting 3- to 6-year-old children to explain a mechanical toy and comparing what they learned about the toy’s causal and non-causal properties to children who only observed the toy, both with and without accompanying verbalization. In Study 1, children were experimentally assigned to either explain or observe the mechanical toy. In Study 2, children were classified according to whether the content of their response to an undirected prompt involved (...)
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  45. Jonathan Waskan (2011). Mechanistic Explanation at the Limit. Synthese 183 (3):389-408.
    Resurgent interest in both mechanistic and counterfactual theories of explanation has led to a fair amount of discussion regarding the relative merits of these two approaches. James Woodward is currently the pre-eminent counterfactual theorist, and he criticizes the mechanists on the following grounds: Unless mechanists about explanation invoke counterfactuals, they cannot make sense of claims about causal interactions between mechanism parts or of causal explanations put forward absent knowledge of productive mechanisms. He claims that these shortfalls can be offset if (...)
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  46. Jonathan Waskan (2008). Knowledge of Counterfactual Interventions Through Cognitive Models of Mechanisms. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 22 (3):259 – 275.
    Here I consider the relative merits of two recent models of explanation, James Woodward's interventionist-counterfactual model and the model model. According to the former, explanations are largely constituted by information about the consequences of counterfactual interventions. Problems arise for this approach because countless relevant interventions are possible in most cases and because it overlooks other kinds of equally relevant information. According the model model, explanations are largely constituted by cognitive models of actual mechanisms. On this approach, explanations tend not to (...)
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  47. Cory D. Wright (2015). The Ontic Conception of Scientific Explanation. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 54:20-30.
    Wesley Salmon’s version of the ontic conception of explanation is a main historical root of contemporary work on mechanistic explanation. This paper examines and critiques the philosophical merits of Salmon’s version, and argues that his conception’s most fundamental construct is either fundamentally obscure, or else reduces to a non-ontic conception of explanation. Either way, the ontic conception is a misconception.
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  48. Cory D. Wright (2012). Mechanistic Explanation Without the Ontic Conception. European Journal of Philosophy of Science 2 (3):375-394.
    The ontic conception of scientific explanation has been constructed and motivated on the basis of a putative lexical ambiguity in the term explanation. I raise a puzzle for this ambiguity claim, and then give a deflationary solution under which all ontically-rendered talk of explanation is merely elliptical; what it is elliptical for is a view of scientific explanation that altogether avoids the ontic conception. This result has revisionary consequences for New Mechanists and other philosophers of science, many of whom have (...)
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  49. Raymond Aaron Younis (1995). Scientific and Religious Belief. [REVIEW] Metascience (8):142-147.