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  1. Thomas Bartelborth (2002). Explanatory Unification. Synthese 130 (1):91 - 107.
    Explanations contribute to our understanding of the world byembedding phenomena into general nomic patterns that we recognize in the world. Manyof these patterns are, of course, causal ones, but the declaration as ``causal'' often fails to determinethe explanatory power of the pattern. More important is the systematization capacity and the empiricalcontent of the pattern or theory with respect to explanations. We can specify these parameters moreprecisely within the framework of the structuralist view of theories.
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  2. Nancy Cartwright (1980). The Truth Doesn't Explain Much. American Philosophical Quarterly 17 (2):159 - 163.
  3. Carla Fehr, Sex and Explanatory Pluralism: Is It a Case of Causal Mechanism Versus Unifying Theories of Explanation?
    There is more than one explanation for the evolution of sexual reproduction. This paper investigates the possibility that this pluralism exists because these different explanations rely on intuitions provided by different philosophical theories of explanation, namely unifying views and causal mechanical views. I conclude that this is not the case.
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  4. Richard Healey (2013). How Quantum Theory Helps Us Explain. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science: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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  5. Carl Hempel (1965). Aspects of Scientific Explanation and Other Essays in the Philosophy of Science. The Free Press.
  6. Todd Jones (1997). Unification, Reduction, and Non-Ideal Explanations. Synthese 112 (1):75-96.
    Kitcher's unification theory of explanation seems to suggest that only the most reductive accounts can legitimately be termed explanatory. This is not what we find in actual scientific practice. In this paper, I attempt to reconcile these ideas. I claim that Kitcher's theory picks out ideal explanations, but that our term explanation is used to cover other accounts that have a certain relationship with the ideal accounts. At times, versions and portions of ideal explanations can also be considered explanatory.
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  7. K. Karaca (2012). Kitcher's Explanatory Unification, Kaluza-Klein Theories, and the Normative Aspect of Higher Dimensional Unification in Physics. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 63 (2):287-312.
    I examine the relation between explanation and unification in both the original Kaluza–Klein theory, which originated in the works of Theodor Kaluza and Oskar Klein in the 1920s, and in the modern Kaluza–Klein theories which date back to the late 1970s and which are still considered by the majority of the physics community to be the best hope for a complete unified theory of all fundamental interactions. I use the conclusions of this case study to assess the merits of Philip (...)
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  8. 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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  9. Nicholas Maxwell, What’s Wrong With Aim-Oriented Empiricism?
    For four decades it has been argued that we need to adopt a new conception of science called aim-oriented empiricism. This has far-reaching implications and repercussions for science, the philosophy of science, academic inquiry in general, conception of rationality, and how we go about attempting to make progress towards as good a world as possible. Despite these far-reaching repercussions, aim-oriented empiricism has so far received scant attention from philosophers of science. Here, sixteen objections to the validity of the argument for (...)
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  10. 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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  11. Nicholas Maxwell, Non-Empirical Requirements Scientific Theories Must Satisfy: Simplicity, Unification, Explanation, Beauty. PhilSci Archive.
    A scientific theory, in order to be accepted as a part of theoretical scientific knowledge, must satisfy both empirical and non-empirical requirements, the latter having to do with simplicity, unity, explanatory character, symmetry, beauty. No satisfactory, generally accepted account of such non-empirical requirements has so far been given. Here, a proposal is put forward which, it is claimed, makes a contribution towards solving the problem. This proposal concerns unity of physical theory. In order to satisfy the non-empirical requirement of unity, (...)
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  12. Nicholas Maxwell (2000). The Mind-Body Problem and Explanatory Dualism. Philosophy 75 (291):49-71.
    An important part of the mind-brain problem arises because sentience and consciousness seem inherently resistant to scientific explanation and understanding. The solution to this dilemma is to recognize, first, that scientific explanation can only render comprehensible a selected aspect of what there is, and second, that there is a mode of explanation and understanding, the personalistic, quite different from, but just as viable as, scientific explanation. In order to understand the mental aspect of brain processes - that aspect we know (...)
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  13. Conor Mayo-Wilson (2011). The Problem of Piecemeal Induction. Philosophy of Science 78 (5):864-874.
    It is common to assume that the problem of induction arises only because of small sample sizes or unreliable data. In this paper, I argue that the piecemeal collection of data can also lead to underdetermination of theories by evidence, even if arbitrarily large amounts of completely reliable experimental and observational data are collected. Specifically, I focus on the construction of causal theories from the results of many studies (perhaps hundreds), including randomized controlled trials and observational studies, where the studies (...)
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  14. Jennifer Wilson Mulnix (2011). Explanatory Unification and Scientific Understanding. Acta Philosophica 20 (2):383 - 404.
    This paper represents a response to the criticisms made by Eric Barnes in “Explanatory Unification and the Problem of Asymmetry” and “Explanatory Unification and Scientific Understanding” against the thesis of Explanatory Unification. This paper responds to Barnes‟ two main criticisms, that of derivational skepticism and causal asymmetry, and successfully refutes his objections. This paper also defends the plausibility of the unificationist account of scientific explanation because of its ability to render coherent the notion of scientific understanding, focusing in particular on (...)
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  15. Garrett Pendergraft (2011). In Defense of a Causal Requirement on Explanation. In Phyllis McKay Illari Federica Russo (ed.), Causality in the Sciences. Oxford University Press. 470.
    Causalists about explanation claim that to explain an event is to provide information about the causal history of that event. Some causalists also endorse a proportionality claim, namely that one explanation is better than another insofar as it provides a greater amount of causal information. In this chapter I consider various challenges to these causalist claims. There is a common and influential formulation of the causalist requirement – the ‘Causal Process Requirement’ – that does appear vulnerable to these anti-causalist challenges, (...)
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  16. Joseph C. Pitt (ed.) (1988). Theories of Explanation. Oxford University Press.
    Since the publication of Carl Hempel and Paul Oppenheim's ground-breaking work "Studies in the Logic of Explanation," the theory of explanation has remained a major topic in the philosophy of science. This valuable collection provides readers with the opportunity to study some of the classic essays on the theory of explanation along with the best examples of the most recent work being done on the topic. In addition to the original Hempel and Oppenheim paper, the volume includes Scriven's critical reaction (...)
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  17. Henk W. De Regt & Dennis Dieks (2005). A Contextual Approach to Scientific Understanding. Synthese 144 (1):137 - 170.
    Achieving understanding of nature is one of the aims of science. In this paper we offer an analysis of the nature of scientific understanding that accords with actual scientific practice and accommodates the historical diversity of conceptions of understanding. Its core idea is a general criterion for the intelligibility of scientific theories that is essentially contextual: which theories conform to this criterion depends on contextual factors, and can change in the course of time. Our analysis provides a general account of (...)
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  18. Jeffrey W. Roland (2008). Kitcher and the Obsessive Unifier. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 77 (2):493-506.
    Philip Kitcher's account of scientific progress incorporates a conception of explanatory unification that invites the so-called 'obsessive unifier' worry, to wit, that in our drive to unify the phenomena we might impose artificial structure on the world and consequently produce an incorrect view of how things, in fact, are. I argue that Kitcher's attempt to address this worry is unsatisfactory because it relies on an ability to choose between rival patterns of explanation which itself rests on the relevant choice having (...)
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  19. Wesley C. Salmon (1985). Conflicting Conceptions of Scientific Explanation. Journal of Philosophy 82 (11):651-654.
  20. Michael Strevens (2004). The Causal and Unification Approaches to Explanation Unified—Causally. Noûs 38 (1):154–176.
    The two major modern accounts of explanation are the causal and unification accounts. My aim in this paper is to provide a kind of unification of the causal and the unification accounts, by using the central technical apparatus of the unification account to solve a central problem faced by the causal account, namely, the problem of determining which parts of a causal network are explanatorily relevant to the occurrence of an explanandum. The end product of my investigation is a causal (...)
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  21. Charles R. Twardy (2011). Local Complexity Adaptable Trajectory Partitioning Via Minimum Message Length. In 18th IEEE International Conference on Image Processing. IEEE.
    We present a minimum message length (MML) framework for trajectory partitioning by point selection, and use it to automatically select the tolerance parameter ε for Douglas-Peucker partitioning, adapting to local trajectory complexity. By examining a range of ε for synthetic and real trajectories, it is easy to see that the best ε does vary by trajectory, and that the MML encoding makes sensible choices and is robust against Gaussian noise. We use it to explore the identification of micro-activities within a (...)
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  22. Erik Weber & Jeroen Van Bouwel (2009). Causation, Unification, and the Adequacy of Explanations of Facts. THEORIA. An International Journal for Theory, History and Foundations of Science 24 (3):301-320.
    Pluralism with respect to the structure of explanations of facts is not uncommon. Wesley Salmon, for instance, distinguished two types of explanation: causal explanations (which provide insight in the causes of the fact we want to explain) and unification explanations (which fit the explanandum into a unified world view). The pluralism which Salmon and others have defended is compatible with several positions about the exact relation between these two types of explanations. We distinguish four such positions, and argue in favour (...)
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  23. Erik Weber, Jeroen Van Bouwel & Merel Lefevere (2012). The Role of Unification in Explanations of Facts. In Henk de Regt, Samir Okasha & Stephan Hartmann (eds.), EPSA Philosophy of Science: Amsterdam 2009. Springer.
    In the literature on scientific explanation, there is a classical distinction between explanations of facts and explanations of laws. This paper is about explanations of facts. Our aim is to analyse the role of unification in explanations of this kind. We discuss five positions with respect to this role, argue for two of them and refute the three others.
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  24. Erik Weber & Maarten Van Dyck (2002). Unification and Explanation. Synthese 131 (1):145 - 154.
    In this article we criticize two recent articles that examinethe relation between explanation and unification. Halonen and Hintikka (1999), on the one hand,claim that no unification is explanation. Schurz (1999), on the other hand, claims that all explanationis unification. We give counterexamples to both claims. We propose a pluralistic approach to the problem:explanation sometimes consists in unification, but in other cases different kinds of explanation(e.g., causal explanation) are required; and none of these kinds is more fundamental.
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