David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 62 (3):551-582 (2011)
In earlier work ( Cleland  , ), 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 I develop is a version of common cause explanation. Common cause explanation has long been vindicated by appealing to the principle of the common cause. Many philosophers of science (e.g., Sober and Tucker) find this principle problematic, however, because they believe that it is either purely methodological or strictly metaphysical. I defend a third possibility: the principle of the common cause derives its justification from a physically pervasive time asymmetry of causation (a.k.a. the asymmetry of overdetermination). I argue that explicating the principle of the common cause in terms of the asymmetry of overdetermination illuminates some otherwise puzzling features of the practices of historical natural scientists
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
Helen De Cruz & Johan De Smedt (2013). The Value of Epistemic Disagreement in Scientific Practice. The Case of Homo Floresiensis. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 44 (2):169-177.
Alan C. Love & Gary L. Lugar (2013). Dimensions of Integration in Interdisciplinary Explanations of the Origin of Evolutionary Novelty. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 44 (4):537-550.
Similar books and articles
Margaret Morrison (2006). Unification, Explanation and Explaining Unity: The Fisher–Wright Controversy. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 57 (1):233-245.
Carol E. Cleland (2002). Methodological and Epistemic Differences Between Historical Science and Experimental Science. Philosophy of Science 69 (3):447-451.
Carl Hammer (2008). Explication, Explanation, and History. History and Theory 47 (2):183–199.
John H. Zammito (2008). A Problem of Our Own Making: Roth on Historical Explanation. Journal of the Philosophy of History 2 (2):244-249.
Leon J. Goldstein (1962). Evidence and Events in History. Philosophy of Science 29 (2):175-194.
M. Norton Wise (2011). Science as (Historical) Narrative. Erkenntnis 75 (3):349-376.
A. Tucker (2011). Historical Science, Over- and Underdetermined: A Study of Darwin's Inference of Origins. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 62 (4):805-829.
Heather E. Douglas (2009). Reintroducing Prediction to Explanation. Philosophy of Science 76 (4):444-463.
Paul A. Roth (2008). Varieties and Vagaries of Historical Explanation. Journal of the Philosophy of History 2 (2):214-226.
Karsten R. Stueber (2012). Understanding Versus Explanation? How to Think About the Distinction Between the Human and the Natural Sciences. Inquiry 55 (1):17 - 32.
S. T. Goh (1970). The Logic of Explanation in Anthropology. Inquiry 13 (1-4):339 – 359.
Christopher Hitchcock (1998). The Common Cause Principle in Historical Linguistics. Philosophy of Science 65 (3):425-447.
M. Ross Quillian (1994). A Content-Independent Explanation of Sciences Effectiveness. Philosophy of Science 61 (3):429-448.
Eric C. Brook (2007). The Interrogative Model: Historical Inquiry and Explanation. Journal of the Philosophy of History 1 (2):137-159.
Added to index2011-02-26
Total downloads50 ( #38,104 of 1,410,230 )
Recent downloads (6 months)3 ( #68,075 of 1,410,230 )
How can I increase my downloads?