Scientific Explanation between Principle and Constructive Theories

Philosophy of Science 78 (5):989-1000 (2011)
Abstract
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 claim that the structural account of explanation (Hughes 1989b) captures the explanatory success of Special Relativity.
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    References found in this work BETA
    Yuri Balashov & Michel Janssen (2003). Review: Presentism and Relativity. [REVIEW] British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 54 (2):327-346.
    Mauro Dorato (2007). Relativity Theory Between Structural and Dynamical Explanations. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 21 (1):95 – 102.
    John Norton (2008). Why Constructive Relativity Fails. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 59 (4):821 - 834.
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