In Defense of Explanatory Ecumenicalism

Economics and Philosophy 8 (1):1--21 (1992)
Many of the things that we try to explain, in both our common sense and our scientific engagement with the world, are capable of being explained more or less finely: that is, with greater or lesser attention to the detail of the producing mechanism. A natural assumption, pervasive if not always explicit, is that other things being equal, the more finegrained an explanation, the better. Thus, Jon Elster, who also thinks there are instrumental reasons for wanting a more fine-grained explanation, assumes that in any case the mere fact of getting nearer the detail of production makes such an explanation intrinsically superior: “a more detailed explanation is also an end in itself” (Elster 1985, p. 5). Michael Taylor (1988, p. 96) agrees: “A good explanation should be, amongst other things, as fine-grained as possible.”
Keywords Methodology
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DOI 10.1017/S0266267100000468
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Michael Strevens (2013). No Understanding Without Explanation. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 44 (3):510-515.
Patrick Forber (2010). Confirmation and Explaining How Possible. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 41 (1):32-40.
Jim Woodward (2008). Response to Strevens. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 77 (1):193-212.
Jim Woodward (2008). Response to Strevens. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 77 (1):193-212.

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