David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
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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.”
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References found in this work BETA
Jon Elster (2012). Nuts and Bolts for the Social Sciences. Cambridge University Press.
David Lewis (1986). Philosophical Papers Vol. II. Oxford University Press.
Jon Elster (1983). Explaining Technical Change: A Case Study in the Philosophy of Science. Universitetsforlaget.
Philip Pettit (1993/1996). The Common Mind. Oxford University Press.
Frank Jackson & Philip Pettit (1990). Program Explanation: A General Perspective. Analysis 50 (2):107-17.
Citations of this work BETA
Christopher Clarke (forthcoming). The Explanatory Virtue of Abstracting Away From Idiosyncratic and Messy Detail. Philosophical Studies:1-21.
Michael Strevens (2013). No Understanding Without Explanation. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 44 (3):510-515.
Collin Rice (2015). Moving Beyond Causes: Optimality Models and Scientific Explanation. Noûs 49 (3):589-615.
Jim Woodward (2008). Response to Strevens. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 77 (1):193-212.
Patrick Forber (2010). Confirmation and Explaining How Possible. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 41 (1):32-40.
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