In Defense of Explanatory Ecumenicalism

Economics and Philosophy 8 (1):1--21 (1992)
Abstract
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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References found in this work BETA
Ned Block (1990). The Computer Model of Mind. In Daniel N. Osherson & Edward E. Smith (eds.), An Invitation to Cognitive Science. MIT Press.
Gregory Currie (1984). Individualism and Global Supervenience. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 35 (December):345-58.

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Citations of this work BETA
Angela Potochnik (2011). Explanation and Understanding. European Journal for Philosophy of Science 1 (1):29-38.
Michael Strevens (2013). No Understanding Without Explanation. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 44 (3):510-515.

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