David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Thinking and Reasoning 16 (3):233-250 (2011)
The discounting principle states that 'the role of a given cause in producing a given effect is discounted if other plausible causes are present' (Kelley, 1972, p. 8). The principle has only been tested with cases where the two explanations are of the same kind (i.e., causal explanations). However, explanations of properties of objects, people, or events often involve functions. Zebras have stripes in order to be better camouflaged. Humans have eyebrows to keep sweat from running into their eyes. Adrenaline is secreted in order to modulate fight and flight responses. Thus, what happens when we are faced with two different kinds of explanation for the same property: one functional and one causal? People evaluated explanations of properties for natural kinds and artefacts. Functional explanations were discounted in favour of causal explanations, however this was only true for properties of artefacts. The presence of an alternative explanation for properties of natural kinds did not affect the plausibility of either kind of explanation
|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
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Todd Jones (2008). Explanations of Social Phenomena: Competing and Complementary Accounts. Metaphilosophy 39 (4-5):621-650.
Peter McLaughlin (2001). What Functions Explain: Functional Explanation and Self-Reproducing Systems. Cambridge University Press.
Philippe Huneman (2010). Topological Explanations and Robustness in Biological Sciences. Synthese 177 (2):213-245.
Erik Weber & Robrecht Vanderbeeken (2005). The Functions of Intentional Explanations of Actions. Behavior and Philosophy 33 (1):1 - 16.
G. A. Cohen (1982). Functional Explanation, Consequence Explanation, and Marxism. Inquiry 25 (1):27 – 56.
Erik Weber, Jeroen Van Bouwel & Robrecht Vanderbeeken (2005). Forms of Causal Explanation. Foundations of Science 10 (4):437-454.
JeeLoo Liu (2001). A Nonreductionist's Solution to Kim's Explanatory Exclusion Problem. Manuscrito 24 (1):7-47.
Thomas Reydon (2009). How to Fix Kind Membership: A Problem for Hpc Theory and a Solution. Philosophy of Science 76 (5):724-736.
David Pineda (2011). Non-Committal Causal Explanations. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 24 (2):147-170.
Rob Vanderbeeken (2006). Can Intentional and Functional Explanations of Actions Coexist? The Proceedings of the Twenty-First World Congress of Philosophy 9:143-147.
Added to index2010-08-20
Total downloads23 ( #128,632 of 1,726,249 )
Recent downloads (6 months)1 ( #369,877 of 1,726,249 )
How can I increase my downloads?