Contrastive Explanations as Social Accounts

Social Epistemology 24 (4):263-284 (2011)
Explanatory contrastivists hold that we often explain phenomena of the form p rather than q. In this paper, I present a new, social‐epistemological model of contrastive explanation—accountabilism. Specifically, my view is inspired by social‐scientific research that treats explanations fundamentally as accounts; that is, communicative actions that restore one's social status when charged with questionable behaviour. After developing this model, I show how accountabilism provides a more comprehensive model of contrastive explanation than the causal models of contrastive explanation that are currently en vogue.
Keywords explanation  contrast  social  accountability
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DOI 10.1080/02691728.2010.506960
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