What Should We Expect of a Theory of Explanation?

The purpose of this paper is to provide a meta-theoretic characterization of what ought to be expected of a general theory of explanation, a theory of scientific explanation, and a theory of a kind of explanation. The view presented, called "the logico-normative view", is taken to be implicit in the work of a number of influential writers on the subject, including Hempel. The paper falls into three parts. First, a number of pre-theoretic assumptions are articulated. Second, the two concerns of a general theory of explanation are discussed: (1) to answer a variety of questions pertaining to the nature of explanation and (2) to solve the normative problem for explanation. Finally, the three kinds of theories of explanation are distinguished in terms of the sorts of questions which they address.
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Frans Gregersen & Simo Køppe (1988). Against Epistemological Relativism. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 19 (4):447-487.

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