David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Philosophy of Science 58 (4):687-697 (1991)
Alan Garfinkel (1981) and Bas van Fraassen (1980), among others, have proposed a contrastive theory of explanation, according to which the proper form of an explanatory why-question is not simply "Why P?" but "Why P rather than Q?". Dennis Temple (1988) has argued in this journal that the contrastive explanandum "P rather than Q" is equivalent to the conjunction, "P and not-Q". I show that the contrast is not equivalent to the conjunction, nor to other plausible noncontrastive candidates. I then consider David Lewis's (1986) proposal for the way contrasts determine an explanatory cause, which does not require recasting the contrastive explanandum. Lewis's proposal is found to be unacceptable, but it suggests an improvement that shows contrastive explanations to employ a mechanism of "causal triangulation", similar to Mill's method of difference.
|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
Sally Haslanger (forthcoming). What is a Structural Explanation? Philosophical Studies:1-18.
D. Benjamin Barros (2013). Negative Causation in Causal and Mechanistic Explanation. Synthese 190 (3):449-469.
Mark W. Risjord (2000). The Politics of Explanation and the Origins of Ethnography. Perspectives on Science 8 (1):29-52.
Jane Duran (1996). Explanation and Reference. Metaphilosophy 27 (3):302-310.
Similar books and articles
Arnold Chien (2008). Scalar Implicature and Contrastive Explanation. Synthese 161 (1):47 - 66.
Daniel Büring (2003). On D-Trees, Beans, and B-Accents. Linguistics and Philosophy 26 (5):511 - 545.
Jason Dickenson (2007). Reasons, Causes, and Contrasts. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 88 (1):1–23.
Joel Buenting (2010). An Epistemic Reduction of Contrastive Knowledge Claims. Social Epistemology 24 (2):99-104.
Jeff Kochan (2010). Contrastive Explanation and the 'Strong Programme' in the Sociology of Scientific Knowledge. Social Studies of Science 40 (1):127-44.
C. Hitchcock (1999). Contrastive Explanation and the Demons of Determinism. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 50 (4):585-612.
Philip Percival (2000). Lewis's Dilemma of Explanation Under Indeterminism Exposed and Resolved. Mind 109 (433):39-66.
Bruce Glymour (1998). Contrastive, Non-Probabilistic Statistical Explanations. Philosophy of Science 65 (3):448-471.
Asbjørn Steglich-Petersen (2012). Against the Contrastive Account of Singular Causation. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 63 (1):115-143.
Christopher Read Hitchcock (1996). The Role of Contrast in Causal and Explanatory Claims. Synthese 107 (3):395 - 419.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads81 ( #37,178 of 1,725,631 )
Recent downloads (6 months)4 ( #167,236 of 1,725,631 )
How can I increase my downloads?