David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 22 (3):259 – 275 (2008)
Here I consider the relative merits of two recent models of explanation, James Woodward's interventionist-counterfactual model and the model model. According to the former, explanations are largely constituted by information about the consequences of counterfactual interventions. Problems arise for this approach because countless relevant interventions are possible in most cases and because it overlooks other kinds of equally relevant information. According the model model, explanations are largely constituted by cognitive models of actual mechanisms. On this approach, explanations tend not to represent any of the aforementioned information explicitly but can instead be used to produce it on demand. The model model thus offers the more plausible account of the information of which we are aware when we have an explanation and of the ratiocinative process through which we derive many kinds of information that are relevant to the evaluation of explanations.
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