Knowledge of counterfactual interventions through cognitive models of mechanisms

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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DOI 10.1080/02698590802567308
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References found in this work BETA
Stuart Glennan (2002). Rethinking Mechanistic Explanation. Proceedings of the Philosophy of Science Association 2002 (3):S342-353.

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Citations of this work BETA
Cory D. Wright (2012). Mechanistic Explanation Without the Ontic Conception. European Journal of Philosophy of Science 2 (3):375-394.

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