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  1. Nomothetic Explanation and Humeanism About Laws of Nature.Harjit Bhogal - forthcoming - Oxford Studies in Metaphysics.
    Humeanism about laws of nature — the view that the laws reduce to the Humean mosaic — is a popular view, but currently existing versions face powerful objections. The non-supervenience objection, the non-fundamentality objection and the explanatory circularity objection have all been thought to cause problems for the Humean. However, these objections share a guiding thought — they are all based on the idea that there is a certain kind of divergence between the practice of science and the metaphysical picture (...)
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  2. Reply to Cartwright, Pemberton, Wieten: “Mechanisms, Laws and Explanation”.Beate Krickel - 2020 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 10 (3):1-9.
    Cartwright et al. in European Journal for Philosophy of Science, 10 and the new mechanists agree that regular behaviors described in cp laws are generated by mechanisms. However, there is disagreement with regard to the two questions that Cartwright at al. ask: the epistemological question and the ontological question. Most importantly, Cartwright et al. argue that the explanation involved is a CL-explanation, while the new mechanists insist that mechanistic explanation and CL-explanation are competitors. In this reply, I will highlight some (...)
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  3. Mathematical Explanation by Law.Sam Baron - 2019 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 70 (3):683-717.
    Call an explanation in which a non-mathematical fact is explained—in part or in whole—by mathematical facts: an extra-mathematical explanation. Such explanations have attracted a great deal of interest recently in arguments over mathematical realism. In this article, a theory of extra-mathematical explanation is developed. The theory is modelled on a deductive-nomological theory of scientific explanation. A basic DN account of extra-mathematical explanation is proposed and then redeveloped in the light of two difficulties that the basic theory faces. The final view (...)
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  4. The Narrow Ontic Counterfactual Account of Distinctively Mathematical Explanation.Mark Povich - 2019 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science:axz008.
    An account of distinctively mathematical explanation (DME) should satisfy three desiderata: it should account for the modal import of some DMEs; it should distinguish uses of mathematics in explanation that are distinctively mathematical from those that are not (Baron [2016]); and it should also account for the directionality of DMEs (Craver and Povich [2017]). Baron’s (forthcoming) deductive-mathematical account, because it is modelled on the deductive-nomological account, is unlikely to satisfy these desiderata. I provide a counterfactual account of DME, the Narrow (...)
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  5. Mechanisms, Ceteris Paribus Laws and Covering-Law Explanation.Nancy Cartwright, John Pemberton & Sarah Wieten - 2018 - Centre for Philosophy of Natural and Social Science, Lse.
  6. When Mechanisms Are Not Enough: The Origin of Eukaryotes and Scientific Explanation.Roger Deulofeu & Javier Suárez - 2018 - In Alexander Christian, David Hommen, Gerhard Schurz & N. Retzlaff (eds.), Philosophy of Science. European Studies in Philosophy of Science, vol 9. Dordrecht, Netherlands: pp. 95-115.
    The appeal to mechanisms in scientific explanation is commonplace in contemporary philosophy of science. In short, mechanists argue that an explanation of a phenomenon consists of citing the mechanism that brings the phenomenon about. In this paper, we present an argument that challenges the universality of mechanistic explanation: in explanations of the contemporary features of the eukaryotic cell, biologists appeal to its symbiogenetic origin and therefore the notion of symbiogenesis plays the main explanatory role. We defend the notion that symbiogenesis (...)
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  7. Revisiting Hempel’s 1942 Contribution to the Philosophy of History.Fons Dewulf - 2018 - Journal of the History of Ideas 79 (3):385-406.
    This paper situates Carl Hempel's 1942 paper "The Function of General Laws in History" within a broader debate over the philosophy of history in American academia between 1935 and 1943. I argue that Hempel's paper was directed against German neo-Kantianism, and show how the German debate over historiography continued between 1939 and 1943 in the context of New York through the contributions of German philosophers who operated in the same intellectual network as Hempel, namely Paul Oskar Kristeller and Edgar Zilsel. (...)
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  8. The Nonmechanistic Option: Defending Dynamical Explanation.Russell Meyer - 2018 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science:0-0.
    This paper demonstrates that nonmechanistic, dynamical explanations are a viable approach to explanation in the special sciences. The claim that dynamical models can be explanatory without reference to mechanisms has previously been met with three lines of criticism from mechanists: the causal relevance concern, the genuine laws concern, and the charge of predictivism. I argue, however, that these mechanist criticisms fail to defeat nonmechanistic, dynamical explanation. Using the examples of Haken et al.’s ([1985]) HKB model of bimanual coordination, and Thelen (...)
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  9. Minimal Models and the Generalized Ontic Conception of Scientific Explanation.Mark Povich - 2018 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 69 (1):117-137.
    Batterman and Rice ([2014]) argue that minimal models possess explanatory power that cannot be captured by what they call ‘common features’ approaches to explanation. Minimal models are explanatory, according to Batterman and Rice, not in virtue of accurately representing relevant features, but in virtue of answering three questions that provide a ‘story about why large classes of features are irrelevant to the explanandum phenomenon’ ([2014], p. 356). In this article, I argue, first, that a method (the renormalization group) they propose (...)
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  10. Grounding and the Explanatory Role of Generalizations.Stefan Roski - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (8):1985-2003.
    According to Hempel’s influential theory of explanation, explaining why some a is G consists in showing that the truth that a is G follows from a law-like generalization to the effect that all Fs are G together with the initial condition that a is F. While Hempel’s overall account is now widely considered to be deeply flawed, the idea that some generalizations play the explanatory role that the account predicts is still often endorsed by contemporary philosophers of science. This idea, (...)
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  11. Philosophy, Certainty and Semantic Stretch.Michaelis Michael - 2017 - Australasian Philosophical Review 1 (3):281-290.
    ABSTRACTLloyd encourages us to look anew at philosophy and science by using a comparative methodology, comparing the familiar Western form of philosophy, for example, with the forms found in ancient China. Taking lessons from comparative biology, this paper attempts to show that such comparison can only take place when we understand what we are looking at in the familiar case. The question of the centrality of the drive for certainty is addressed. Why has certainty been so attractive and what does (...)
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  12. Time Enough for Explanation.Sam Baron & Mark Colyvan - 2016 - Journal of Philosophy 113 (2):61-88.
    The present paper advances an analogy between cases of extra-mathematical explanation and cases of what might be termed ‘extra-logical explanation’: the explanation of a physical fact by a logical fact. A particular case of extra-logical explanation is identified that arises in the philosophical literature on time travel. This instance of extra-logical explanation is subsequently shown to be of a piece with cases of extra-mathematical explanation. Using this analogy, we argue extra-mathematical explanation is part of a broader class of non-causal explanation. (...)
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  13. Thomas Reid on Causation and Scientific Explanation.Manuel Barrantes & Juan Manuel Durán - 2016 - Journal of Scottish Philosophy 14 (1):51-67.
    We argue that there is no tension between Reid's description of science and his claim that science is based on the principles of common sense. For Reid, science is rooted in common sense since it is based on the idea that fixed laws govern nature. This, however, does not contradict his view that the scientific notions of causation and explanation are fundamentally different from their common sense counterparts. After discussing these points, we dispute with Cobb's and Benbaji's interpretations of Reid's (...)
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  14. How Do We Have to Investigate Scientific Explanation?Erik Weber, Leen De Vreese & Jeroen Van Bouwel - 2016 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 78 (3):489-524.
    This paper investigates the working-method of three important philosophers of explanation: Carl Hempel, Philip Kitcher, and Wesley Salmon. We argue that they do three things: construct an explication in the sense of Carnap, which then is used as a tool to make descriptive and normative claims about the explanatory practice of scientists. We also show that they did well with respect to, but that they failed to give arguments for their descriptive and normative claims. We think it is the responsibility (...)
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  15. The Deductive-Nomological Account of Metaphysical Explanation.Tobias Wilsch - 2016 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 94 (1):1-23.
    The paper explores a deductive-nomological account of metaphysical explanation: some truths metaphysically explain, or ground, another truth just in case the laws of metaphysics determine the latter truth on the basis of the former. I develop and motivate a specific conception of metaphysical laws, on which they are general rules that regulate the existence and features of derivative entities. I propose an analysis of the notion of ‘determination via the laws’, based on a restricted form of logical entailment. I argue (...)
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  16. On the Supposed Explanatory Heteronomy of Functional Biology.Gustavo Caponi - 2015 - Scientiae Studia 13 (3):547-575.
    RESUMENSegún un punto de vista muy difundido, y alineado con la concepción nómica de la explicación causal, la biología funcional está sometida a un régimen de heteronomía explicativa en cuyo marco los fenómenos orgánicos deben explicarse causalmente recurriendo a leyes oriundas de la física y la química. En contra de esa perspectiva, la concepción experimental de la causación permite entender la naturaleza de muchas explicaciones biológicas que, sin hacer referencia a leyes causales - físicas, químicas o de cualquier otra naturaleza (...)
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  17. A Mechanistic Framework for Darwinism or Why Fodor’s Objection Fails.Fermín Fulda - 2015 - Synthese 192 (1):163-183.
    Fodor argue that Darwinism cannot be true on the grounds that there are no laws of selection to support counterfactuals about why traits are selected-for. Darwinian explanations, according to this objection, amount to mere ‘plausible historical narratives’. I argue that the objection is predicated on two problematic assumptions: A nomic-subsumption account of causation and causal explanation, and a fine-grained view of the individuation of selected-for effects. Against the former, I argue that Darwinian explanations are a historical species of mechanistic explanation (...)
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  18. Scientific W-Explanation as Ampliative, Specialized Embedding: A Neo-Hempelian Account.José Díez - 2014 - Erkenntnis 79 (S8):1413-1443.
    The goal of this paper is to present and defend an empiricist, neo-Hempelian account of scientific explanation as ampliative, specialized embedding. The proposal aims to preserve what I take to be the core of Hempel’s empiricist account, by weakening it in some respects and strengthening it in others, introducing two new conditions that solve most of Hempel’s problems without abandoning his empiricist strictures. According to this proposal, to explain a phenomenon is to make it expectable by introducing new conceptual/ontological machinery (...)
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  19. Hempel, Carnap, and the Covering Law Model.Erich H. Reck - 2013 - In Nikolay Milkov & Volker Peckhaus (eds.), The Berlin Group and the Philosophy of Logical Empiricism. Springer. pp. 311--324.
  20. A Synthesis of Hempelian and Hypothetico-Deductive Confirmation.Jan Sprenger - 2013 - Erkenntnis 78 (4):727-738.
    This paper synthesizes confirmation by instances and confirmation by successful predictions, and thereby the Hempelian and the hypothetico-deductive traditions in confirmation theory. The merger of these two approaches is subsequently extended to the piecemeal confirmation of entire theories. It is then argued that this synthetic account makes a useful contribution from both a historical and a systematic perspective.
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  21. The (Hopefully) Last Stand of the Covering-Law Theory: A Reply to Opp.Petri Ylikoski - 2013 - Social Science Information 52 (3):383-393.
    In his paper Karl-Dieter Opp heroically sets out to defend both the adequacy and socio- logical fruitfulness of the covering-law account of explanation (the HO scheme). The attempt is bold, as he is not only defending the HO scheme as a theory of explanation but also as a scheme for finding and establishing causal relationships. In this reply I argue that the defense is not successful; quite the contrary, it clearly demonstrates why mecha- nism-based reasoning is important in the social (...)
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  22. Explanation in Biology: Reduction, Pluralism, and Explanatory Aims.Ingo Brigandt - 2011 - Science & Education 22 (1):69-91.
    This essay analyzes and develops recent views about explanation in biology. Philosophers of biology have parted with the received deductive-nomological model of scientific explanation primarily by attempting to capture actual biological theorizing and practice. This includes an endorsement of different kinds of explanation (e.g., mathematical and causal-mechanistic), a joint study of discovery and explanation, and an abandonment of models of theory reduction in favor of accounts of explanatory reduction. Of particular current interest are philosophical accounts of complex explanations that appeal (...)
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  23. In Defense of a Causal Requirement on Explanation.Garrett Pendergraft - 2011 - In Phyllis McKay Illari Federica Russo (ed.), Causality in the Sciences. Oxford University Press. pp. 470.
    Causalists about explanation claim that to explain an event is to provide information about the causal history of that event. Some causalists also endorse a proportionality claim, namely that one explanation is better than another insofar as it provides a greater amount of causal information. In this chapter I consider various challenges to these causalist claims. There is a common and influential formulation of the causalist requirement – the ‘Causal Process Requirement’ – that does appear vulnerable to these anti-causalist challenges, (...)
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  24. Nagelian Reduction Beyond the Nagel Model.Raphael van Riel - 2011 - Philosophy of Science 78 (3):353-375.
    Nagel’s official model of theory-reduction and the way it is represented in the literature are shown to be incompatible with the careful remarks on the notion of reduction Nagel gave while developing his model. Based on these remarks, an alternative model is outlined which does not face some of the problems the official model faces. Taking the context in which Nagel developed his model into account, it is shown that the way Nagel shaped his model and, thus, its well-known deficiencies, (...)
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  25. Contrastive Explanations as Social Accounts.Kareem Khalifa - 2010 - Social Epistemology 24 (4):263-284.
    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 (...)
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  26. Explanatory Depth.Brad Weslake - 2010 - Philosophy of Science 77 (2):273-294.
    I defend an account of explanatory depth according to which explanations in the non-fundamental sciences can be deeper than explanations in fundamental physics.
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  27. Logical Empiricism and Logical Positivism.Krzysztof Brzechczyn - 2009 - In Aviezer Tucker (ed.), A Companion to the Philosophy of History and Historiography. Wiley-Blackwell.
  28. Scientific Explanation.Carl Hempel - 2009 - In Timothy J. McGrew, Marc Alspector-Kelly & Fritz Allhoff (eds.), The Philosophy of Science: An Historical Anthology. Wiley-Blackwell. pp. 344.
  29. The Deductive-Nomological Model of Explanation of CG Hempel and the Explanation in Human Sciences.Adam Wlodarczyk - 2009 - Filozofia Nauki 17 (4):11.
  30. Mechanistic Explanation Versus Deductive-Nomological Explanation.F. Michael Akeroyd - 2008 - Foundations of Chemistry 10 (1):39-48.
    This paper discusses the important paper by Paul Thagard on the pathway version of mechanistic explanation that is currently used in chemical explanation. The author claims that this method of explanation has a respectable pedigree and can be traced back to the Chemical Revolution in the arguments used by the Lavoisier School in their theoretical duels with Richard Kirwan, the proponent of a revised phlogistonian theory. Kirwan believed that complex chemical reactions could be explained by recourse to affinity tables that (...)
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  31. Scientific Law: On the History of One Concept (CG Hempel).Igor Hanzel - 2007 - Filozofia 62 (9):801-812.
    The aim of this paper is to show the incompleteness of the exclusively logico-syntactical and logico-semantical approaches to one of the core issues of philosophy of science, namely, scientific laws and scientific explanation in C. G. Hempel’s works. I start with a brief exposition of the main characteristics of Hempel’s approach to deductive explanations based on universal scientific laws and then analyze the problems and paradoxes inherent in this approach. Next, I trace these characteristics back to Hempel’s and Carnap’s attempts (...)
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  32. Rethinking Explanation.Johannes Persson & Petri Ylikoski (eds.) - 2007 - Springer.
    This book highlights some of the conceptual problems that still need to be solved and points out a number of fresh philosophical ideas to explore.
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  33. Past and Contemporary Perspectives on Explanation.Stathis Psillos - 2007 - In Theo A. F. Kuipers (ed.), General Philosophy of Science. North Holland. pp. 2007--97.
  34. Selection and Explanation.Alexander Bird - 2006 - In Rethinking Explanation. Springer. pp. 131--136.
    Selection explanations explain some non-accidental generalizations in virtue of a selection process. Such explanations are not particulaizable - they do not transfer as explanations of the instances of such generalizations. This is unlike many explanations in the physical sciences, where the explanation of the general fact also provides an explanation of its instances (i.e. standard D-N explanations). Are selection explanations (e.g. in biology) therefore a different kind of explanation? I argue that to understand this issue, we need to see that (...)
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  35. Can There Be a Philosophy of Archaeology?William Harvey Krieger - 2006 - Lexington Books.
  36. Explanation and Metaphysics.Alexander Bird - 2005 - Synthese 143 (1-2):89-107.
    Is the nature of explanation a metaphysical issue? Or has it more to do with psychology and pragmatics? To put things in a different way: what are primary relata in an explanation? What sorts of thing explain what other sorts of thing? David Lewis identifies two senses of ‘explanation’ (Lewis 1986, 217–218). In the first sense, an explanation is an act of explaining. I shall call this the subjectivist sense, since its existence depends on some subject doing the explaining. Hence (...)
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  37. Regularities and Causality; Generalizations and Causal Explanations.Jim Bogen - 2005 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 36 (2):397-420.
    Machamer, Darden, and Craver argue that causal explanations explain effects by describing the operations of the mechanisms which produce them. One of this paper’s aims is to take advantage of neglected resources of Mechanism to rethink the traditional idea that actual or counterfactual natural regularities are essential to the distinction between causal and non-causal co-occurrences, and that generalizations describing natural regularities are essential components of causal explanations. I think that causal productivity and regularity are by no means the same thing, (...)
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  38. Suppositional Reasoning in Scientific Explanations.Avital Pilpel - 2005 - Dissertation, Columbia University
    To suppose X means to pretend to change one's belief for the sake of the argument to include X. How to do so is a decision problem: of the many ways to modify one's beliefs to include X, one should choose the one that best fits with one's epistemic goals. I examine the role of suppositional reasoning in the evaluation of purported scientific explanations of various sorts, based on Hempel and Oppenheim's deductive-nomological and inductive-statistical explanations. First, I present for each (...)
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  39. Scientific Explanation: Conclusiveness Conditions on Explanation-Seeking Questions.Matti Sintonen - 2005 - Synthese 143 (1-2):179 - 205.
  40. The Third Dogma Revisited.Petri Ylikoski - 2005 - Foundations of Science 10 (4):395–419.
    This paper is an attempt to further our understanding of mechanisms conceived of as ontologically separable from laws. What opportunities are there for a mechanistic perspective to be independent of, or even more fundamental than, a law perspective? Advocates of the mechanistic view often play with the possibility of internal and external reliability, or with the paralleling possibilities of enforcing, counteracting, redirecting, etc., the mechanisms’ power to produce To further this discussion I adopt a trope ontology. It is independent of (...)
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  41. Models of Intentional Explanation.Robrecht Vanderbeeken - 2004 - Philosophical Explorations 7 (3):233 – 246.
    The controversy about intentional explanation of action concerns how these explanations work. What kind of model allows us to capture the dependency or relevance relation between the explanans, i.e. the beliefs and desires of the agent, and the explanandum, i.e. the action? In this paper, I argue that the causal mechanical model can do the job. Causal mechanical intentional explanations consist in a reference to the mechanisms of practical reasoning of the agent that motivated the agent to act, i.e. to (...)
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  42. Theorizing the World: How Explanations Reveal Reality.Dien Ho - 2003 - Dissertation, City University of New York
    Theorizing the World argues that explanations play a central role in our theoretical understanding of the world. Explanations explain in virtue of subsuming what is to be explained under the appropriate projectable regularities. My epistemological account of explanation differs from traditional views in understanding subsumption as a far more complex relation. When a projectable regularity explains, it both confirms its corresponding background theories and draws explanatory strength from them at the same time. The failure of the standard models of explanation, (...)
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  43. Probabilistically, Explaining Things.Wesley C. Salmon - 2003 - In Kyburg Jr, E. Henry & Mariam Thalos (eds.), Probability is the Very Guide of Life: The Philosophical Uses of Chance. Open Court.
  44. Explanations Are Like Salted Peanuts. Why You Can't Cut the Route Toward Further Reduction.Daniel Cohnitz - 2002 - In A. Beckermann & C. Nimtz (eds.), Argument und Analyse: Proceedings of GAP4. Mentis.
    Take a look at these four situations: Figure 1 All of these situations have certain features in common: in all of them an explanation is asked for, in all of them an explanation is given, and all these explanations are literally false (although in different ways).
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  45. The Modern History of Scientific Explanation.Gary Hardcastle - 2002 - Vienna Circle Institute Yearbook 9:137-145.
    To be a philosopher of science means, among other things, to have an account of what scientific explanation is, or, at the very least, to have a response to various accounts of scientific explanation on offer from other philosophies of science while earnestly working toward what one hopes will be one’s own, original account. One presumption clearly and often lying behind such work is that science provides two kinds of knowledge. There is propositional knowledge, “knowledge that” or “knowledge what,” and (...)
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  46. La conception déductive de l'explication scientifique et l'économie.Philippe Mongin - 2002 - Social Science Information 41 (2):139-165.
    This essay presents and discusses the currently most famous among the deductive conceptions of explanation, i.e., the deductive-nomological one, and proceeds to apply it to microeconomic theory. After restating the basic ideas, the essay investigates some of the important objections raised against it, with a view to decide whether or not they invalidate the proposed application to economics.
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  47. James H. Fetzer , Science, Explanation, and Rationality: Aspects of the Philosophy of Carl G. Hempel. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000. Pp. Xxix+342. ISBN 0-19-512137-6. £37·50. [REVIEW]David Chart - 2001 - British Journal for the History of Science 34 (4):453-481.
  48. Einstein's Theory of Theories and Types of Theoretical Explanation.Francisco Flores - 1999 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 13 (2):123 – 134.
    In this paper I draw on Einstein's distinction between “principle” and “constructive” theories to isolate two levels of physical theory that can be found in both classical and (special) relativistic physics. I then argue that when we focus on theoretical explanations in physics, i.e. explanations of physical laws, the two leading views on explanation, Salmon's “bottom-up” view and Kitcher's “top-down” view, accurately describe theoretical explanations for a given level of theory. I arrive at this conclusion through an analysis of explanations (...)
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  49. Hempel, Explanation, Metaphysics.Jaegwon Kim - 1999 - Philosophical Studies 94 (1-2):1-20.
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  50. The Full Hempel. [REVIEW]Paul A. Roth - 1999 - History and Theory 38 (2):249-263.
    Book reviewed in this article: The Logic of Historical Explanation by Clayton Roberts.
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