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  1. Axe the X in XAI: A Plea for Understandable AI.Andrés Páez - forthcoming - In Juan Manuel Durán & Giorgia Pozzi (eds.), Philosophy of science for machine learning: Core issues and new perspectives. Springer.
    In a recent paper, Erasmus et al. (2021) defend the idea that the ambiguity of the term “explanation” in explainable AI (XAI) can be solved by adopting any of four different extant accounts of explanation in the philosophy of science: the Deductive Nomological, Inductive Statistical, Causal Mechanical, and New Mechanist models. In this chapter, I show that the authors’ claim that these accounts can be applied to deep neural networks as they would to any natural phenomenon is mistaken. I also (...)
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  2. Mapping Explanatory Language in Neuroscience.Daniel Kostić & Willem Halffman - 2023 - Synthese 202 (112):1-27.
    The philosophical literature on scientific explanation in neuroscience has been dominated by the idea of mechanisms. The mechanist philosophers often claim that neuroscience is in the business of finding mechanisms. This view has been challenged in numerous ways by showing that there are other successful and widespread explanatory strategies in neuroscience. However, the empirical evidence for all these claims was hitherto lacking. Empirical evidence about the pervasiveness and uses of various explanatory strategies in neuroscience is particularly needed because examples and (...)
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  3. Structural explanations: impossibilities vs failures.Manuel Barrantes - 2023 - Synthese 201 (4):1-15.
    The bridges of Königsberg case has been widely cited in recent philosophical discussions on scientific explanation as a potential example of a structural explanation of a physical phenomenon. However, when discussing this case, different authors have focused on two different versions, depending on what they take the explanandum to be. In one version, the explanandum is the _failure_ of a given individual in performing an Eulerian walk over the bridge system. In the other version, the explanandum is the _impossibility_ of (...)
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  4. Explanation and the Right to Explanation.Elanor Taylor - 2023 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association 1:1-16.
    In response to widespread use of automated decision-making technology, some have considered a right to explanation. In this paper I draw on insights from philosophical work on explanation to present a series of challenges to this idea, showing that the normative motivations for access to such explanations ask for something difficult, if not impossible, to extract from automated systems. I consider an alternative, outcomes-focused approach to the normative evaluation of automated decision-making, and recommend it as a way to pursue the (...)
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  5. Explanatory Depth in Primordial Cosmology: A Comparative Study of Inflationary and Bouncing Paradigms.William J. Wolf & Karim P. Y. Thebault - forthcoming - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science.
    We develop and apply a multi-dimensional conception of explanatory depth towards a comparative analysis of inflationary and bouncing paradigms in primordial cosmology. Our analysis builds on earlier work due to Azhar and Loeb (2021) that establishes initial condition fine-tuning as a dimension of explanatory depth relevant to debates in contemporary cosmology. We propose dynamical fine-tuning and autonomy as two further dimensions of depth in the context of problems with instability and trans-Planckian modes that afflict bouncing and inflationary approaches respectively. In (...)
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  6. Understanding, Idealization, and Explainable AI.Will Fleisher - 2022 - Episteme 19 (4):534-560.
    Many AI systems that make important decisions are black boxes: how they function is opaque even to their developers. This is due to their high complexity and to the fact that they are trained rather than programmed. Efforts to alleviate the opacity of black box systems are typically discussed in terms of transparency, interpretability, and explainability. However, there is little agreement about what these key concepts mean, which makes it difficult to adjudicate the success or promise of opacity alleviation methods. (...)
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  7. A Scheme Foiled: A Critique of Baron's Account of Extra-mathematical Explanation.Mark Povich - 2023 - Mind 132 (526):479–492.
    Extra-mathematical explanations explain natural phenomena primarily by appeal to mathematical facts. Philosophers disagree about whether there are extra-mathematical explanations, the correct account of them if they exist, and their implications (e.g., for the philosophy of scientific explanation and for the metaphysics of mathematics) (Baker 2005, 2009; Bangu 2008; Colyvan 1998; Craver and Povich 2017; Lange 2013, 2016, 2018; Mancosu 2008; Povich 2019, 2020; Steiner 1978). In this discussion note, I present three desiderata for any account of extra-mathematical explanation and argue (...)
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  8. Margaret Morrison's Reconstructing Reality. [REVIEW]Alexander Reutlinger & Stephan Hartmann - 2016 - BJPS Review of Books 8.
    In her new book Reconstructing Reality (henceforth RR), Margaret Morrison’s main target is the kind of information about the world (or, more specifically, about physical and biological systems) one can extract from the ‘reconstructive methods and practices of science’ (p. 1). To address this, Morrison focuses on three central kinds of interrelated strategies for ‘recasting nature’ (p. 2) by using reconstructive methods and practices: (i) abstract mathematical explanations and understanding (Part 1 of the book), (ii) scientific models (Part 2), and (...)
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  9. Purely Theoretical Explanations.Giacomo Andreoletti, Jonathan Tallant & Giuliano Torrengo - 2020 - Philosophia 49 (1):133-154.
    This paper introduces a new kind of explanation that we describe as ‘purely theoretical’. We first present an example, E, of what we take to be a case of purely theoretical explanation. We then show that the explanation we have in mind does not fit neatly into any of the existing categories of explanation. We take this to give us prima facie motivation for thinking that purely theoretical explanation is a distinctive kind of explanation. We then argue that it can (...)
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  10. There is nothing to identity.M. Oreste Fiocco - 2021 - Synthese 199 (3-4):7321-7337.
    Several have denied that there is, specifically, a criterion of identity for persons and some deny that there are, for any kind, diachronic criteria of identity. I argue, however, that there are no criteria of identity, either synchronic or diachronic, for any kind whatsoever. I begin by elaborating the notion of a criterion of identity in order to clarify what exactly is being denied when I maintain there are none. I examine the motivation of those who qualify in some way (...)
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  11. Notes on how-possible reasoning.Besim Karakadılar - manuscript
    A brief outline for some alternative lines of thought on the general structure of how-possible reasoning and its implications for formally and informally conceivable things, and the concept of mathematical truth.
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  12. A Teoria da Demonstração Científica de Aristóteles em Segundos Analíticos 1.2-9 e 1.13.Davi Bastos - 2020 - Archai: Revista de Estudos Sobre as Origens Do Pensamento Ocidental 30:e03021.
    I defend an interpretation of Aristotle’s Posterior Analytics Book I which distinguishes between two projects in different passages of that work: (i) to explain what a given science is and (ii) to explain what properly scientific knowledge is. I present Aristotle’s theory in answer to ii, with special attention to his definition of scientific knowledge in 71b9-12 and showing how this is developed on chapters I.2-9 and I.13 into a solid Theory of Scientific Demonstration. The main point of this theory (...)
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  13. Optimalism and the Grounds of Existential Truths.Yannic Kappes - 2017 - Philosophisches Jahrbuch 124 (2):263-271.
  14. Anything at All - The Deepest and the Shallowest Question.Yannic Kappes & Benjamin Schnieder - 2016 - Philosophisches Jahrbuch 123 (2):543-565.
  15. 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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  16. The Possibilities of History.Daniel Nolan - 2016 - Journal of the Philosophy of History 10 (3):441-456.
    _ Source: _Volume 10, Issue 3, pp 441 - 456 Several kinds of historical alternatives are distinguished. Different kinds of historical alternatives are valuable to the practice of history for different reasons. Important uses for historical alternatives include representing different sides of historical disputes; distributing chances of different outcomes over alternatives; and offering explanations of why various alternatives did _not_ in fact happen. Consideration of counterfactuals about what would have happened had things been different in particular ways plays particularly useful (...)
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  17. Causality and Scientific Explanation. Volume I: Medieval and Early Classical Science William A. Wallace. [REVIEW]James A. Weisheipl - 1974 - Isis 65 (1):99-100.
  18. How General Do Theories of Explanation Need To Be?Bernhard Nickel - 2010 - Noûs 44 (2):305-328.
    Theories of explanation seek to tell us what distinctively explanatory information is. The most ambitious ones, such as the DN-account, seek to tell us what an explanation is, tout court. Less ambitious ones, such as causal theories, restrict themselves to a particular domain of inquiry. The least ambitious theories constitute outright skepticism, holding that there is no reasonably unified phenomenon to give an account of. On these views, it is impossible to give any theories of explanation at all. I argue (...)
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  19. Causation and Explanation.Stathis Psillos - 2002 - McGill-Queen's Press - MQUP.
    Stathis Psillos divides his account into three sections: causation, laws of nature, and explanation. He begins the causation section with Hume's classic "reductive" account and then focuses on the subsequent division between Humean and non-Humean accounts, examining topics such as regularities and singular causation, causation and counterfactuals, and causation and mechanism.
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  20. If, since and because: a study in conditional connection.Storrs McCall - 1983 - Logique Et Analyse 26 (3):309.
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  21. Scientific Explanation and the Philosophy of Language.Robert Evans Brumett - 1976 - Dissertation, The Ohio State University
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  22. Theoretical Limitations on Scientific Explanation.Robby Ray Brady - 1975 - Dissertation, The Claremont Graduate University
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  23. Proof and Explanation: The Virginia Lectures.John Wisdom - 1991 - University Press of America.
    This book is based on previously unpublished lectures that Wisdom delivered at the University of Virginia. Its content goes significantly beyond that of his other books. Here he is concerned with how misunderstandings about what it is to prove something or what it is to explain something can infect our thinking in many different fields.
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  24. On Allan Franklin's Conjectural Realism.Marco Buzzoni - 2000 - Epistemologia 23 (1):77-98.
  25. The pragmatics of explanation.Bas C. Van Fraassen - 1977 - American Philosophical Quarterly 14 (2):143-150.
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  26. The pragmatics of explanation.Philip Kitcher - 1991 - In Richard Boyd, Philip Gasper & J. D. Trout (eds.), The Philosophy of Science. MIT Press.
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  27. The Pragmatics of Explanation.I. False Ideals - 1980 - In Elmer Daniel Klemke, Robert Hollinger, David Wÿss Rudge & A. David Kline (eds.), Introductory readings in the philosophy of science. Amherst, N.Y.: Prometheus Books. pp. 264.
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  28. 12. knowledge, inference, and explanation.Gilbert Harman - 2003 - In Steven Luper (ed.), Essential Knowledge: Readings in Epistemology. Longman. pp. 106.
  29. Phenomenological Laws and their Application to Scientific Epistemic Explanation Problems.Erik Weber - 1990 - Logique Et Analyse 129 (29):175-189.
  30. The Pragmatics of Explanation.Matti Sintonen - 1984 - Acta Philosophica Fennica 37.
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  31. Abstract argumentation and explanation applied to scientific debates.Dunja Šešelja & Christian Straßer - 2013 - Synthese 190 (12):2195-2217.
    argumentation has been shown to be a powerful tool within many fields such as artificial intelligence, logic and legal reasoning. In this paper we enhance Dung’s well-known abstract argumentation framework with explanatory capabilities. We show that an explanatory argumentation framework (EAF) obtained in this way is a useful tool for the modeling of scientific debates. On the one hand, EAFs allow for the representation of explanatory and justificatory arguments constituting rivaling scientific views. On the other hand, different procedures for selecting (...)
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  32. Primitiveness, Metaontology, and Explanatory Power.Jiri Benovsky - 2013 - Dialogue 52 (2):341-358.
    Metaphysical theories heavily rely on the use of primitives to which they typically appeal. I will start by examining and evaluating some traditional well-known theories and I will discuss the role of primitives in metaphysical theories in general. I will then turn to a discussion of claims of between theories that, I think, depend on equivalences of primitives, and I will explore the nature of primitives. I will then claim that almost all explanatory power of metaphysical theories comes from their (...)
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  33. Depth: An Account of Scientific Explanation. [REVIEW]Lina Jansson - 2008 - Philosophical Review 121 (4):625-630.
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  34. Explanation in Historiography.Cynthia Macdonald & Graham Macdonald - 2008 - In Aviezer Tucker (ed.), A Companion to the Philosophy of History and Historiography. Oxford, UK: Blackwell. pp. 131–141.
    This chapter contains sections titled: 1 2 3 Acknowledgment Bibliography.
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  35. Awareness and Inference: An Approach to Realism.Marten ten Hoor - 1936 - Journal of Philosophy 33 (22):589 - 596.
  36. Scientific Realism and Explanation.Robert Almeder - 1989 - American Philosophical Quarterly 26 (3):173 - 185.
    Assuming for the sake of discussion that there is an external world, The "core" thesis of scientific realism is that some of our empirical beliefs (including the so-Called theoretical beliefs) succeed in correctly describing, In some important measure, The external world. Classical scientific realism also asserts that we are able to say justifiably just "which" of our beliefs so succeed in correctly describing the external world. This paper does not examine this last claim. Rather it seeks to defend the core (...)
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  37. Prediction and Explanation in Historical Natural Science.Carol E. Cleland - 2011 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 62 (3):551-582.
    In earlier work ( Cleland [2001] , [2002]), I sketched an account of the structure and justification of ‘prototypical’ historical natural science that distinguishes it from ‘classical’ experimental science. This article expands upon this work, focusing upon the close connection between explanation and justification in the historical natural sciences. I argue that confirmation and disconfirmation in these fields depends primarily upon the explanatory (versus predictive or retrodictive) success or failure of hypotheses vis-à-vis empirical evidence. The account of historical explanation that (...)
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  38. Moral and Scientific Explanation: Re-examining the Harman/Sturgeon Debate.Edward Slowik - 1999 - Cogito 13 (1):39-44.
    This paper examines the status of explanation in the natural sciences and ethics by focusing on the important role of empirical evidence and theoretical properties. As a means of exploring these issues, the debate between Nicholas Sturgeon and Gilbert Harman will serve as a central point in the discussion, since Sturgeon has provided several arguments against Harman's attempt to draw a distinction between scientific and moral explanation. Specifically, Sturgeon holds that the special function of observation and testing, which we commonly (...)
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  39. Introduction.David-Hillel Ruben - 1993 - In D.-H. Ruben (ed.), Explanation. Oxford University Press.
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  40. The Ontology of Explanation.David-Hillel Ruben - 1989 - In Fred D'Agostino & I. C. Jarvie (eds.), Freedom and Rationality. Reidel. pp. 67--85.
    In an explanation, what does the explaining and what gets explained? What are the relata of the explanation relation? Candidates include: people, events, facts, sentences, statements, and propositions.
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  41. Confusion and dependence in uses of history.David Slutsky - 2012 - Synthese 184 (3):261-286.
    Many people argue that history makes a special difference to the subjects of biology and psychology, and that history does not make this special difference to other parts of the world. This paper will show that historical properties make no more or less of a difference to biology or psychology than to chemistry, physics, or other sciences. Although historical properties indeed make a certain kind of difference to biology and psychology, this paper will show that historical properties make the same (...)
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  42. Causal Pluralism Without Levels: Comments on Humphreys.James Bohman - 1996 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 34 (S1):115-127.
  43. Resisting Explanation.G. Randolph Mayes - 2000 - Argumentation 14 (4):361-380.
    Although explanation is widely regarded as an important concept in the study of rational inquiry, it remains largely unexplored outside the philosophy of science. This, I believe, is not due to oversight as much as to institutional resistance. In analytic philosophy it is basic that epistemic rationality is a function of justification and that justification is a function of argument. Explanation, however, is not argument nor is belief justification its function. I argue here that the task of incorporating explanation into (...)
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  44. Dimensional explanations.Marc Lange - 2009 - Noûs 43 (4):742-775.
  45. Scientific Explanation and Moral Explanation.Uri D. Leibowitz - 2011 - Noûs 45 (3):472-503.
    Moral philosophers are, among other things, in the business of constructing moral theories. And moral theories are, among other things, supposed to explain moral phenomena. Consequently, one’s views about the nature of moral explanation will influence the kinds of moral theories one is willing to countenance. Many moral philosophers are (explicitly or implicitly) committed to a deductive model of explanation. As I see it, this commitment lies at the heart of the current debate between moral particularists and moral generalists. In (...)
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  46. The theory of the process of explanation generalized to include the inconsistent case.Diderik Batens - 2005 - Synthese 143 (1-2):63 - 88.
    . This paper proposes a generalization of the theory of the process of explanation to include consistent as well as inconsistent situations. The generalization is strong, for example in the sense that, if the background theory and the initial conditions are consistent, it leads to precisely the same results as the theory from the lead paper (Halonen and Hintikka 2004). The paper presupposes (and refers to arguments for the view that) inconsistencies constitute problems and that scientists try to resolve them.
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  47. Understanding science: Why causes are not enough.Ruth Berger - 1998 - Philosophy of Science 65 (2):306-332.
    This paper is an empirical critique of causal accounts of scientific explanation. Drawing on explanations which rely on nonlinear dynamical modeling, I argue that the requirement of causal relevance is both too strong and too weak to be constitutive of scientific explanation. In addition, causal accounts obscure how the process of mathematical modeling produces explanatory information. I advance three arguments for the inadequacy of causal accounts. First, I argue that explanatorily relevant information is not always information about causes, even in (...)
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  48. 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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  49. Peirce on explanation.David Boersema - 2003 - Journal of Speculative Philosophy 17 (3):224-236.
    There has been a recent focused effort in philosophical scholarship to bridge the perceived divide between pragmatism and analytic philosophy. This divide, it has been suggested, is over philosophical doctrines, methods, and even aims. This is not to say there has not been fruitful—even if antagonistic—dialogue between these two philosophical traditions. Clearly there has been, e.g., Russell's famous (or infamous) disputes with James and Dewey. Clearly also, there has been direct philosophical influence from one tradition to the other, e.g., Peirce (...)
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  50. Lipton on compatible contrasts.John W. Carroll - 1997 - Analysis 57 (3):170–178.
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