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  1. Abductive Reasoning: Challenges Ahead.Atocha Aliseda - 2007 - Theoria 22 (3):261-270.
    The motivation behind the collection of papers presented in this THEORIA forum on Abductive reasoning is my book Abductive Reasoning: Logical Investigations into the Processes of Discovery and Explanation. These contributions raise fundamental questions. One of them concerns the conjectural character of abduction. The choice of a logical framework for abduction is also discussed in detail, both its inferential aspect and search strategies. Abduction is also analyzed as inference to the best explanation, as well as a process of epistemic change, (...)
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  2. 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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  3. 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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  4. 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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  5. 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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  6. Theoretical Limitations on Scientific Explanation.Robby Ray Brady - 1975 - Dissertation, The Claremont Graduate University
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  7. Scientific Explanation and the Philosophy of Language.Robert Evans Brumett - 1976 - Dissertation, The Ohio State University
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  8. On Allan Franklin's Conjectural Realism.Marco Buzzoni - 2000 - Epistemologia 23 (1):77-98.
  9. Lipton on Compatible Contrasts.John W. Carroll - 1997 - Analysis 57 (3):170–178.
  10. Prediction and Explanation in Historical Natural Science.C. 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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  11. Epistemic Operators.Fred I. Dretske - 1970 - Journal of Philosophy 67 (24):1007-1023.
  12. A Critique of Localized Realism.Mohamed Elsamahi - 2005 - Philosophy of Science 72 (5):1350-1360.
    A Critique of Localized Realism Abstract In an attempt to avert Laudan’s pessimistic induction, Worrall and Psillos introduce a narrower version of scientific realism. According to this version, which can be referred to as “localized realism”, realists need not accept every component in a successful theory. They are supposed only to accept those components that led to the theory’s empirical success. Consequently, realists can avoid believing in dubious entities like the caloric and ether. This paper examines and critiques localized realism. (...)
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  13. Manipulative Success and the Unreal.Axel Gelfert - 2003 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 17 (3):245-263.
    In its original form due to Ian Hacking, entity realism postulates a criterion of manipulative success which replaces explanatory virtue as the criterion of justified scientific belief. The article analyses the foundations on which this postulate rests and identifies the conditions on which one can derive a form of entity realism from it. It then develops in detail an extensive class of counterexamples, drawing on the notion of quasi-particles in condensed matter physics. While the phenomena associated with quasi-particles pass the (...)
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  14. Causal Explanation and Scientific Realism.Christopher Read Hitchcock - 1992 - Erkenntnis 37 (2):151 - 178.
    It is widely believed that many of the competing accounts of scientific explanation have ramifications which are relevant to the scientific realism debate. I claim that the two issues are orthogonal. For definiteness, I consider Cartwright's argument that causal explanations secure belief in theoretical entities. In Section I, van Fraassen's anti-realism is reviewed; I argue that this anti-realism is, prima facie, consistent with a causal account of explanation. Section II reviews Cartwright's arguments. In Section III, it is argued that causal (...)
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  15. Awareness and Inference: An Approach to Realism.Hoor Marten Ten - 1936 - Journal of Philosophy 33 (22):589 - 596.
  16. Depth: An Account of Scientific Explanation. [REVIEW]L. Jansson - 2012 - Philosophical Review 121 (4):625-630.
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  17. Reasons: Explanations or Evidence?Stephen Kearns & Daniel Star - 2008 - Ethics 119 (1):31-56.
  18. Explanatory Knowledge and Metaphysical Dependence.Jaegwon Kim - 1994 - Philosophical Issues 5:51-69.
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  19. Dimensional Explanations.Marc Lange - 2009 - Noûs 43 (4):742-775.
  20. 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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  21. The Best Explanation of a Scientific Paper.Peter Lipton - 1998 - Philosophy of Science 65 (3):406-410.
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  22. Explanation and Epistemology.William G. Lycan - 2002 - In Paul K. Moser (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Epistemology. Oxford University Press. pp. 413.
    Second, there is a form of ampliative inference that has come to be called ‘inference to the best explanation,’ or more briefly ‘explanatory inference.’ Roughly: From the fact that a certain hypothesis would explain the data at hand better than any other available hypothesis, we infer with some degree of confidence that that leading hypothesis is correct. There is no question but that this inference is often performed. Arguably, every human being performs it many times in a day, perhaps without (...)
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  23. Explanation in Historiography.Cynthia Macdonald & Graham Macdonald - 2008 - In A. Tucker (ed.), A Companion to the Philosophy of History and Historiography. Blackwell.
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  24. Comprehensibility Rather Than Beauty.Nicholas Maxwell - 2004 - PhilSci Archive.
    Most scientists and philosophers of science recognize that, when it comes to accepting and rejecting theories in science, considerations that have to do with simplicity, unity, symmetry, elegance, beauty or explanatory power have an important role to play, in addition to empirical considerations. Until recently, however, no one has been able to give a satisfactory account of what simplicity (etc.) is, or how giving preference to simple theories is to be justified. But in the last few years, two different but (...)
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  25. 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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  26. 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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  27. 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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  28. Minimal Models and the Generalized Ontic Conception of Scientific Explanation.Mark Povich - forthcoming - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science.
    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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  29. Causation and Explanation.Stathis Psillos - 2002 - Routledge.
    What is the nature of causation? How is causation linked with explanation? And can there be an adequate theory of explanation? These questions and many others are addressed in this unified and rigorous examination of the philosophical problems surrounding causation, laws and explanation. Part 1 of this book explores Hume's views on causation, theories of singular causation, and counterfactual and mechanistic approaches. Part 2 considers the regularity view of laws and laws as relations among universals, as well as recent alternative (...)
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  30. The Metaphorical Conception of Scientific Explanation: Rereading Mary Hesse. [REVIEW]Maria Rentetzi - 2005 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 36 (2):377 - 391.
    In 1997, five decades after the publication of the landmark Hempel-Oppenheim article "Studies in the Logic of Explanation"([1948], 1970) Wesley Salmon published Causality and Explanation, a book that re-addresses the issue of scientific explanation. He provided an overview of the basic approaches to scientific explanation, stressed their weaknesses, and offered novel insights. However, he failed to mention Mary Hesse's approach to the topic and analyze her standpoint. This essay brings front and center Hesse's approach to scientific explanation formulated in the (...)
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  31. Explanation.David-Hillel Ruben (ed.) - 1993 - Oxford University Press.
    The aim of this series is to bring together important recent writings in major areas of philosophical inquiry, selected from a variety of sources, mostly periodicals, which may not be conveniently available to the university student or the general reader. The editor of each volume contributes an introductory essay on the items chosen and on the questions with which they deal. A selective bibliography is appended as a guide to further reading. This volume presents a selection of the most important (...)
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  32. Introduction.David-Hillel Ruben - 1993 - In D.-H. Ruben (ed.), Explanation. Oxford University Press.
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  33. 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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  34. Patterns of Abduction.G. Schurz - 2008 - Synthese 164 (2):201-234.
    This article describes abductions as special patterns of inference to the best explanation whose structure determines a particularly promising abductive conjecture and thus serves as an abductive search strategy. A classification of different patterns of abduction is provided which intends to be as complete as possible. An important distinction is that between selective abductions, which choose an optimal candidate from given multitude of possible explanations, and creative abductions, which introduce new theoretical models or concepts. While selective abduction has dominated the (...)
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  35. Inferência da melhor explicação: Peter Lipton e o debate realismo/anti-realismo.Marcos Rodrigues da Silva - 2010 - Princípios 17 (27):303-312.
    Apresentaçáo da traduçáo do artigo der Peter Lipton: "Is the Best Good Enough?" (publicado em 1993 no Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society , vol. XCIII, parte 2, pp. 89-104).
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  36. Moral and Scientific Explanation.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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  37. 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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  38. Experimental Realism Defended: How Inference to the Most Likely Cause Might Be Sound.Mauricio Suárez - 2006 - Contingency and Dissent in Science Project, Cpnss, London School of Economics and Political Science.
    On a purely epistemic understanding of experimental realism, manipulation affords a particularly robust kind of causal warrant, which is – like any other warrant – defeasible. I defend a version of Nancy Cartwright’s inference to the most likely cause, and I conclude that this minimally epistemic version of experimental realism is a coherent, adequate and plausible epistemology for science.
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  39. Scientific Explanation and the Sense of Understanding.J. D. Trout - 2002 - Philosophy of Science 69 (2):212-233.
    Scientists and laypeople alike use the sense of understanding that an explanation conveys as a cue to good or correct explanation. Although the occurrence of this sense or feeling of understanding is neither necessary nor sufficient for good explanation, it does drive judgments of the plausibility and, ultimately, the acceptability, of an explanation. This paper presents evidence that the sense of understanding is in part the routine consequence of two well-documented biases in cognitive psychology: overconfidence and hindsight. In light of (...)
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  40. Phenomenological Laws and Their Application to Scientific Epistemic Explanation Problems.Erik Weber - 1990 - Logique Et Analyse 129 (29):175-189.
  41. Scientific Inference and the Pursuit of Fame: A Contractarian Approach.P. Zamora Bonilla Jesús - 2002 - Philosophy of Science 69 (2):300-323.
    Methodological norms are seen as rules defining a competitive game, and it is argued that rational recognition-seeking scientists can reach a collective agreement about which specific norms serve better their individual interests, especially if the choice is made `under a veil of ignorance', i.e. , before knowing what theory will be proposed by each scientist. Norms for theory assessment are distinguished from norms for theory choice (or inference rules), and it is argued that pursuit of recognition only affects this second (...)
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Explanation and Laws
  1. Law and Explanation: An Essay in the Philosophy of Science.Peter Achinstein - 1971 - London: Oxford University Press.
  2. Marc Lange: Natural Laws in Scientific Practice. [REVIEW]Joshua Alexander - 2004 - Philosophy of Science 71 (2):222-224.
    What is a law of nature? Traditionally, philosophical discussion of this question has been dominated by two prominent alternatives; David Lewis’s best-systems analysis, according to which a law is a regularity that serves as a theorem in our best axiomatization of the facts about the world, and the Dretske-Armstrong-Tooley analysis, which incorporates universals to distinguish laws from mere accidental generalizations. Marc Lange’s first book presents a provocative alternative to this tradition, providing a novel treatment of natural laws that should be (...)
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  3. What Would Hume Say? Regularities, Laws, and Mechanisms.Holly Andersen - 2017 - In Phyllis Ilari & Stuart Glennan (eds.), Handbook of Mechanisms and Mechanistic Philosophy. Routledge. pp. 157-168.
    This chapter examines the relationship between laws and mechanisms as approaches to characterising generalizations and explanations in science. I give an overview of recent historical discussions where laws failed to satisfy stringent logical criteria, opening the way for mechanisms to be investigated as a way to explain regularities in nature. This followed by a critical discussion of contemporary debates about the role of laws versus mechanisms in describing versus explaining regularities. I conclude by offering new arguments for two roles for (...)
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  4. Mechanisms, Laws, and Regularities.Holly Andersen - 2011 - Philosophy of Science 78 (2):325-331.
    Leuridan (2010) argued that mechanisms cannot provide a genuine alternative to laws of nature as a model of explanation in the sciences, and advocates Mitchell’s (1997) pragmatic account of laws. I first demonstrate that Leuridan gets the order of priority wrong between mechanisms, regularity, and laws, and then make some clarifying remarks about how laws and mechanisms relate to regularities. Mechanisms are not an explanatory alternative to regularities; they are an alternative to laws. The existence of stable regularities in nature (...)
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  5. Classifying Contingency in the Social Sciences: Diachronic, Synchronic, and Deterministic Contingency.Clint Ballinger - unknown
    This article makes three claims concerning the concept of contingency. First, we argue that the word contingency is used in far too many ways to be useful. Its many meanings are detrimental to clarity of discussion and thought in history and the social sciences. We show how there are eight distinct uses of the word and illustrate this with numerous examples from the social sciences and history, highlighting the scope for confusion caused by the many, often contradictory uses of the (...)
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  6. Initial Conditions as Exogenous Factors in Spatial Explanation.Clint Ballinger - 2008 - Dissertation, University of Cambridge
    This dissertation shows how initial conditions play a special role in the explanation of contingent and irregular outcomes, including, in the form of geographic context, the special case of uneven development in the social sciences. The dissertation develops a general theory of this role, recognizes its empirical limitations in the social sciences, and considers how it might be applied to the question of uneven development. The primary purpose of the dissertation is to identify and correct theoretical problems in the study (...)
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  7. Explanation and Laws.Alexander Bird - 1999 - Synthese 120 (1):1--18.
    In this paper I examine two aspects of Hempel’s covering-law models of explanation. These are (i) nomic subsumption and (ii) explication by models. Nomic subsumption is the idea that to explain a fact is to show how it falls under some appropriate law. This conception of explanation Hempel explicates using a pair of models, where, in this context, a model is a template or pattern such that if something fits it, then that thing is an explanation. A range of well-known (...)
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  8. Laws and Instantial Statements.Alex Blum - 1970 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 21 (4):371-378.
    In 'The Structure of Science' Nagel contends that a deductive explanation of the occurrence of an individual event must contain at least one instantial statement as a premiss (Nagel, 1961, p. 31). I shall defend a version of his contention.
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  9. Deskriptions- Und Interpretationsprobleme Beim Psychologischen Erklären.Hans-Georg Bosshardt - 1984 - Analyse & Kritik 6 (2):160-189.
    In this paper, the descriptive information contained in empirical laws is contrasted with common-sense descriptions of situations and behavior. According to the Hempel-Oppenheim-Schema, explanation is, essentially conceived as a matter of deductive reasoning in which the fact to be explained is subsumed under one empirically valid generalizations or laws. However, this kind of explanation is necessarily based on intuitive processes of diagnosis and interpretation. It is argued that these intuitive processes enable the scientist to formulate descriptive sentences which form the (...)
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