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  1. 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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  2. 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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  3. 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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  4. 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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  5. Scientific Explanation and the Philosophy of Language.Robert Evans Brumett - 1976 - Dissertation, The Ohio State University
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  6. Theoretical Limitations on Scientific Explanation.Robby Ray Brady - 1975 - Dissertation, The Claremont Graduate University
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  7. On Allan Franklin's Conjectural Realism.Marco Buzzoni - 2000 - Epistemologia 23 (1):77-98.
  8. Phenomenological Laws and Their Application to Scientific Epistemic Explanation Problems.Erik Weber - 1990 - Logique Et Analyse 129 (29):175-189.
  9. 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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  10. 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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  11. Depth: An Account of Scientific Explanation. [REVIEW]L. Jansson - 2012 - Philosophical Review 121 (4):625-630.
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  12. 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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  13. Awareness and Inference: An Approach to Realism.Marten ten Hoor - 1936 - Journal of Philosophy 33 (22):589 - 596.
  14. 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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  15. 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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  16. 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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  17. Introduction.David-Hillel Ruben - 1993 - In D.-H. Ruben (ed.), Explanation. Oxford University Press.
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  18. 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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  19. 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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  20. 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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  21. Dimensional Explanations.Marc Lange - 2009 - Noûs 43 (4):742-775.
  22. 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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  23. 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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  24. 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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  25. 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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  26. Lipton on Compatible Contrasts.John W. Carroll - 1997 - Analysis 57 (3):170–178.
  27. Epistemic Operators.Fred I. Dretske - 1970 - Journal of Philosophy 67 (24):1007-1023.
  28. A Critique of Localized Realism.Mohamed Elsamahi - 2004 - 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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  29. 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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  30. 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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  31. Reasons: Explanations or Evidence?Stephen Kearns & Daniel Star - 2008 - Ethics 119 (1):31-56.
  32. Explanatory Knowledge and Metaphysical Dependence.Jaegwon Kim - 1994 - Philosophical Issues 5:51-69.
  33. The Best Explanation of a Scientific Paper.Peter Lipton - 1998 - Philosophy of Science 65 (3):406-410.
  34. 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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  35. Comprehensibility Rather Than Beauty.Nicholas Maxwell - 2001 - 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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  36. 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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  37. 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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  38. 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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  39. Experimental Realism Defended: How Inference to the Most Likely Cause Might Be Sound.Mauricio Suárez - 2005 - 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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  40. 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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  41. Scientific Inference and the Pursuit of Fame: A Contractarian Approach.Jesús P. Zamora Bonilla - 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. Humean Laws, Explanatory Circularity, and the Aim of Scientific Explanation.Chris Dorst - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies:1-23.
    One of the main challenges confronting Humean accounts of natural law is that Humean laws appear to be unable to play the explanatory role of laws in scientific practice. The worry is roughly that if the laws are just regularities in the particular matters of fact (as the Humean would have it), then they cannot also explain the particular matters of fact, on pain of circularity. Loewer (2012) has defended Humeanism, arguing that this worry only arises if we fail to (...)
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  2. ¿Es El Realista Científico Un Realista de Leyes Naturales?Edgar Eduardo Rojas Duran - 2018 - Endoxa 41:277.
    In this paper, I argue that if one is already an advocate of scientific realism, then one would be also a realist about laws of nature. To show this, I argue that only scientific realists would accept that non-accidental regularities require explanation and that their genuine explanation is given by laws of nature. Then, from this conclusion, it seems that scientific realists have reason to believe that there are laws of nature in an objective sense. If this is correct, the (...)
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  3. Levels of Reasons Why and Answers to Why Questions.Insa Lawler - 2019 - Philosophy of Science 86 (1):168-177.
    According to Skow (2016, 2017), correct answers to why-questions only cite causes or grounds, but not non-accidental regularities. Accounts that cite non-accidental regularities typically confuse second-level reasons with first-level reasons. Only causes and grounds are first-level reasons why. Non-accidental regularities are second-level reasons why. I first show that Skow's arguments for the accusation of confusion depend on the independent thesis that only citations of first-level reasons why are (parts of) answers to why-questions. Then, I argue that this thesis is false. (...)
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  4. Laws of Nature, Explanation, and Semantic Circularity.Shumener Erica - 2017 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science:axx020.
    Humeans and anti-Humeans agree that laws of nature should explain scientifically particular matters of fact. One objection to Humean accounts of laws contends that Humean laws cannot explain particular matters of fact because their explanations are harmfully circular. This article distinguishes between metaphysical and semantic characterizations of the circularity and argues for a new semantic version of the circularity objection. The new formulation suggests that Humean explanations are harmfully circular because the content of the sentences being explained is part of (...)
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  5. Explanations of Exceptions in Biology: Corrective Asymmetry Versus Autonomy.Jani Raerinne - 2017 - Synthese 194 (12):5073-5092.
    It is often argued that biological generalizations have a distinctive and special status by comparison with the generalizations of other natural sciences, such as that biological generalizations are riddled with exceptions defying systematic and simple treatment. This special status of biology is used as a premise in arguments that posit a deprived explanatory, nomological, or methodological status in the biological sciences. I will discuss the traditional and still almost universally held idea that the biological sciences cannot deal with exceptions and (...)
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  6. ‘Natures’ and ‘Laws’: The Making of the Concept of Law of Nature – Robert Grosseteste and Roger Bacon.Yael Kedar & Giora Hon - 2017 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 61:21-31.
  7. Explanation, Causation and Laws.Dorothy Edgington - 1990 - Critica 22 (66):55-73.
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  8. Scientific Realism and Primitive Ontology Or: The Pessimistic Induction and the Nature of the Wave Function.Valia Allori - 2018 - Lato Sensu 1 (5):69-76.
    In this paper I wish to connect the recent debate in the philosophy of quantum mechanics concerning the nature of the wave function to the historical debate in the philosophy of science regarding the tenability of scientific realism. Being realist about quantum mechanics is particularly challenging when focusing on the wave function. According to the wave function ontology approach, the wave function is a concrete physical entity. In contrast, according to an alternative viewpoint, namely the primitive ontology approach, the wave (...)
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  9. 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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