Explanatory Pluralism

Edited by Cory Wright (California State University, Long Beach)
Assistant editor: Richard Link (California State University, Long Beach)
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  1. added 2019-01-29
    Explanatory Pluralism C. MANTZAVINOS Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016; 221 Pp.; $129.59. [REVIEW]Justin Bzovy - 2018 - Dialogue 57 (4):922-923.
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  2. added 2019-01-04
    A Dialogue on Explanation.C. Mantzavinos - 2018 - Heidelberg and New York: Springer.
    We are all philosophers and we develop our own philosophy by exchanging views and arguments. The dialogue form is and should remain the principal form of philosophizing, since ideas, like butterflies, do not merely exist – they develop. This is certainly the case in actual philosophical interaction, and it can be the case in written philosophical exposition. The book consists of a dialogue between two interlocutors, Philip and a student, who discuss about the philosophical theory of explanation. It is situated (...)
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  3. added 2018-11-05
    A Pluralist Framework to Address Challenges to the Modern Synthesis in Evolutionary Theory.Philippe Huneman - 2014 - Biological Theory 9 (2):163-177.
    This paper uses formal Darwinism as elaborated by Alan Grafen to articulate an explanatory pluralism that casts light upon two strands of controversies running across evolutionary biology, viz., the place of organisms versus genes, and the role of adaptation. Formal Darwinism shows that natural selection can be viewed either physics-style, as a dynamics of alleles, or in the style of economics as an optimizing process. After presenting such pluralism, I argue first that whereas population genetics does not support optimization, optimality (...)
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  4. added 2018-11-05
    Causal Pluralism and Scientific Knowledge: An Underexposed Problem.Leen De Vreese - 2006 - Philosophica 77.
    Causal pluralism is currently a hot topic in philosophy. However, the consequences of this view on causation for scientific knowledge and scientific methodology are heavily underexposed in the present debate. My aim in this paper is to argue that an epistemological-methodological point of view should be valued as a line of approach on its own and to demonstrate how epistemological- methodological causal pluralism differs in its scope from conceptual and metaphysical causal pluralism. Further, I defend epistemological-methodological causal pluralism and try (...)
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  5. added 2018-11-05
    Pluralism and Naturalism: Why the Proliferation of Theories is Good for the Mind.Christopher J. Preston - 2005 - Philosophical Psychology 18 (6):715 – 735.
    A number of those that have advocated for theoretical pluralism in epistemology suggest that naturalistic arguments from cognitive science can support their case. Yet these theorists have traditionally faced two pressing needs. First, they have needed a cognitive science adequate to the task. Second, they have needed a bridge between whatever scientific account of cognition they favor and the normative claims of a pluralistic epistemology. Both of these challenges are addressed below in an argument for theoretical pluralism that brings together (...)
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  6. added 2018-11-05
    Biological Complexity and Integrative Pluralism.Sandra D. Mitchell - 2003 - Cambridge University Press.
    This fine collection of essays by a leading philosopher of science presents a defence of integrative pluralism as the best description for the complexity of scientific inquiry today. The tendency of some scientists to unify science by reducing all theories to a few fundamental laws of the most basic particles that populate our universe is ill-suited to the biological sciences, which study multi-component, multi-level, evolved complex systems. This integrative pluralism is the most efficient way to understand the different and complex (...)
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  7. added 2018-11-02
    Feyerabend, Pluralism, and Parapsychology.Ian James Kidd - 2018 - Bulletin of the Parapsychological Association 5 (1):5-9.
    Feyerabend is well-known as a pluralist, and notorious for his defences of, and sympathetic references to, heterodox subjects, such as parapsychology. Focusing on the latter, I ask how we should understand the relationship between the pluralism and the defences, drawing on Marcello Truzzi's and Martin Gardner's remarks on Feyerabend along the way.
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  8. added 2018-10-28
    Pluralism Without Genic Causes?Matthew Dunn Elisabeth A. Lloyd, Jennifer Cianciollo & and Costas Mannouris - 2005 - Philosophy of Science 72 (2):334-341.
    Since the fundamental challenge that I laid at the doorstep of the pluralists was to defend, with nonderivative models, a strong notion of genic cause, it is fatal that Waters has failed to meet that challenge. Waters agrees with me that there is only a single cause operating in these models, but he argues for a notion of causal `parsing' to sustain the viability of some form of pluralism. Waters and his colleagues have some very interesting and important ideas about (...)
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  9. added 2018-10-28
    Pluralism Without Genic Causes?Elisabeth Lloyd - 2005 - Philosophy of Science 72 (2):334-341.
    Since the fundamental challenge that I laid at the doorstep of the pluralists was to defend, with nonderivative models, a strong notion of genic cause, it is fatal that Waters has failed to meet that challenge. Waters agrees with me that there is only a single cause operating in these models, but he argues for a notion of causal ‘parsing’ to sustain the viability of some form of pluralism. Waters and his colleagues have some very interesting and important ideas about (...)
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  10. added 2018-10-28
    Why Genic and Multilevel Selection Theories Are Here to Stay.C. Kenneth Waters - 2005 - Philosophy of Science 72 (2):311-333.
    I clarify the difference between pluralist and monist interpretations of levels of selection disputes. Lloyd has challenged my claim that a plurality of models correctly accounts for situations such as maintenance of the sickle-cell trait, and I revisit this example to show that competing theories don’t disagree about the existence of ‘high-level’ or ‘lowlevel’ causes; rather, they parse these causes differently. Applying Woodward’s theory of causation, I analyze Sober’s distinction between ‘selection of’ versus ‘selection for’. My analysis shows that this (...)
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  11. added 2018-10-28
    Feyerabend, Mill, and Pluralism.Elisabeth A. Lloyd - 1997 - Philosophy of Science 64 (4):407.
    I suggest following Paul Feyerabend's own advice, and interpreting Feyerabend's work in light of the principles laid out by John Stuart Mill. A review of Mill's essay, On Liberty, emphasizes the importance Mill placed on open and critical discussion for the vitality and progress of various aspects of human life, including the pursuit of scientific knowledge. Many of Feyerabend's more unusual stances, I suggest, are best interpreted as attempts to play certain roles--especially the role of "defender of unpopular minority opinion"--that (...)
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  12. added 2018-10-20
    To Transform the Phenomena: Feyerabend, Proliferation, and Recurrent Neural Networks.Paul M. Churchland - 1997 - Philosophy of Science 64 (4):420.
    Paul Feyerabend recommended the methodological policy of proliferating competing theories as a means to uncovering new empirical data, and thus as a means to increase the empirical constraints that all theories must confront. Feyerabend's policy is here defended as a clear consequence of connectionist models of explanatory understanding and learning. An earlier connectionist "vindication" is criticized, and a more realistic and penetrating account is offered in terms of the computationally plastic cognitive profile displayed by neural networks with a recurrent architecture.
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  13. added 2018-10-14
    Explanatory Pluralism in Biology.Sara Green - 2016 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 59:154-157.
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  14. added 2018-10-14
    Musical Pluralism and the Science of Music.Adrian Currie & Anton Killin - 2016 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 6 (1):9-30.
    The scientific investigation of music requires contributions from a diverse array of disciplines. Given the diverse methodologies, interests and research targets of the disciplines involved, we argue that there is a plurality of legitimate research questions about music, necessitating a focus on integration. In light of this we recommend a pluralistic conception of music—that there is no unitary definition divorced from some discipline, research question or context. This has important implications for how the scientific study of music ought to proceed: (...)
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  15. added 2018-10-14
    The Problem of Pluralism in Contemporary Naturalism.Harry Ruja & Monroe H. Shapiro - 1949 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 10 (1):65-72.
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  16. added 2018-09-04
    Various Ways to Understand Other Minds: Towards a Pluralistic Approach to the Explanation of Social Understanding.Anika Fiebich & Max Coltheart - 2015 - Mind and Language 30 (3):235-258.
    In this article, we propose a pluralistic approach to the explanation of social understanding that integrates literature from social psychology with the theory of mind debate. Social understanding in everyday life is achieved in various ways. As a rule of thumb we propose that individuals make use of whatever procedure is cognitively least demanding to them in a given context. Aside from theory and simulation, associations of behaviors with familiar agents play a crucial role in social understanding. This role has (...)
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  17. added 2018-09-04
    Unification and Explanation.Erik Weber & Maarten Van Dyck - 2002 - Synthese 131 (1):145 - 154.
    In this article we criticize two recent articles that examinethe relation between explanation and unification. Halonen and Hintikka (1999), on the one hand,claim that no unification is explanation. Schurz (1999), on the other hand, claims that all explanationis unification. We give counterexamples to both claims. We propose a pluralistic approach to the problem:explanation sometimes consists in unification, but in other cases different kinds of explanation(e.g., causal explanation) are required; and none of these kinds is more fundamental.
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  18. added 2018-08-18
    Pluralism in Scientific Problem Solving. Why Inconsistency is No Big Deal.Diderik Batens - 2017 - Humana Mente 10 (32):149-177.
    Pluralism has many meanings. An assessment of the need for logical pluralism with respect to scientific knowledge requires insights in its domain of application. So first a specific form of epistemic pluralism will be defended. Knowledge turns out a patchwork of knowledge chunks. These serve descriptive as well as evaluative functions, may have competitors within the knowledge system, interact with each other, and display a characteristic dynamics caused by new information as well as by mutual readjustment. Logics play a role (...)
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  19. added 2018-08-18
    Pluralism in Scientific Problem Solving. Why Inconsistency is No Big Deal.Diderik Batens - 2017 - Humana Mente 10 (32).
    Pluralism has many meanings. An assessment of the need for logical pluralism with respect to scientific knowledge requires insights in its domain of application. So first a specific form of epistemic pluralism will be defended. Knowledge turns out a patchwork of knowledge chunks. These serve descriptive as well as evaluative functions, may have competitors within the knowledge system, interact with each other, and display a characteristic dynamics caused by new information as well as by mutual readjustment. Logics play a role (...)
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  20. added 2018-08-18
    Extra-Academic Transdisciplinarity and Scientific Pluralism: What Might They Learn From One Another?Inkeri Koskinen & Uskali Mäki - 2016 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 6 (3):419-444.
    The paper looks at challenges related to the ideas of integration and knowledge systems in extra-academic transdisciplinarity. Philosophers of science are only starting to pay attention to the increasingly common practice of introducing extra-academic perspectives or engaging extra-academic parties in academic knowledge production. So far the rather scant philosophical discussion on the subject has mainly concentrated on the question whether such engagement is beneficial in science or not. Meanwhile, there is quite a large and growing literature on extra-academic TD, mostly (...)
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  21. added 2018-08-18
    Perspectival Pluralism.Ronald Giere - 2006 - In ¸ Itekellersetal:Sp. pp. 26--41.
    In this paper I explore the extent to which a perspectival understanding of scientific knowledge supports forms of “scientific pluralism.” I will not initially attempt to formulate a general characterization of either perspectivism or scientific pluralism. I assume only that both are opposed to two extreme views. The one extreme is a (monistic) metaphysical realism according to which there is in principle one true and complete theory of everything. The other extreme is a constructivist relativism according to which scientific claims (...)
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  22. added 2018-08-18
    On the Analogy Between Cognitive Representation and Truth.Mauricio Suárez & Albert Solé - 2006 - Theoria 21 (1):39-48.
    In this paper we claim that the notion of cognitive representation (and scientific representation in particular) is irreducibly plural. By means of an analogy with the minimalist conception of truth, we show thatthis pluralism is compatible with a generally deflationary attitude towards representation. We then explore the extent and nature of representational pluralism by discussing the positive and negative analogies between the inferential conception of representation advocated by one of us and the minimalist conception of truth.
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  23. added 2018-08-18
    Pluralism, Indeterminacy and the Social Sciences: Reply to Ingram and Meehan. [REVIEW]James Bohman - 1997 - Human Studies 20 (4):441-458.
    This article defends methodological and theoretical pluralism in the social sciences. While pluralistic, such a philosophy of social science is both pragmatic and normative. Only by facing the problems of such pluralism, including how to resolve the potential conflicts between various methods and theories, is it possible to discover appropriate criteria of adequacy for social scientific explanations and interpretations. So conceived, the social sciences do not give us fixed and universal features of the social world, but rather contribute to the (...)
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  24. added 2018-08-12
    Framing Causal Questions About the Past: The Cambrian Explosion as Case Study.Greg Priest - 2017 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 63:55-63.
    About 540 million years ago, a rapid radiation of animal phyla radically changed the Earth’s biota in a geological eye-blink. What caused this “Cambrian explosion”? Over the years, paleontologists have pointed to a wide array of different physical mechanisms as the causal “trigger” for the explosion. More recently, some paleontologists have proposed complex causal pathways to which multiple physical mechanisms are said to have contributed. Despite their variety, these answers share an assumption that a single explanation can in principle be (...)
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  25. added 2018-08-08
    Explanation is a Genus: An Essay on the Varieties of Scientific Explanation.Mariam Thalos - 2002 - Synthese 130 (3):317-354.
    I shall endeavor to show that every physical theory since Newton explainswithout drawing attention to causes–that, in other words, physical theories as physical theories aspire to explain under an ideal quite distinctfrom that of causal explanation. If I am right, then even if sometimes theexplanations achieved by a physical theory are not in violation ofthe standard of causal explanation, this is purely an accident. For physicaltheories, as I will show, do not, as such, aim at accommodating the goals oraspirations of (...)
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  26. added 2018-07-23
    Pluralistic Mechanism.Abel Wajnerman Paz - 2017 - Theoria : An International Journal for Theory, History and Fundations of Science 32 (2).
    An argument recently proposed by Chirimuuta seems to motivate the rejection of the claims that every neurocognitive phenomenon can have a mechanistic explanation and that every neurocognitive explanation is mechanistic. In this paper, I focus on efficient coding models involving the so-called “canonical neural computations” and argue that although they imply some form of pluralism, they are compatible with two mechanistic generalizations: all neurocognitive explanations are mechanistic; and all neurocognitive phenomena that have an explanation have a purely mechanistic explanation.
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  27. added 2018-07-12
    A Pluralist Account of Non-Causal Explanation in Science and Mathematics.Juha Saatsi - 2018 - Metascience 27 (1):3-9.
    Contribution to a review symposium on Marc Lange's Because without cause: Non-causal explanation in science and mathematics. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017.
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  28. added 2018-07-12
    Coordinated Pluralism as a Means to Facilitate Integrative Taxonomies of Cognition.Jacqueline Anne Sullivan - 2017 - Philosophical Explorations 20 (2):129-145.
    The past decade has witnessed a growing awareness of conceptual and methodological hurdles within psychology and neuroscience that must be addressed for taxonomic and explanatory progress in understanding psychological functions to be possible. In this paper, I evaluate several recent knowledge-building initiatives aimed at overcoming these obstacles. I argue that while each initiative offers important insights about how to facilitate taxonomic and explanatory progress in psychology and neuroscience, only a “coordinated pluralism” that incorporates positive aspects of each initiative will have (...)
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  29. added 2018-07-12
    Does IBE Require a "Model" of Explanation?Frank Cabrera - 2017 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science:axy010.
    In this paper, I consider an important challenge to the popular theory of scientific inference commonly known as “Inference to the Best Explanation” (IBE), one which has received scant attention. The problem is that there exists a wide array of rival models of explanation, thus leaving IBE objectionably indeterminate. First, I briefly introduce IBE. Then, I motivate the problem and offer three potential solutions, the most plausible of which is to adopt a kind of pluralism about the rival models of (...)
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  30. added 2018-07-12
    The Variety of Explanations in the Higgs Sector.Michael Stöltzner - 2017 - Synthese 194 (2).
    This paper argues that there is no single universal conception of scientific explanation that is consistently employed throughout the whole domain of Higgs physics—ranging from the successful experimental search for a standard model Higgs particle and the hitherto unsuccessful searches for any particles beyond the standard model, to phenomenological model builders in the Higgs sector and theoretical physicists interested in how the core principles of quantum field theory apply to spontaneous symmetry breaking and the Higgs mechanism. Yet the coexistence of (...)
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  31. added 2018-07-12
    Games, Pluralism, and Scientific Explanation.Raoul Gervais - 2017 - Metascience 26 (1):87-89.
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  32. added 2018-07-12
    Equivalent Explanations and Mathematical Realism. Reply to “Evidence, Explanation, and Enhanced Indispensability”.Andrea Sereni - 2016 - Synthese 193 (2):423-434.
    The author of “Evidence, Explanation, Enhanced Indispensability” advances a criticism to the Enhanced Indispensability Argument and the use of Inference to the Best Explanation in order to draw ontological conclusions from mathematical explanations in science. His argument relies on the availability of equivalent though competing explanations, and a pluralist stance on explanation. I discuss whether pluralism emerges as a stable position, and focus here on two main points: whether cases of equivalent explanations have been actually offered, and which ontological consequences (...)
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  33. added 2018-07-12
    Monism and Pluralism.Eden Lin - 2016 - In Guy Fletcher (ed.), The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Well-Being. Routledge. pp. 331-41.
    I argue that the distinction between monism and pluralism about well-being should be understood in terms of explanation: the monist affirms (but the pluralist denies) that whenever two particular things are basically good for you, the explanation of their basic goodness for you is the same. I then consider a number of arguments for monism and a number of arguments for pluralism.
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  34. added 2018-07-12
    What Is an Immature Science?Ruth Hibbert - 2016 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 30 (1):1-17.
    Cognitive and social sciences such as psychology and sociology are often described as immature sciences. But what is immaturity? According to the received view, immaturity is disunity, where disunity can usefully be cashed out in terms of having a plurality of disunified frameworks in play, where these frameworks consist of concepts, theories, goals, practices, methods, criteria for what counts as a good explanation, etc. However, there are some reasons to think that the cognitive and social sciences should be disunified in (...)
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  35. added 2018-07-12
    Towards Democratic Models of Science. Exploring the Case of Scientific Pluralism.Jeroen Van Bouwel - 2015 - Perspectives on Science 23 (2):149-172.
    Scientific pluralism, a normative endorsement of the plurality or multiplicity of research approaches in science, has recently been advocated by several philosophers (e.g., Kellert et al. 2006, Kitcher 2001, Longino 2013, Mitchell 2009, and Chang 2010). Comparing these accounts of scientific pluralism, one will encounter quite some variation. We want to clarify the different interpretations of scientific pluralism by showing how they incarnate different models of democracy, stipulating the desired interaction among the plurality of research approaches in different ways. Furthermore, (...)
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  36. added 2018-07-12
    The Plurality of Explanatory Games.C. Mantzavinos - 2015 - In Gianluca Manzo (ed.), Theories and Social Mechanisms. pp. 325-335.
  37. added 2018-07-12
    Explanatory Games.C. Mantzavinos - 2013 - Journal of Philosophy 110 (11):606-632.
    A philosophical theory of explanation should provide solutions to a series of problems, both descriptive and normative. The aim of this essay is to establish the claim that this can be best done if one theorizes in terms of explanatory games rather than focusing on the explication of the concept of explanation. The position that is adopted is that of an explanatory pluralism and it is elaborated in terms of the rules that incorporate the normative standards that guide the processes (...)
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  38. added 2018-07-12
    Pluralism or Unity in Biology: Could Microbes Hold the Secret to Life?Carol E. Cleland - 2013 - Biology and Philosophy 28 (2):189-204.
    Pluralism is popular among philosophers of biology. This essay argues that negative judgments about universal biology, while understandable, are very premature. Familiar life on Earth represents a single example of life and, most importantly, there are empirical as well as theoretical reasons for suspecting that it may be unrepresentative. Scientifically compelling generalizations about the unity of life must await the discovery of forms of life descended from an alternative origin, the most promising candidate being the discovery of extraterrestrial life. Nonetheless, (...)
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  39. added 2018-07-12
    Essay Review: Scientific Pluralism*Stephen H. Kellert, Helen E. Longino, and C. Kenneth Waters, Eds., Scientific Pluralism. Minnesota Studies in the Philosophy of Science, Vol. 19. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press , Xxix+248 Pp., $50.00. [REVIEW]Jordi Cat - 2012 - Philosophy of Science 79 (2):317-325.
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  40. added 2018-07-12
    Hierarchy, Causation and Explanation: Ubiquity, Locality, and Pluralism.Alan C. Love - 2012 - Interface Focus 2 (1):115–125..
    The ubiquity of top-down causal explanations within and across the sciences is prima facie evidence for the existence of top-down causation. Much debate has been focused on whether top-down causation is coherent or in conflict with reductionism. Less attention has been given to the question of whether these representations of hierarchical relations pick out a single, common hierarchy. A negative answer to this question undermines a commonplace view that the world is divided into stratified ‘levels’ of organization and suggests that (...)
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  41. added 2018-07-12
    Essay Review:Scientific Pluralism* Stephen H. Kellert , Helen E. Longino , and C. Kenneth Waters , Eds., Scientific Pluralism . Minnesota Studies in the Philosophy of Science, Vol. 19. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press (2006), Xxix+248 Pp., $50.00 (Cloth). [REVIEW]Jordi Cat - 2012 - Philosophy of Science 79 (2):317-325.
  42. added 2018-07-12
    Causation and Explanation in Aristotle.Nathanael Stein - 2011 - Philosophy Compass 6 (10):699-707.
    Aristotle thinks that we understand something when we know its causes. According to Aristotle but contrary to most recent approaches, causation and explanation cannot be understood separately. Aristotle complicates matters by claiming that there are four causes, which have come to be known as the formal, material, final, and efficient causes. To understand Aristotelian causation and its relationship to explanation, then, we must come to a precise understanding of the four causes, and how they are supposed to be explanatory. Aristotle’s (...)
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  43. added 2018-07-12
    Levels of Explanation Reconceived.Angela Potochnik - 2010 - Philosophy of Science 77 (1):59-72.
    A common argument against explanatory reductionism is that higher‐level explanations are sometimes or always preferable because they are more general than reductive explanations. Here I challenge two basic assumptions that are needed for that argument to succeed. It cannot be assumed that higher‐level explanations are more general than their lower‐level alternatives or that higher‐level explanations are general in the right way to be explanatory. I suggest a novel form of pluralism regarding levels of explanation, according to which explanations at different (...)
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  44. added 2018-07-12
    Causation, Unification, and the Adequacy of Explanations of Facts.Erik Weber & Jeroen Van Bouwel - 2009 - Theoria : An International Journal for Theory, History and Fundations of Science 24 (3):301-320.
    Pluralism with respect to the structure of explanations of facts is not uncommon. The pluralism which Salmon and others have defended is compatible with several positions about the exact re-lation between these two types of explanations. We distinguish four such positions, and argue in favour of one of them. We also compare our results with the views of some authors who have recently written on this subject.
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  45. added 2018-07-12
    Understanding in Political Science: The Plurality of Epistemic Interests.Jeroen Van Bouwel - 2009 - In Henk De Regt, Sabina Leonelli & Kai Eigner (eds.), Scientific Understanding: Philosophical Perspectives. University of Pittsburgh Press.
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  46. added 2018-07-12
    Review of Stephen H. Kellert, Helen E. Longino, C. Kenneth Waters (Eds.), Scientific Pluralism[REVIEW]David L. Hull - 2008 - Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2008 (5).
  47. added 2018-07-12
    Jeroen Van bouwel.Explanatory Pluralism - 2008 - In Edward Fullbrook (ed.), Pluralist Economics. Distributed in the Usa Exclusively by Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 151.
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  48. added 2018-07-12
    Scientific Pluralism. Minnesota Studies in the Philosophy of Science. Vol. 19 by Stephen H. Kellert, Helen E. Longino, C. Kenneth Waters. [REVIEW]Thomas V. Cunningham - 2008 - The Pluralist 3 (1):132-137.
  49. added 2018-07-12
    Scientific Pluralism. Minnesota Studies in the Philosophy of Science. Vol. 19.Stephen H. Kellert, Helen E. Longino & C. Kenneth Waters - 2008 - The Pluralist 3 (1):132-137.
  50. added 2018-07-12
    Stephen Kellert, Helen Longino and Kenneth Waters, Eds. Scientific Pluralism. Minnesota Studies in the Philosophy of Science, Volume XIX. [REVIEW]Micheal Mcewan - 2007 - Philosophy in Review 27:353-355.
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