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  1. added 2019-06-12
    The Aim and Structure of Ecological Theory.Marcel Weber - 1999 - Philosophy of Science 66 (1):71-93.
    I present an attempt at an explication of the ecological theory of interspecific competition, including its explanatory role in community ecology and evolutionary biology. The account given is based on the idea that law-like statements play an important role in scientific theories of this kind. I suggest that the principle of competitive exclusion is such a law, and that it is evolutionarily invariant. The principle's empirical status is defended and implications for the ongoing debates on the existence of biological laws (...)
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  2. added 2019-06-06
    Van Fraassen’s (Mis)Use of Aristotle in Theory of Explanation.Timothy DeibIer - 1989 - Southwest Philosophy Review 5 (1):55-61.
  3. added 2019-06-04
    Robust Processes and Teleological Language.Jonathan Birch - 2012 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 2 (3):299-312.
    I consider some hitherto unexplored examples of teleological language in the sciences. In explicating these examples, I aim to show (a) that such language is not the sole preserve of the biological sciences, and (b) that not all such talk is reducible to the ascription of functions. In chemistry and biochemistry, scientists explaining molecular rearrangements and protein folding talk informally of molecules rearranging “in order to” maximize stability. Evolutionary biologists, meanwhile, often speak of traits evolving “in order to” optimize some (...)
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  4. added 2019-04-03
    Questions and Answers: Metaphysical Explanation and the Structure of Reality.Naomi Thompson - 2019 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association 5 (1):98-116.
  5. added 2018-12-01
    The Disastrous Implications of the 'English' View of Rationality in a Social World.Seungbae Park - 2019 - Social Epistemology 33 (1):88-99.
    Van Fraassen (2007, 2017) consistently uses the English view of rationality to parry criticisms from scientific realists. I assume for the sake of argument that the English view of rationality is tenable, and then argue that it has disastrous implications for van Fraassen’s (1980) contextual theory of explanation, for the empiricist position that T is empirically adequate, and for scientific progress. If you invoke the English view of rationality to rationally disbelieve that your epistemic colleagues’ theories are true, they might, (...)
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  6. added 2018-03-15
    Scientific Explanation: Putting Communication First.Angela Potochnik - 2016 - Philosophy of Science 83 (5):721-732.
    Scientific explanations must bear the proper relationship to the world: they must depict what, out in the world, is responsible for the explanandum. But explanations must also bear the proper relationship to their audience: they must be able to create human understanding. With few exceptions, philosophical accounts of explanation either ignore entirely the relationship between explanations and their audience or else demote this consideration to an ancillary role. In contrast, I argue that considering an explanation’s communicative role is crucial to (...)
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  7. added 2018-02-17
    Explaining Explanation.David-Hillel Ruben - 1990 - Routledge.
    This book introduces readers to the topic of explanation. The insights of Plato, Aristotle, J.S. Mill and Carl Hempel are examined, and are used to argue against the view that explanation is merely a problem for the philosophy of science. Having established its importance for understanding knowledge in general, the book concludes with a bold and original explanation of explanation.
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  8. added 2016-03-04
    Empiricism, Objectivity, and Explanation.Elisabeth A. Lloyd & Carl G. Anderson - 1993 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 18 (1):121-131.
    We sley Salmon, in his influential and detailed book, Four Decades of Scientific Explanation, argues that the pragmatic approach to scientific explanation, “construed as the claim that scientific explanation can be explicated entirely in pragmatic terms” (1989, 185) is inadequate. The specific inadequacy ascribed to a pragmatic account is that objective relevance relations cannot be incorporated into such an account. Salmon relies on the arguments given in Kitcher and Salmon (1987) to ground this objection. He also suggests that Peter Railton’s (...)
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  9. added 2016-02-27
    Can Subcellular Organization Be Explained Only by Physical Principles?Guenther Witzany & Frantisek Baluska - 2015 - Communicative and Integrative Biology 8 (4):e1009796.
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  10. added 2015-11-26
    Some Epistemological Problems with the Knowledge Level in Cognitive Architectures.Antonio Lieto - 2015 - In Proceedings of AISC 2015, 12th Italian Conference on Cognitive Science, Genoa, 10-12 December 2015, Italy. NeaScience.
    This article addresses an open problem in the area of cognitive systems and architectures: namely the problem of handling (in terms of processing and reasoning capabilities) complex knowledge structures that can be at least plausibly comparable, both in terms of size and of typology of the encoded information, to the knowledge that humans process daily for executing everyday activities. Handling a huge amount of knowledge, and selectively retrieve it according to the needs emerging in different situational scenarios, is an important (...)
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  11. added 2015-09-04
    The Meta-Explanatory Question.L. R. Franklin-Hall - manuscript
    Philosophical theories of explanation characterize the difference between correct and incorrect explanations. While remaining neutral as to which of these ‘first-order’ theories is right, this paper asks the ‘meta-explanatory’ question: is the difference between correct and incorrect explanation real, i.e., objective or mind-independent? After offering a framework for distinguishing realist from anti-realist views, I sketch three distinct paths to explanatory anti-realism.
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  12. added 2014-03-21
    Erotetic Contextualism, Data-Generating Procedures, and Sociological Explanations of Social Mobility.Kareem Khalifa - 2004 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 34 (1):38-54.
    Critics of the erotetic model of explanation question its ability to discriminate significant from spurious explanations. One response to these criticisms has been to impose contextual restrictions on a case-by-case basis. In this article, the author argues that these approaches have overestimated the role of interests at the expense of other contextual aspects characteristic of social-scientific explanation. For this reason, he shows how procedures of measuring occupational status and social mobility affected different aspects of one explanation that Peter Blau and (...)
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  13. added 2014-03-07
    Contrastive Explanations as Social Accounts.Kareem Khalifa - 2010 - Social Epistemology 24 (4):263-284.
    Explanatory contrastivists hold that we often explain phenomena of the form p rather than q. In this paper, I present a new, social‐epistemological model of contrastive explanation—accountabilism. Specifically, my view is inspired by social‐scientific research that treats explanations fundamentally as accounts; that is, communicative actions that restore one's social status when charged with questionable behaviour. After developing this model, I show how accountabilism provides a more comprehensive model of contrastive explanation than the causal models of contrastive explanation that are currently (...)
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  14. added 2014-02-22
    Causal and Constitutive Explanation Compared.Petri Ylikoski - 2013 - Erkenntnis 78 (2):277-297.
    This article compares causal and constitutive explanation. While scientific inquiry usually addresses both causal and constitutive questions, making the distinction is crucial for a detailed understanding of scientific questions and their interrelations. These explanations have different kinds of explananda and they track different sorts of dependencies. Constitutive explanations do not address events or behaviors, but causal capacities. While there are some interesting relations between building and causal manipulation, causation and constitution are not to be confused. Constitution is a synchronous and (...)
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  15. added 2014-02-22
    The Illusion of Depth of Understanding in Science.Petri Ylikoski - 2009 - In Henk De Regt, Sabina Leonelli & Kai Eigner (eds.), Scientific Understanding: Philosophical Perspectives. University of Pittsburgh Press. pp. 100--119.
    In this chapter I will employ a well-known scientific research heuristic that studies how something works by focusing on circumstances in which it does not work. Rather than trying to describe what scientific understanding would ideally look like, I will try to learn something about it by observing mundane cases where understanding is partly illusory. My main thesis is that scientists are prone to the illusion of depth of understanding (IDU), and as a consequence they sometimes overestimate the detail, coherence, (...)
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  16. added 2012-08-11
    Explanations Are Like Salted Peanuts. Why You Can't Cut the Route Toward Further Reduction.Daniel Cohnitz - 2002 - In A. Beckermann & C. Nimtz (eds.), Argument und Analyse: Proceedings of GAP4. Mentis.
    Take a look at these four situations: Figure 1 All of these situations have certain features in common: in all of them an explanation is asked for, in all of them an explanation is given, and all these explanations are literally false (although in different ways).
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  17. added 2011-07-08
    Interpretation in the Natural Sciences.Jan Faye - unknown
    Interpretation in science has gained little attention in the past because philosophers of science believed that interpretation belongs to the context of discovery or must be associated with meaning. But scientists often speak about interpretation when they report their findings. Elsewhere I have argue in favour of a pragmatic-rhetorical theory of explanation, and it is in light of this theory that I suggest we can understand interpretation in the natural sciences.
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  18. added 2011-07-08
    The Epistemic Value of Explanation.Andrés Páez - unknown
    In this paper I defend the idea that there is a sense in which it is meaningful and useful to talk about objective understanding, and that to characterize that notion it is necessary to formulate an account of explanation that makes reference to the beliefs and epistemic goals of the participants in a cognitive enterprise. Using the framework for belief revision developed by Isaac Levi, I analyze the conditions that information must fulfill to be both potentially explanatory and epistemically valuable (...)
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  19. added 2011-07-08
    Conflicting Conceptions of Scientific Explanation.Wesley C. Salmon - 1985 - Journal of Philosophy 82 (11):651-654.