Minimal Model Explanations

Philosophy of Science 81 (3):349-376 (2014)
Authors
Robert W. Batterman
University of Pittsburgh
Abstract
This article discusses minimal model explanations, which we argue are distinct from various causal, mechanical, difference-making, and so on, strategies prominent in the philosophical literature. We contend that what accounts for the explanatory power of these models is not that they have certain features in common with real systems. Rather, the models are explanatory because of a story about why a class of systems will all display the same large-scale behavior because the details that distinguish them are irrelevant. This story explains patterns across extremely diverse systems and shows how minimal models can be used to understand real systems.
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DOI 10.1086/676677
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References found in this work BETA

How the Laws of Physics Lie.Nancy Cartwright - 1983 - Oxford University Press.
When Mechanistic Models Explain.Carl F. Craver - 2006 - Synthese 153 (3):355-376.

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Citations of this work BETA

Understanding Toy Models.Alexander Reutlinger, Dominik Hangleiter & Stephan Hartmann - 2018 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 69 (4):1069-1099.
Explanation in Computational Neuroscience: Causal and Non-Causal.M. Chirimuuta - 2018 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 69 (3):849-880.

View all 43 citations / Add more citations

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