Philosophical Studies 175 (9):2263-2283 (2018)

Authors
Thomas Blanchard
University of Cologne
Abstract
Much recent work on explanation in the interventionist tradition emphasizes the explanatory value of stable causal generalizations—i.e., causal generalizations that remain true in a wide range of background circumstances. We argue that two separate explanatory virtues are lumped together under the heading of `stability’. We call these two virtues breadth and guidance respectively. In our view, these two virtues are importantly distinct, but this fact is neglected or at least under-appreciated in the literature on stability. We argue that an adequate theory of explanatory goodness should recognize breadth and guidance as distinct virtues, as breadth and guidance track different ideals of explanation, satisfy different cognitive and pragmatic ends, and play different theoretical roles in helping us understand the explanatory value of mechanisms. Thus keeping track of the distinction between these two forms of stability yields a more accurate and perspicuous picture of the role that stability considerations play in explanation.
Keywords Explanation  Stability  Invariance  Interventionism  Mechanisms
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DOI 10.1007/s11098-017-0958-6
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References found in this work BETA

Thinking About Mechanisms.Peter Machamer, Lindley Darden & Carl F. Craver - 2000 - Philosophy of Science 67 (1):1-25.
When Mechanistic Models Explain.Carl F. Craver - 2006 - Synthese 153 (3):355-376.

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Citations of this work BETA

In Defence of Armchair Expertise.Theodore Bach - 2019 - Theoria 85 (5):350-382.
Causes with Material Continuity.Lauren N. Ross - 2021 - Biology and Philosophy 36 (6):1-17.

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