Philosophy of Science 76 (4):444-463 (2009)

Heather Douglas
Michigan State University
Although prediction has been largely absent from discussions of explanation for the past 40 years, theories of explanation can gain much from a reintroduction. I review the history that divorced prediction from explanation, examine the proliferation of models of explanation that followed, and argue that accounts of explanation have been impoverished by the neglect of prediction. Instead of a revival of the symmetry thesis, I suggest that explanation should be understood as a cognitive tool that assists us in generating new predictions. This view of explanation and prediction clarifies what makes an explanation scientific and why inference to the best explanation makes sense in science. *Received August 2009; revised September 2009. †To contact the author, please write to: Department of Philosophy, University of Tennessee, 801 McClung Tower, Knoxville, TN 37920‐0480; e‐mail: [email protected]
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1086/648111
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 65,731
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Scientific Progress: Knowledge Versus Understanding.Finnur Dellsén - 2016 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 56:72-83.

View all 37 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles


Added to PP index

Total views
183 ( #59,940 of 2,462,721 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
5 ( #144,374 of 2,462,721 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes