Scientific Explanation between Principle and Constructive Theories

Philosophy of Science 78 (5):989-1000 (2011)

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Abstract
The aim of this paper is to analyse the role that the distinction between principle and constructive theories have in the question of the explanatory power of Special Relativity. We show how the distinction breaks down at the explanatory level. We assess Harvey Brown’s (2005) claim that, as a principle theory, Special Relativity lacks of explanatory power and criticize it, as, we argue, based upon an unrealistic picture of the kind of explanations provided by principle (and constructive) theories. Finally, we claim that the structural account of explanation (Hughes 1989b) captures the explanatory success of Special Relativity.
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DOI 10.1086/662270
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References found in this work BETA

Why Constructive Relativity Fails.John D. Norton - 2008 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 59 (4):821-834.
Relativity Theory Between Structural and Dynamical Explanations.Mauro Dorato - 2006 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 21 (1):95 – 102.
Review: Presentism and Relativity. [REVIEW]Yuri Balashov & Michel Janssen - 2003 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 54 (2):327-346.

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Citations of this work BETA

Physical Relativity From a Functionalist Perspective.Eleanor Knox - forthcoming - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics.
Minkowski Spacetime and Lorentz Invariance: The Cart and the Horse or Two Sides of a Single Coin?Pablo Acuña - 2016 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 55:1-12.

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Presentism and Relativity. [REVIEW]Yuri Balashov & Michel Janssen - 2003 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 54 (2):327-346.
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