In Defense of Explanatory Ecumenicalism

Economics and Philosophy 8 (1):1--21 (1992)
Authors
Frank Jackson
Australian National University
Abstract
Many of the things that we try to explain, in both our common sense and our scientific engagement with the world, are capable of being explained more or less finely: that is, with greater or lesser attention to the detail of the producing mechanism. A natural assumption, pervasive if not always explicit, is that other things being equal, the more finegrained an explanation, the better. Thus, Jon Elster, who also thinks there are instrumental reasons for wanting a more fine-grained explanation, assumes that in any case the mere fact of getting nearer the detail of production makes such an explanation intrinsically superior: “a more detailed explanation is also an end in itself” (Elster 1985, p. 5). Michael Taylor (1988, p. 96) agrees: “A good explanation should be, amongst other things, as fine-grained as possible.”
Keywords Methodology
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DOI 10.1017/S0266267100000468
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References found in this work BETA

Philosophical Papers Vol. II.Lewis David - 1986 - Oxford University Press.
The Common Mind.Philip Pettit - 1993 - Oxford University Press.
Nuts and Bolts for the Social Sciences.Jon Elster - 1989 - Cambridge University Press.

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Citations of this work BETA

What Makes a Scientific Explanation Distinctively Mathematical?Marc Lange - 2013 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 64 (3):485-511.
No Understanding Without Explanation.Michael Strevens - 2013 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 44 (3):510-515.
Response to Strevens.Jim Woodward - 2008 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 77 (1):193-212.

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