Authors
Richard J. Fry
Rutgers University - New Brunswick
Abstract
It is an open question whether we ever successfully explain earlier states by appealing to later ones, and, further, whether this is even possible. Typically, these two questions are answered in the same way: if we give and accept ‘backwards explanations,’ they must be possible; if they are impossible, we are right to reject them. I argue that backwards explanations are brittle—they fail if the future event does not occur—and this is part of the reason they are not accepted about the actual world. This does not mean, however, that they must be rejected entirely. I argue that backwards explanations are possible for certain systems. This shields unificationism about scientific explanation from some recent criticisms
Keywords Explanation  Unificationism  Backward explanation  Prediction  Retrodiction
Categories (categorize this paper)
ISBN(s)
DOI 10.1007/s13194-015-0121-1
Options
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: 65,587
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Objects and Persons.Trenton Merricks - 2001 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Studies in the Logic of Explanation.Carl Gustav Hempel & Paul Oppenheim - 1948 - Philosophy of Science 15 (2):135-175.
Explanation and Scientific Understanding.Michael Friedman - 1974 - Journal of Philosophy 71 (1):5-19.
Scientific Explanation.Philip Kitcher & Wesley Salmon (eds.) - 1962 - Univ of Minnesota Pr.

View all 11 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Backwards Explanation.C. S. Jenkins & Daniel Nolan - 2008 - Philosophical Studies 140 (1):103 - 115.
Unification and Explanation.Erik Weber & Maarten Van Dyck - 2002 - Synthese 131 (1):145 - 154.
Causal Patterns and Adequate Explanations.Angela Potochnik - 2015 - Philosophical Studies 172 (5):1163-1182.
Reintroducing Prediction to Explanation.Heather E. Douglas - 2009 - Philosophy of Science 76 (4):444-463.
A Defense of a Unificationist Theory of Explanation.Rebecca Schweder - 2005 - Foundations of Science 10 (4):421-435.
Functional Explanation in Biology.Arno Wouters - 2005 - Poznan Studies in the Philosophy of the Sciences and the Humanities 84 (1):269-293.
The Impossibility of Backwards Causation.Hanoch Ben-Yami - 2007 - Philosophical Quarterly 57 (228):439–455.
Unification, Deduction, and History: A Reply to Steel.Todd Jones - 1998 - Philosophy of Science 65 (4):672-681.
The Instrumental Value of Explanations.Tania Lombrozo - 2011 - Philosophy Compass 6 (8):539-551.
Viability Explanation.Arno Wouters - 1995 - Biology and Philosophy 10 (4):435-457.
Unification, Explanation and Explaining Unity: The Fisher–Wright Controversy.Margaret Morrison - 2006 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 57 (1):233-245.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2015-07-22

Total views
38 ( #288,651 of 2,461,942 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #448,599 of 2,461,942 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes