Synthese 190 (16):3495-3510 (2013)

Authors
Sue Lock
University of Glasgow
Jane Lavelle
University of Edinburgh
George Steven Botterill
University of Sheffield
Abstract
We often explain by citing an absence or an omission. Apart from the problem of assigning a causal role to such apparently negative factors as absences and omissions, there is a puzzle as to why only some absences and omissions, out of indefinitely many, should figure in explanations. In this paper we solve this ’many absences problem’ by using the contrastive model of explanation. The contrastive model of explanation is developed by adapting Peter Lipton’s account. What initially appears to be only a trivial amendment to Lipton’s Difference Condition enables us both to offer a much more satisfactory solution to the ’many absences problem’ than David Lewis did, and also to explain why explanation in terms of absences and omissions should be so common
Keywords Explanation  Causation  Omission  Absence  Contrast  Difference condition  Counterfactual
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DOI 10.1007/s11229-012-0205-9
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References found in this work BETA

Inference to the Best Explanation.Peter Lipton - 1993 - Routledge/Taylor and Francis Group.
Causation as Influence.David K. Lewis - 2000 - Journal of Philosophy 97 (4):182-197.
The Scientific Image.Michael Friedman - 1982 - Journal of Philosophy 79 (5):274-283.
The Scientific Image.William Demopoulos & Bas C. van Fraassen - 1982 - Philosophical Review 91 (4):603.

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Citations of this work BETA

Counterfactuals and Counterparts: Defending a Neo-Humean Theory of Causation.Neil McDonnell - 2015 - Dissertation, Macquarie University and University of Glasgow
Dispositional Explanations in Dualism.Janko Nesic - 2013 - Filozofija I Društvo 24 (4):218-241.

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