Synthese 190 (15):3087-3105 (2012)

Robert Northcott
Birkbeck, University of London
Partial explanations are everywhere. That is, explanations citing causes that explain some but not all of an effect are ubiquitous across science, and these in turn rely on the notion of degree of explanation. I argue that current accounts are seriously deficient. In particular, they do not incorporate adequately the way in which a cause’s explanatory importance varies with choice of explanandum. Using influential recent contrastive theories, I develop quantitative definitions that remedy this lacuna, and relate it to existing measures of degree of causation. Among other things, this reveals the precise role here of chance, as well as bearing on the relation between causal explanation and causation itself
Keywords Causation  Explanation  Explanandum-dependence  Degree of explanation  Causal strength  Probability
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Reprint years 2013
DOI 10.1007/s11229-012-0124-9
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References found in this work BETA

The Scientific Image.C. Van Fraassen Bas - 1980 - Oxford University Press.
Causality: Models, Reasoning and Inference.Judea Pearl - 2000 - Cambridge University Press.
Making Things Happen. A Theory of Causal Explanation.Michael Strevens - 2007 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 74 (1):233-249.
The Scientific Image.Michael Friedman - 1982 - Journal of Philosophy 79 (5):274-283.

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Citations of this work BETA

It’s Just A Feeling: Why Economic Models Do Not Explain.Anna Alexandrova & Robert Northcott - 2013 - Journal of Economic Methodology 20 (3):262 - 267.
Causal Contribution.Alex Kaiserman - 2016 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 116 (3):387-394.

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