Mark Povich
University of Rochester
Batterman and Rice ([2014]) argue that minimal models possess explanatory power that cannot be captured by what they call ‘common features’ approaches to explanation. Minimal models are explanatory, according to Batterman and Rice, not in virtue of accurately representing relevant features, but in virtue of answering three questions that provide a ‘story about why large classes of features are irrelevant to the explanandum phenomenon’ ([2014], p. 356). In this article, I argue, first, that a method (the renormalization group) they propose to answer the three questions cannot answer them, at least not by itself. Second, I argue that answers to the three questions are unnecessary to account for the explanatoriness of their minimal models. Finally, I argue that a common features account, what I call the ‘generalized ontic conception of explanation’, can capture the explanatoriness of minimal models.
Keywords explanation  idealization  minimal models  ontic conception  renormalization group  universality  universality classes  renormalization group explanations  causal explanation  optimality  modelling
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DOI 10.1093/bjps/axw019
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References found in this work BETA

From an Ontological Point of View.John Heil - 2003 - Oxford University Press.

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Citations of this work BETA

Counterfactuals and Explanatory Pluralism.Kareem Khalifa, Gabriel Doble & Jared Millson - 2020 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 71 (4):1439-1460.
The Directionality of Distinctively Mathematical Explanations.Carl F. Craver & Mark Povich - 2017 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 63:31-38.
The Narrow Ontic Counterfactual Account of Distinctively Mathematical Explanation.Mark Povich - 2019 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 72 (2):511-543.
Viewing-as Explanations and Ontic Dependence.William D’Alessandro - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (3):769-792.

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