A deductive-nomological model of probabilistic explanation

Philosophy of Science 45 (2):206-226 (1978)
  Copy   BIBTEX


It has been the dominant view that probabilistic explanations of particular facts must be inductive in character. I argue here that this view is mistaken, and that the aim of probabilistic explanation is not to demonstrate that the explanandum fact was nomically expectable, but to give an account of the chance mechanism(s) responsible for it. To this end, a deductive-nomological model of probabilistic explanation is developed and defended. Such a model has application only when the probabilities occurring in covering laws can be interpreted as measures of objective chance, expressing the strength of physical propensities. Unlike inductive models of probabilistic explanation, this deductive model stands in no need of troublesome requirements of maximal specificity or epistemic relativization



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 91,322

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Scientific explanation: A critical survey.Gerhard Schurz - 1995 - Foundations of Science 1 (3):429-465.
Probabilistic Explanation and Probabilistic Causality.Joseph F. Hanna - 1982 - PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1982:181 - 193.
Probabilistic Explanations.James H. Fetzer - 1982 - PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1982:194-207.


Added to PP

346 (#55,749)

6 months
32 (#100,983)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Peter Railton
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

Citations of this work

Perspectival pluralism for animal welfare.Walter Veit & Heather Browning - 2021 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 11 (1):1-14.
Explanatory unification.Philip Kitcher - 1981 - Philosophy of Science 48 (4):507-531.
Rethinking mechanistic explanation.Stuart Glennan - 2002 - Proceedings of the Philosophy of Science Association 2002 (3):S342-353.
Rethinking Mechanistic Explanation.Stuart Glennan - 2002 - Philosophy of Science 69 (S3):S342-S353.
The naturalists return.Philip Kitcher - 1992 - Philosophical Review 101 (1):53-114.

View all 118 citations / Add more citations

References found in this work

Add more references