Philosophy of Science 81 (5):1157-1170 (2014)

Alexander Reutlinger
Ludwig Maximilians Universität, München
Renormalization group (RG) methods are an established strategy to explain how it is possible that microscopically different systems exhibit virtually the same macro behavior when undergoing phase-transitions. I argue – in agreement with Robert Batterman – that RG explanations are non-causal explanations. However, Batterman misidentifies the reason why RG explanations are non-causal: it is not the case that an explanation is non- causal if it ignores causal details. I propose an alternative argument, according to which RG explanations are non-causal explanations because their explanatory power is due to the application mathematical operations, which do not serve the purpose of representing causal relations.
Keywords Explanation  Non-causal explanation  Universality  renormalization group
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Reprint years 2013, 2014
DOI 10.1086/677887
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Explaining the Brain.Carl F. Craver - 2009 - Oxford University Press.

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