On the alleged extensionality of "causal explanatory contexts"

Philosophy of Science 45 (4):614-625 (1978)
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In a recent paper, Michael Levin argues that both statements reporting causal relations and causal explanatory statements are extensional. We show that his argument for the extensionality of causal explanatory statements fails to establish that conclusion. His claim that certain 'because' statements are elliptical for statements of what he terms the 'causal explanatory' form is unsubstantiated. The argument for the referential transparency of the allegedly explanatory form, regardless of whether it is a distinct explanatory form, fails because of scope problems. Finally, we argue that the apparent referential opacity of explanations, the attribution of certain kinds of properties to explanations, and our satisfaction with explanations in what appear to be disparate forms are best accounted for, not by the assumption of ellipticality of statements in various forms for statements in some inherently explanatory form, but rather by an account of explanation as a speech act, the success or failure of which may be affected by which of several co-referring expressions is employed



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Citations of this work

Anaphoric reference to facts, propositions, and events.Philip L. Peterson - 1982 - Linguistics and Philosophy 5 (2):235 - 276.
What causes effects?Philip L. Peterson - 1981 - Philosophical Studies 39 (2):107 - 139.
Lavoisier's slow burn.Michael E. Levin & Margarita R. Levin - 1978 - Philosophy of Science 45 (4):626-629.

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References found in this work

Causal relations.Donald Davidson - 1967 - Journal of Philosophy 64 (21):691-703.
Causation as explanation.Michael Scriven - 1975 - Noûs 9 (1):3-16.
Causality and extensionality.G. E. M. Anscombe - 1969 - Journal of Philosophy 66 (6):152-159.
Actions and Events: The Problem of Individuation.Monroe C. Beardsley - 1975 - American Philosophical Quarterly 12 (4):263 - 276.

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