Erkenntnis 80 (S3):469-489 (2015)

Abstract
The most compelling extant accounts of explanation casts all explanations as causal. Yet there are sciences, theoretical population biology in particular, that explain their phenomena by appeal to statistical, non-causal properties of ensembles. I develop a generalised account of explanation. An explanation serves two functions: metaphysical and cognitive. The metaphysical function is discharged by identifying a counterfactually robust invariance relation between explanans event and explanandum. The cognitive function is discharged by providing an appropriate description of this relation. I offer examples of explanations from portfolio theory and population genetics that meet this characterisation. In each case the invariance relation holds between a statistical property of an ensemble and a change in structure of the ensemble. In neither case, however, does the statistical property cause the outcome it explains. There are genuine statistical, non-causal scientific explanations
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DOI 10.1007/s10670-014-9680-3
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References found in this work BETA

Thinking About Mechanisms.Peter Machamer, Lindley Darden & Carl F. Craver - 2000 - Philosophy of Science 67 (1):1-25.
Causality: Models, Reasoning and Inference.Judea Pearl - 2000 - Cambridge University Press.

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Citations of this work BETA

Four Pillars of Statisticalism.Denis M. Walsh, André Ariew & Mohan Matthen - 2017 - Philosophy, Theory, and Practice in Biology 9 (1):1-18.
A Critical Review of the Statisticalist Debate.Jun Otsuka - 2016 - Biology and Philosophy 31 (4):459-482.
Philosophy of Money and Finance.Boudewijn De Bruin, Lisa Maria Herzog, Martin O'Neill & Joakim Sandberg - 2018 - In Edward Zalta (ed.), Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Palo Alto: Metaphysics Research Lab, Stanford University.
Autonomous-Statistical Explanations and Natural Selection: Figure 1.André Ariew, Collin Rice & Yasha Rohwer - 2015 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 66 (3):635-658.
Mechanism and Purpose: A Case for Natural Teleology.Denis Walsh - 2012 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 43 (1):173-181.

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