108 found
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  1.  7
    Function Ascription and Explanation: Elaborating an Explanatory Utility Desideratum for Ascriptions of Technical Functions.Dingmar van Eck & Erik Weber - 2014 - Erkenntnis 79 (6):1367-1389.
    Current philosophical theorizing about technical functions is mainly focused on specifying conditions under which agents are justified in ascribing functions to technical artifacts. Yet, assessing the precise explanatory relevance of such function ascriptions is, by and large, a neglected topic in the philosophy of technical artifacts and technical functions. We assess the explanatory utility of ascriptions of technical functions in the following three explanation-seeking contexts: why was artifact x produced?, why does artifact x not have the expected capacity to ϕ?, (...)
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  2.  26
    Plausibility Versus Richness in Mechanistic Models.Raoul Gervais & Erik Weber - 2013 - Philosophical Psychology 26 (1):139-152.
    In this paper we argue that in recent literature on mechanistic explanations, authors tend to conflate two distinct features that mechanistic models can have or fail to have: plausibility and richness. By plausibility, we mean the probability that a model is correct in the assertions it makes regarding the parts and operations of the mechanism, i.e., that the model is correct as a description of the actual mechanism. By richness, we mean the amount of detail the model gives about the (...)
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  3. The IARC and Mechanistic Evidence.Bert Leuridan & Erik Weber - 2011 - In Phyllis Illari, Federica Russo & Jon Williamson (eds.), Causality in the Sciences. Oxford University Press. pp. 91--109.
    The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) is an organization which seeks to identify the causes of human cancer. Per agent, such as betel quid or Human Papillomaviruses, they review the available evidence deriving from epidemiological studies, animal experiments and information about mechanisms (and other data). The evidence of the different groups is combined such that an overall assessment of the carcinogenicity of the agent in question is obtained. In this paper, we critically review the IARC’s carcinogenicity evaluations. First (...)
     
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  4.  36
    How Probabilistic Causation Can Account for the Use of Mechanistic Evidence.Erik Weber - 2009 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 23 (3):277-295.
    In a recent article in this journal, Federica Russo and Jon Williamson argue that an analysis of causality in terms of probabilistic relationships does not do justice to the use of mechanistic evidence to support causal claims. I will present Ronald Giere's theory of probabilistic causation, and show that it can account for the use of mechanistic evidence (both in the health sciences—on which Russo and Williamson focus—and elsewhere). I also review some other probabilistic theories of causation (of Suppes, Eells, (...)
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  5.  43
    A Pragmatist Defense of Non-Relativistic Explanatory Pluralism in History and Social Science.Jeroen van Bouwel & Erik Weber - 2008 - History and Theory 47 (2):168–182.
    Explanatory pluralism has been defended by several philosophers of history and social science, recently, for example, by Tor Egil Førland in this journal. In this article, we provide a better argument for explanatory pluralism, based on the pragmatist idea of epistemic interests. Second, we show that there are three quite different senses in which one can be an explanatory pluralist: one can be a pluralist about questions, a pluralist about answers to questions, and a pluralist about both. We defend the (...)
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  6.  8
    Remote Causes, Bad Explanations?Jeroen van Bouwel & Erik Weber - 2002 - Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour 32 (4):437–449.
  7.  27
    The Covering Law Model Applied to Dynamical Cognitive Science: A Comment on Joel Walmsley.Raoul Gervais & Erik Weber - 2011 - Minds and Machines 21 (1):33-39.
    In a 2008 paper, Walmsley argued that the explanations employed in the dynamical approach to cognitive science, as exemplified by the Haken, Kelso and Bunz model of rhythmic finger movement, and the model of infant preservative reaching developed by Esther Thelen and her colleagues, conform to Carl Hempel and Paul Oppenheim’s deductive-nomological model of explanation (also known as the covering law model). Although we think Walmsley’s approach is methodologically sound in that it starts with an analysis of scientific practice rather (...)
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  8.  27
    Symposium on Explanations and Social Ontology 3: Can We Dispense with Structural Explanations of Social Facts?Erik Weber & Jeroen Van Bouwel - 2002 - Economics and Philosophy 18 (2):259-275.
    Some social scientists and philosophers (e.g., James Coleman and Jon Elster) claim that all social facts are best explained by means of a micro-explanation. They defend a micro-reductionism in the social sciences: to explain is to provide a mechanism on the individual level. The first aim of this paper is to challenge this view and defend the view that it has to be substituted for an explanatory pluralism with two components: (1) structural explanations of P-, O- and T-contrasts between social (...)
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  9.  45
    Social Mechanisms, Causal Inference, and the Policy Relevance of Social Science.Erik Weber - 2007 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 37 (3):348-359.
    The paper has two aims. First, to show that we need social mechanisms to establish the policy relevance of causal claims, even if it is possible to build a good argument for those claims without knowledge of mechanisms. Second, to show that although social scientists can, in principle, do without social mechanisms when they argue for causal claims, in reality scientific practice contexts where they do not need mechanisms are very rare. Key Words: social mechanisms • causal inference • social (...)
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  10. Metaphysical Explanatory Asymmetries.Jan Willem Wieland & Erik Weber - 2010 - Logique and Analyse 53 (211):345-365.
    The general view is that metaphysical explanation is asymmetric. For instance, if resemblance facts can be explained by facts about their relata, then, by the asymmetry of explanation, these latter facts cannot in turn be explained by the former. The question however is: is there any reason to hold on to the asymmetry? If so, what does it consist in? In the paper we approach these questions by comparing them to analogous questions that have been investigated for scientific explanations. Three (...)
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  11.  75
    Explanation And Thought Experiments In History.Mey Tim De & Weber Erik - 2003 - History and Theory 42 (1):28-38.
    Although interest in them is clearly growing, most professional historians do not accept thought experiments as appropriate tools. Advocates of the deliberate use of thought experiments in history argue that without counterfactuals, causal attributions in history do not make sense. Whereas such arguments play upon the meaning of causation in history, this article focuses on the reasoning processes by which historians arrive at causal explanations. First, we discuss the roles thought experiments play in arriving at explanations of both facts and (...)
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  12.  14
    The Functions of Intentional Explanations of Actions.Erik Weber & Robrecht Vanderbeeken - 2005 - Behavior and Philosophy 33 (1):1 - 16.
    This paper deals with the "functions of intentional explanations" of actions (IEAs), i.e., explanations that refer to intentional states (beliefs, desires, etc.) of the agent. IEAs can have different formats. We consider these different formats to be instruments that enable the explainer to capture different kinds of information. We pick out two specific formats, i.e. "contrastive" and "descriptive", which will enable us to discuss the functions of IEAs. In many cases the explanation is contrastive, i.e. it makes use of one (...)
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  13.  12
    How to Study Scientific Explanation?Erik Weber, Leen De Vreese & Jeroen Van Bouwel - unknown
    This paper investigates the working-method of three important philosophers of explanation: Carl Hempel, Philip Kitcher and Wesley Salmon. We argue that they do three things: construct an explication in the sense of Carnap, which then is used as a tool to make descriptive and normative claims about the explanatory practice of scientists. We also show that they did well with respect to, but that they failed to give arguments for their descriptive and normative claims. We think it is the responsibility (...)
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  14.  50
    Unification: What is It, How Do We Reach and Why Do We Want It?Erik Weber - 1999 - Synthese 118 (3):479-499.
    This article has three aims. The first is to give a partial explication of the concept of unification. My explication will be partial because I confine myself to unification of particular events, because I do not consider events of a quantitative nature, and discuss only deductive cases. The second aim is to analyze how unification can be reached. My third aim is to show that unification is an intellectual benefit. Instead of being an intellectual benefit unification could be an intellectual (...)
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  15.  14
    Dispositional Explanations of Behavior.Rob Vanderbeeken & Erik Weber - 2002 - Behavior and Philosophy 30:43 - 59.
    If dispositions are conceived as properties of systems that refer to possible causal relations, dispositions can be used in singular causal explanations. By means of these dispositional explanations, we can explain behavior B of a system x by (i) referring to a situation of type S that triggered B, given that x has a disposition D to do B in S, or (ii) by referring to a disposition D of x to do B in S, given that x is in (...)
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  16.  7
    The Living Apart Together Relationship of Causation and Explanation: A Comment on Jean Lachapelle.Jeroen van Bouwel & Erik Weber - 2002 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 32 (4):560-569.
  17.  51
    The Practical Value of Spurious Correlations: Selective Versus Manipulative Policy.Leuridan Bert, Weber Erik & Dyck Maarten Van - 2008 - Analysis 68 (4):298 - 303.
    In the past 25 years, many philosophers have endorsed the view that the practical value of causal knowledge lies in the fact that manipulation of causes is a good way to bring about a desired change in the effect. This view is intuitively very plausible. For instance, we can predict a storm on the basis of a barometer reading, but we cannot avoid the storm by manipulating the state of the barometer (barometer status and storm are effects of a common (...)
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  18.  41
    Rationality and Irrationality in the History of Continental Drift: Was the Hypothesis of Continental Drift Worthy of Pursuit?Dunja Šešelja & Erik Weber - 2012 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 43 (1):147-159.
  19.  32
    Explaining, Understanding and Scientific Theories.Erik Weber - 1996 - Erkenntnis 44 (1):1 - 23.
    One of the functions of scientific knowledge is to provide the theories and laws we need in order to understand the world. My article deals with the epistemic aspect of understanding, i.e., with understanding as unification. The aim is to explicate what we have to do in order to make our scientific knowledge contribute to an increase of the degree to which the particular events we have observed, fit into our world-picture. The analysis contains two parts. First I define the (...)
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  20.  84
    Forms of Causal Explanation.Erik Weber, Jeroen Van Bouwel & Robrecht Vanderbeeken - 2005 - Foundations of Science 10 (4):437-454.
    In the literature on scientific explanation two types of pluralism are very common. The first concerns the distinction between explanations of singular facts and explanations of laws: there is a consensus that they have a different structure. The second concerns the distinction between causal explanations and uni.cation explanations: most people agree that both are useful and that their structure is different. In this article we argue for pluralism within the area of causal explanations: we claim that the structure of a (...)
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  21.  20
    The Concept of Causation in Newton's Mechanical and Optical Work.Steffen Ducheyne & Erik Weber - 2007 - Logic and Logical Philosophy 16 (4):265-288.
    In this essay the authors explore the nature of efficient causal explanation in Newton’s "Principia and The Opticks". It is argued that: (1) In the dynamical explanations of the Principia, Newton treats the phenomena under study as cases of Hall’s second kind of atypical causation. The underlying concept of causation is therefore a purely interventionist one. (2) In the descriptions of his optical experiments, Newton treats the phenomena under study as cases of Hall’s typical causation. The underlying concept of causation (...)
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  22. Conceptual Tools for Causal Analysis in the Social Sciences.Erik Weber - 2007 - In Federica Russo & Jon Williamson (eds.), Causality and Probability in the Sciences. pp. 197--213.
  23.  25
    Causation in Perspective. Are All Causal Claims Equally Warranted?Erik Weber & Leen De Vreese - 2012 - Philosophica 84.
  24.  2
    Comparative Causation at Multiple Levels and Across Scientific Disciplines.Erik Weber & Leen De Vreese - forthcoming - Axiomathes:1-17.
    In this paper, we analyse the fruitfulness of Ronald Giere’s comparative model for causation in populations. While the original model was primarily developed to capture the meaning of causal claims in the biomedical and health sciences, we want to show that the model is not only useful in these domains, but can also fruitfully be applied to other scientific domains. Specifically, we demonstrate that the model is fruitful for characterizing the meaning of causal claims found in classical genetics, epidemiology and (...)
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  25.  22
    Assessing the Explanatory Power of Causal Explanations.Erik Weber & Jeroen Van Bouwel - 2007 - In Johannes Persson & Petri Ylikoski (eds.), Rethinking Explanation. Springer.
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  26.  26
    Explanatory Pluralism in the Medical Sciences: Theory and Practice.Leen Vreese, Erik Weber & Jeroen Bouwel - 2010 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 31 (5):371-390.
    Explanatory pluralism is the view that the best form and level of explanation depends on the kind of question one seeks to answer by the explanation, and that in order to answer all questions in the best way possible, we need more than one form and level of explanation. In the first part of this article, we argue that explanatory pluralism holds for the medical sciences, at least in theory. However, in the second part of the article we show that (...)
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  27.  9
    The Causes and Cures of Scurvy. How Modern Was James Lind's Methodology?Leen De Vreese & Erik Weber - 2005 - Logic and Logical Philosophy 14 (1):55-67.
    The Scottish physician James Lind is the most celebrated name in the history of research into the causes and cures of scurvy. This is due to the famous experiment he conducted in 1747 on H.M.S. Salisbury in order to compare the efficiency of six popular treatments for scurvy. This experiment is generally regarded as the first controlled trial in clinical science (see e.g. Carpenter 1986, p. 52).
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  28.  43
    The Role of Unification in Micro-Explanations of Physical Laws.Erik Weber & Merel Lefevere - 2014 - Theoria: Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia 29 (1):41-56.
    In the literature on scientific explanation, there is a classical distinction between explanations of particular facts and explanations of laws. This paper is about explanations of laws, more specifically about microexplanations of laws in physics. We investigate whether providing unificatory information has a surplus value in micro-explanations of physical laws. Unificatory information is information that provides ontological unification in the sense defined by Uskali Mäki. We argue that providing unificatory information may lead to explanations with more explanatory power and that (...)
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  29.  73
    Causality and Explanation in the Sciences.Bert Leuridan & Erik Weber - 2012 - Theoria: Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia 27 (2):133-136.
    Editors’ introduction to the special issue on the Causality and Explanation in the Sciences conference, held at the University of Ghent in September 2011.Presentación del número monográfico sobre el congreso Causality and Explanation in the Sciences, celebrado en la Universidad de Gante en septiembre de 2011.
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  30.  6
    Petri Ylikoski is a Fellow at Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies. His Main Research Interests Are Philosophy of the Social Sciences and Social Studies of Science. Rebecca Schweder is Researcher in Theoretical Philosophy at Lund University. She Works on Issues of Philosophical Logic and Science. [REVIEW]Erik Weber - 2005 - Foundations of Science 10:455-456.
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  31.  22
    Contrastive Causation in Genetics and in Physics.Erik Weber & Inge De Bal - 2015 - Philosophica 90.
    Jonathan Schaffer has argued that a contrastive causal ontology is beneficial in juridical contexts: lawyers and judges should treat the causal relation as a quaternary relation, not as binary one. In this paper we investigate to what extent a contrastive causal ontology is beneficial in genetics and in physics. We conclude that it is beneficial in these scientific domains. We also point out that the nature of the benefit differs in the three context that we discuss. Key words: Contrastive causation, (...)
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  32.  46
    Scientific Explanation, Necessity Contingency.Erik Weber - 1989 - Philosophica 44.
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  33.  69
    Unification and Explanation.Erik Weber & Maarten Van Dyck - 2002 - Synthese 131 (1):145 - 154.
    In this article we criticize two recent articles that examinethe relation between explanation and unification. Halonen and Hintikka (1999), on the one hand,claim that no unification is explanation. Schurz (1999), on the other hand, claims that all explanationis unification. We give counterexamples to both claims. We propose a pluralistic approach to the problem:explanation sometimes consists in unification, but in other cases different kinds of explanation(e.g., causal explanation) are required; and none of these kinds is more fundamental.
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  34.  31
    Introduction.Weber Erik - 2008 - Philosophica 82:1-3.
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  35. Introduction.Erik Weber, Jan Willem Wieland & Tim Mey - 2010 - Logique Et Analyse 53.
     
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  36.  10
    Is Mathematics a Domain for Philosophers of Explanation?Erik Weber & Joachim Frans - 2017 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 48 (1):125-142.
    In this paper we discuss three interrelated questions. First: is explanation in mathematics a topic that philosophers of mathematics can legitimately investigate? Second: are the specific aims that philosophers of mathematical explanation set themselves legitimate? Finally: are the models of explanation developed by philosophers of science useful tools for philosophers of mathematical explanation? We argue that the answer to all these questions is positive. Our views are completely opposite to the views that Mark Zelcer has put forward recently. Throughout this (...)
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  37.  84
    Causation, Unification, and the Adequacy of Explanations of Facts.Erik Weber & Jeroen Van Bouwel - 2009 - Theoria. An International Journal for Theory, History and Foundations of Science 24 (3):301-320.
    Pluralism with respect to the structure of explanations of facts is not uncommon. Wesley Salmon, for instance, distinguished two types of explanation: causal explanations (which provide insight in the causes of the fact we want to explain) and unification explanations (which fit the explanandum into a unified world view). The pluralism which Salmon and others have defended is compatible with several positions about the exact relation between these two types of explanations. We distinguish four such positions, and argue in favour (...)
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  38.  18
    Unification, the Answer to Resemblance Questions.Erik Weber & Merel Lefevere - forthcoming - Synthese:1-21.
    In the current literature on scientific explanation unification became unfashionable in favour of causal approaches. We want to bring unification back into the picture. In this paper we demonstrate that resemblance questions do occur in scientific practice and that they cannot be properly answered without unification. Our examples show that resemblance questions about particular facts demand what we call causal network unification, while resemblance questions about regularities require what we call mechanism unification. We clarify how these types of unification relate (...)
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  39.  27
    Scientific Revolutions, Rationality and Creativity.Erik Weber - 1999 - Philosophica 64.
  40. Counterfactual Causality, Empirical Research and the Role of Theory in the Social Sciences (Review Essay). [REVIEW]Erik Weber & Bert Leuridan - 2008 - Historical Methods 41 (4):197-201.
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  41.  68
    The Role of Unification in Explanations of Facts.Erik Weber, Jeroen Van Bouwel & Merel Lefevere - 2012 - In Henk de Regt, Samir Okasha & Stephan Hartmann (eds.), EPSA Philosophy of Science: Amsterdam 2009. Springer.
    In the literature on scientific explanation, there is a classical distinction between explanations of facts and explanations of laws. This paper is about explanations of facts. Our aim is to analyse the role of unification in explanations of this kind. We discuss five positions with respect to this role, argue for two of them and refute the three others.
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  42.  38
    Rationally Evaluating Inconsistent Theories.Erik Weber & Maarten Van Dyck - 2012 - Philosophica 86.
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  43. Explanation in the Social Sciences.Jeroen van Bouwel & Erik Weber - 2011 - In Ian Jarvie Jesus Zamora Bonilla (ed.), The Sage Handbook of the Philosophy of Social Sciences. Sage Publications.
  44.  12
    First World Congress on Paraconsistency.Diderik Batens, Chris Mortenson, Graham Priest, Jean Paul Van Bendegem, Joke Meheus, Joachim Van Meirvenne & Erik Weber - 1996 - Studia Logica 56 (291).
  45.  6
    Unification and Explanation: A Comment on Halonen and Hintikka, and Schurz.Weber Erik & Dyck Maarten Van - 2002 - Synthese 131 (1):145 - 154.
    In this article we criticize two recent articles that examine the relation between explanation and unification. Halonen and Hintikka (1999), on the one hand, claim that no unification is explanation. Schurz (1999), on the other hand, claims that all explanation is unification. We give counterexamples to both claims. We propose a pluralistic approach to the problem: explanation sometimes consists in unification, but in other cases different kinds of explanation (e.g., causal explanation) are required; and none of these kinds is more (...)
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  46.  18
    The Indirect Practical Functions of Explanations.Erik Weber - 1993 - Philosophica 51.
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  47.  17
    Introduction.Erik Weber - 1993 - Philosophica 51:1-3.
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  48.  17
    The Transformation of Cognitive Values Into Methodological Rules.Erik Weber - 1987 - Philosophica 40.
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  49.  24
    Mechanistic Explanation and Explanatory Proofs in Mathematics.Joachim Frans & Erik Weber - 2014 - Philosophia Mathematica 22 (2):231-248.
    Although there is a consensus among philosophers of mathematics and mathematicians that mathematical explanations exist, only a few authors have proposed accounts of explanation in mathematics. These accounts fit into the unificationist or top-down approach to explanation. We argue that these models can be complemented by a bottom-up approach to explanation in mathematics. We introduce the mechanistic model of explanation in science and discuss the possibility of using this model in mathematics, arguing that using it does not presuppose a Platonist (...)
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  50.  10
    Rationality in the Discovery of Empirical Laws.Erik Weber - 1999 - Foundations of Science 4 (3):357-370.
    In this paper I argue against the traditional viewthat in discovery processes there is no place forrational decisions. First I argue that some historicalprocesses in which an empirical law was developed,were rational. Second, I identify some of themethodological rules that we can follow in order to berational when constructing an empirical law. Finally,I argue that people who deny that scientific discoverycan be rational do not understand the nature ofmethodological rules.
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