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Marc Lange [121]Marc Barrett Lange [1]
  1.  67
    Because Without Cause: Non-Causal Explanations in Science and Mathematics.Marc Lange - 2016 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press USA.
    Not all scientific explanations work by describing causal connections between events or the world's overall causal structure. In addition, mathematicians regard some proofs as explaining why the theorems being proved do in fact hold. This book proposes new philosophical accounts of many kinds of non-causal explanations in science and mathematics.
  2.  55
    Laws and Lawmakers Science, Metaphysics, and the Laws of Nature.Marc Lange - 2009 - New York: Oxford University Press.
    Laws form counterfactually stable sets -- Natural necessity -- Three payoffs of my account -- A world of subjunctives.
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  3. Natural laws in scientific practice.Marc Lange - 2000 - New York: Oxford University Press.
    It is often presumed that the laws of nature have special significance for scientific reasoning. But the laws' distinctive roles have proven notoriously difficult to identify--leading some philosophers to question if they hold such roles at all. This study offers original accounts of the roles that natural laws play in connection with counterfactual conditionals, inductive projections, and scientific explanations, and of what the laws must be in order for them to be capable of playing these roles. Particular attention is given (...)
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  4. What Makes a Scientific Explanation Distinctively Mathematical?Marc Lange - 2013 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 64 (3):485-511.
    Certain scientific explanations of physical facts have recently been characterized as distinctively mathematical –that is, as mathematical in a different way from ordinary explanations that employ mathematics. This article identifies what it is that makes some scientific explanations distinctively mathematical and how such explanations work. These explanations are non-causal, but this does not mean that they fail to cite the explanandum’s causes, that they abstract away from detailed causal histories, or that they cite no natural laws. Rather, in these explanations, (...)
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  5. An Introduction to the Philosophy of Physics: Locality, Fields, Energy, and Mass.Marc Lange - 2002 - Blackwell.
    This book combines physics, history, and philosophy in a radical new approach to introducing the philosophy of physics.
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  6. Grounding, scientific explanation, and Humean laws.Marc Lange - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 164 (1):255-261.
    It has often been argued that Humean accounts of natural law cannot account for the role played by laws in scientific explanations. Loewer (Philosophical Studies 2012) has offered a new reply to this argument on behalf of Humean accounts—a reply that distinguishes between grounding (which Loewer portrays as underwriting a kind of metaphysical explanation) and scientific explanation. I will argue that Loewer’s reply fails because it cannot accommodate the relation between metaphysical and scientific explanation. This relation also resolves a puzzle (...)
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  7. Putting explanation back into “inference to the best explanation”.Marc Lange - 2022 - Noûs 56 (1):84-109.
    Many philosophers argue that explanatoriness plays no special role in confirmation – that “inference to the best explanation” (IBE) incorrectly demands giving hypotheses extra credit for their potential explanatory qualities beyond the credit they already deserve for their predictive successes. This paper argues against one common strategy for responding to this thought – that is, for trying to fit IBE within a Bayesian framework. That strategy argues that a hypothesis’ explanatory quality (its “loveliness”) contributes either to its prior probability or (...)
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  8. Transitivity, self-explanation, and the explanatory circularity argument against Humean accounts of natural law.Marc Lange - 2018 - Synthese 195 (3):1337-1353.
    Humean accounts of natural lawhood have often been criticized as unable to account for the laws’ characteristic explanatory power in science. Loewer has replied that these criticisms fail to distinguish grounding explanations from scientific explanations. Lange has replied by arguing that grounding explanations and scientific explanations are linked by a transitivity principle, which can be used to argue that Humean accounts of natural law violate the prohibition on self-explanation. Lange’s argument has been sharply criticized by Hicks and van Elswyk, Marshall, (...)
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  9. Aspects of Mathematical Explanation: Symmetry, Unity, and Salience.Marc Lange - 2014 - Philosophical Review 123 (4):485-531.
    Unlike explanation in science, explanation in mathematics has received relatively scant attention from philosophers. Whereas there are canonical examples of scientific explanations, there are few examples that have become widely accepted as exhibiting the distinction between mathematical proofs that explain why some mathematical theorem holds and proofs that merely prove that the theorem holds without revealing the reason why it holds. This essay offers some examples of proofs that mathematicians have considered explanatory, and it argues that these examples suggest a (...)
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  10. Who’s Afraid of C eteris-Paribus Laws? Or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Them.Marc Lange - 2002 - Erkenntnis 57 (3):407-423.
    Ceteris-paribus clauses are nothing to worry about; aceteris-paribus qualifier is not poisonously indeterminate in meaning. Ceteris-paribus laws teach us that a law need not be associated straightforwardly with a regularity in the manner demanded by regularity analyses of law and analyses of laws as relations among universals. This lesson enables us to understand the sense in which the laws of nature would have been no different under various counterfactual suppositions — a feature even of those laws that involve no ceteris-paribus (...)
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  11. Laws and meta-laws of nature: Conservation laws and symmetries.Marc Lange - 2007 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 38 (3):457-481.
    Symmetry principles are commonly said to explain conservation laws—and were so employed even by Lagrange and Hamilton, long before Noether's theorem. But within a Hamiltonian framework, the conservation laws likewise entail the symmetries. Why, then, are symmetries explanatorily prior to conservation laws? I explain how the relation between ordinary (i.e., first-order) laws and the facts they govern (a relation involving counterfactuals) may be reproduced one level higher: as a relation between symmetries and the ordinary laws they govern. In that event, (...)
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  12.  98
    Why Is Proof the Only Way to Acquire Mathematical Knowledge?Marc Lange - forthcoming - Australasian Journal of Philosophy.
    This paper proposes an account of why proof is the only way to acquire knowledge of some mathematical proposition’s truth. Admittedly, non-deductive arguments for mathematical propositions can be strong and play important roles in mathematics. But this paper proposes a necessary condition for knowledge that can be satisfied by putative proofs (and proof sketches), as well as by non-deductive arguments in science, but not by non-deductive arguments from mathematical evidence. The necessary condition concerns whether we can justly expect that if (...)
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  13.  20
    Who's Afraid of Ceteris-Paribus Laws? Or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Them.Marc Lange - 2002 - Erkenntnis 57 (3):407-423.
    Ceteris-paribus clauses are nothing to worry about; aceteris-paribus qualifier is not poisonously indeterminate in meaning. Ceteris-paribus laws teach us that a law need not be associated straightforwardly with a regularity in the manner demanded by regularity analyses of law and analyses of laws as relations among universals. This lesson enables us to understand the sense in which the laws of nature would have been no different under various counterfactual suppositions — a feature even of those laws that involve no ceteris-paribus (...)
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  14. Natural laws and the problem of provisos.Marc Lange - 1993 - Erkenntnis 38 (2):233Ð248.
    Hempel and Giere contend that the existence of provisos poses grave difficulties for any regularity account of physical law. However, Hempel and Giere rely upon a mistaken conception of the way in which statements acquire their content. By correcting this mistake, I remove the problem Hempel and Giere identify but reveal a different problem that provisos pose for a regularity account — indeed, for any account of physical law according to which the state of affairs described by a law-statement presupposes (...)
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  15. Ground and Explanation in Mathematics.Marc Lange - 2019 - Philosophers' Imprint 19.
    This paper explores whether there is any relation between mathematical proofs that specify the grounds of the theorem being proved and mathematical proofs that explain why the theorem obtains. The paper argues that a mathematical fact’s grounds do not, simply by virtue of grounding it, thereby explain why that fact obtains. It argues that oftentimes, a proof specifying a mathematical fact’s grounds fails to explain why that fact obtains whereas any explanation of the fact does not specify its ground. The (...)
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  16. Laws and Meta-Laws of Nature.Marc Lange - 2007 - The Harvard Review of Philosophy 15 (1):21-36.
  17.  91
    On “Minimal Model Explanations”: A Reply to Batterman and Rice.Marc Lange - 2015 - Philosophy of Science 82 (2):292-305.
    Batterman and Rice offer an account of “minimal model explanations” and argue against “common features accounts” of those explanations. This paper offers some objections to their proposals and arguments. It argues that their proposal cannot account for the apparent explanatory asymmetry of minimal model explanations. It argues that their account threatens ultimately to collapse into a “common features account.” Finally, it argues against their motivation for thinking that an explanation appealing to “common features” would have to explain the common features’ (...)
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  18. Calibration and the Epistemological Role of Bayesian Conditionalization.Marc Lange - 1999 - Journal of Philosophy 96 (6):294-324.
  19. Really Statistical Explanations and Genetic Drift.Marc Lange - 2013 - Philosophy of Science 80 (2):169-188.
    Really statistical explanation is a hitherto neglected form of noncausal scientific explanation. Explanations in population biology that appeal to drift are RS explanations. An RS explanation supplies a kind of understanding that a causal explanation of the same result cannot supply. Roughly speaking, an RS explanation shows the result to be mere statistical fallout.
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  20. Baseball, pessimistic inductions and the turnover fallacy.Marc Lange - 2002 - Analysis 62 (4):281–285.
    Among the niftiest arguments for scientific anti-realism is the ‘pessimistic induction’ (also sometimes called ‘the disastrous historical meta-induction’). Although various versions of this argument differ in their details (see, for example, Poincare 1952: 160, Putnam 1978: 25, and Laudan 1981), the argument generally begins by recalling the many scientific theories that posit unobservable entities and that at one time or another were widely accepted. The anti-realist then argues that when these old theories were accepted, the evidence for them was quite (...)
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  21.  80
    A reply to Craver and Povich on the directionality of distinctively mathematical explanations.Marc Lange - 2018 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 67:85-88.
  22. Why proofs by mathematical induction are generally not explanatory.Marc Lange - 2009 - Analysis 69 (2):203-211.
    Philosophers who regard some mathematical proofs as explaining why theorems hold, and others as merely proving that they do hold, disagree sharply about the explanatory value of proofs by mathematical induction. I offer an argument that aims to resolve this conflict of intuitions without making any controversial presuppositions about what mathematical explanations would be.
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  23. Fine’s Fragmentalist Interpretation of Special Relativity.Thomas Hofweber & Marc Lange - 2017 - Noûs 51 (4):871-883.
    In “Tense and Reality”, Kit Fine () proposed a novel way to think about realism about tense in the metaphysics of time. In particular, he explored two non-standard forms of realism about tense, arguing that they are to be preferred over standard forms of realism. In the process of defending his own preferred view, fragmentalism, he proposed a fragmentalist interpretation of the special theory of relativity, which will be our focus in this paper. After presenting Fine's position, we will raise (...)
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  24.  71
    Mathematical Explanations that are Not Proofs.Marc Lange - 2018 - Erkenntnis 83 (6):1285-1302.
    Explanation in mathematics has recently attracted increased attention from philosophers. The central issue is taken to be how to distinguish between two types of mathematical proofs: those that explain why what they prove is true and those that merely prove theorems without explaining why they are true. This way of framing the issue neglects the possibility of mathematical explanations that are not proofs at all. This paper addresses what it would take for a non-proof to explain. The paper focuses on (...)
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  25. What Would Normative Necessity Be?Marc Lange - 2018 - Journal of Philosophy 115 (4):169-186.
    Fine and Rosen have argued that normative necessity is distinct from and weaker than metaphysical necessity. The first aim of this paper is to specify what it would take for this view to be true—that is, what normative necessity would have to be like. The author argues that in order for normative necessity to be weaker than metaphysical necessity, the metaphysical necessities must all be preserved under every counterfactual antecedent with which they are all collectively logically consistent—even when their preservation (...)
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  26. Is Jeffrey Conditionalization Defective By Virtue of Being Non-Commutative? Remarks on the Sameness of Sensory Experiences.Marc Lange - 2000 - Synthese 123 (3):393-403.
  27. Laws and their stability.Marc Lange - 2005 - Synthese 144 (3):415Ð432.
    Many philosophers have believed that the laws of nature differ from the accidental truths in their invariance under counterfactual perturbations. Roughly speaking, the laws would still have held had q been the case, for any q that is consistent with the laws. (Trivially, no accident would still have held under every such counterfactual supposition.) The main problem with this slogan (even if it is true) is that it uses the laws themselves to delimit qs range. I present a means of (...)
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  28. How can instantaneous velocity fulfill its causal role?Marc Lange - 2005 - Philosophical Review 114 (4):433-468.
  29.  78
    Conservation Laws in Scientific Explanations: Constraints or Coincidences?Marc Lange - 2011 - Philosophy of Science 78 (3):333-352.
    A conservation law in physics can be either a constraint on the kinds of interaction there could be or a coincidence of the kinds of interactions there actually are. This is an important, unjustly neglected distinction. Only if a conservation law constrains the possible kinds of interaction can a derivation from it constitute a scientific explanation despite failing to describe the causal/mechanical details behind the result derived. This conception of the relation between “bottom-up” scientific explanations and one kind of “top-down” (...)
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  30.  21
    1. Really Statistical Explanations and Genetic Drift Really Statistical Explanations and Genetic Drift (pp. 169-188).Marc Lange, Peter Vickers, John Michael, Miles MacLeod, Alexander R. Pruss, David John Baker, Clark Glymour & Simon Fitzpatrick - 2013 - Philosophy of Science 80 (2):169-188.
    Really statistical explanation is a hitherto neglected form of noncausal scientific explanation. Explanations in population biology that appeal to drift are RS explanations. An RS explanation supplies a kind of understanding that a causal explanation of the same result cannot supply. Roughly speaking, an RS explanation shows the result to be mere statistical fallout.
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  31.  48
    Precis of Because Without Cause: Non‐Causal Explanations in Science and Mathematics.Marc Lange - 2019 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 99 (3):714-719.
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, Volume 99, Issue 3, Page 714-719, November 2019.
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  32. A note on scientific essentialism, laws of nature, and counterfactual conditionals.Marc Lange - 2004 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 82 (2):227 – 241.
    Scientific essentialism aims to account for the natural laws' special capacity to support counterfactuals. I argue that scientific essentialism can do so only by resorting to devices that are just as ad hoc as those that essentialists accuse Humean regularity theories of employing. I conclude by offering an account of the laws' distinctive relation to counterfactuals that portrays laws as contingent but nevertheless distinct from accidents by virtue of possessing a genuine variety of necessity.
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  33.  71
    Asymmetry as a challenge to counterfactual accounts of non-causal explanation.Marc Lange - 2019 - Synthese 198 (4):3893-3918.
    This paper examines some recent attempts that use counterfactuals to understand the asymmetry of non-causal scientific explanations. These attempts recognize that even when there is explanatory asymmetry, there may be symmetry in counterfactual dependence. Therefore, something more than mere counterfactual dependence is needed to account for explanatory asymmetry. Whether that further ingredient, even if applicable to causal explanation, can fit non-causal explanation is the challenge that explanatory asymmetry poses for counterfactual accounts of non-causal explanation. This paper argues that several recent (...)
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  34. Depth and Explanation in Mathematics.Marc Lange - 2015 - Philosophia Mathematica 23 (2):196-214.
    This paper argues that in at least some cases, one proof of a given theorem is deeper than another by virtue of supplying a deeper explanation of the theorem — that is, a deeper account of why the theorem holds. There are cases of scientific depth that also involve a common abstract structure explaining a similarity between two otherwise unrelated phenomena, making their similarity no coincidence and purchasing depth by answering why questions that separate, dissimilar explanations of the two phenomena (...)
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  35. Dimensional explanations.Marc Lange - 2009 - Noûs 43 (4):742-775.
  36.  26
    How Can Instantaneous Velocity Fulfill Its Causal Role?Marc Lange - 2005 - Philosophical Review 114 (4):433-468.
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  37.  35
    Are There Natural Laws concerning Particular Biological Species?Marc Lange - 1995 - Journal of Philosophy 92 (8):430-451.
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  38.  49
    What could mathematics be for it to function in distinctively mathematical scientific explanations?Marc Lange - 2021 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 87 (C):44-53.
    Several philosophers have suggested that some scientific explanations work not by virtue of describing aspects of the world’s causal history and relations, but rather by citing mathematical facts. This paper investigates what mathematical facts could be in order for them to figure in such “distinctively mathematical” scientific explanations. For “distinctively mathematical explanations” to be explanations by constraint, mathematical language cannot operate in science as representationalism or platonism describes. It can operate as Aristotelian realism describes. That is because Aristotelian realism enables (...)
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  39. Laws, counterfactuals, stability, and degrees of lawhood.Marc Lange - 1999 - Philosophy of Science 66 (2):243-267.
    I identify the special sort of stability (invariance, resilience, etc.) that distinguishes laws from accidental truths. Although an accident can have a certain invariance under counterfactual suppositions, there is no continuum between laws and accidents here; a law's invariance is different in kind, not in degree, from an accident's. (In particular, a law's range of invariance is not "broader"--at least in the most straightforward sense.) The stability distinctive of the laws is used to explicate what it would mean for there (...)
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  40.  66
    Challenges Facing Counterfactual Accounts of Explanation in Mathematics.Marc Lange - 2022 - Philosophia Mathematica 30 (1):32-58.
    Some mathematical proofs explain why the theorems they prove hold. This paper identifies several challenges for any counterfactual account of explanation in mathematics (that is, any account according to which an explanatory proof reveals how the explanandum would have been different, had facts in the explanans been different). The paper presumes that countermathematicals can be nontrivial. It argues that nevertheless, a counterfactual account portrays explanatory power as too easy to achieve, does not capture explanatory asymmetry, and fails to specify why (...)
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  41.  64
    A new circularity in explanations by Humean laws of nature.Marc Lange - 2023 - Philosophical Studies 180 (3):1001-1016.
    Humean accounts of natural law have long been charged with being unable to account for the laws’ explanatory power in science. One form of this objection is to charge Humean accounts with explanatory circularity: a fact in the Humean mosaic helps to explain why some regularity is a law (first premise), but that law, in turn, helps to explain why that mosaic fact holds (second premise). To this objection, Humeans have replied that the explanation in the first premise is metaphysical (...)
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  42. The autonomy of functional biology: A reply to Rosenberg.Marc Lange - 2004 - Biology and Philosophy 19 (1):93-109.
    Rosenberg has recently argued that explanations supplied by (what he calls) functional biology are mere promissory notes for macromolecular adaptive explanations. Rosenberg's arguments currently constitute one of the most substantial challenges to the autonomy, irreducibility, and indispensability of the explanations supplied by functional biology. My responses to Rosenberg's arguments will generate a novel account of the autonomy of functional biology. This account will turn on the relations between counterfactuals, scientific explanations, and natural laws. Crucially, in their treatment of the laws' (...)
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  43.  86
    A Tale of Two Vectors.Marc Lange - 2009 - Dialectica 63 (4):397-431.
    Why do forces compose according to the parallelogram of forces? This question has been controversial; it is one episode in a longstanding, fundamental dispute regarding which facts are not to be explained dynamically. If the parallelogram law is explained statically, then the laws of statics are separate from and “transcend” the laws of dynamics. Alternatively, if the parallelogram law is explained dynamically, then statical laws become mere corollaries to the dynamical laws. I shall attempt to trace the history of this (...)
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  44.  81
    The apparent superiority of prediction to accommodation as a side effect: A reply to Maher.Marc Lange - 2001 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 52 (3):575-588.
    has offered a lovely example to motivate the intuition that a successful prediction has a kind of confirmatory significance that an accommodation lacks. This paper scrutinizes Maher's example. It argues that once the example is tweaked, the intuitive difference there between prediction and accommodation disappears. This suggests that the apparent superiority of prediction to accommodation is actually a side effect of an important difference between the hypotheses that tend to arise in each case.
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  45. Are there natural laws concerning particular biological species?Marc Lange - 1995 - Journal of Philosophy 92 (8):430-451.
  46.  25
    Running it up the flagpole to see if anyone salutes: A response to Woodward on causal and explanatory asymmetries.Katrina Elliott & Marc Lange - 2022 - Theoria. An International Journal for Theory, History and Foundations of Science 37 (1).
    Does smoke cause fire or does fire cause smoke? James Woodward’s “Flagpoles anyone? Causal and explanatory asymmetries” argues that various statistical independence relations not only help us to uncover the directions of causal and explanatory relations in our world, but also are the worldly basis of causal and explanatory directions. We raise questions about Woodward’s envisioned epistemology, but our primary focus is on his metaphysics. We argue that any alleged connection between statistical dependence and causal/explanatory direction is contingent, at best. (...)
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  47. Life, "artificial life," and scientific explanation.Marc Lange - 1996 - Philosophy of Science 63 (2):225-244.
    Recently, biologists and computer scientists who advocate the "strong thesis of artificial life" have argued that the distinction between life and nonlife is important and that certain computer software entities could be alive in the same sense as biological entities. These arguments have been challenged by Sober (1991). I address some of the questions about the rational reconstruction of biology that are suggested by these arguments: What is the relation between life and the "signs of life"? What work (if any) (...)
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  48.  56
    Are There Both Causal and Non-Causal Explanations of a Rocket’s Acceleration?Marc Lange - 2019 - Perspectives on Science 27 (1):7-25.
    . A typical textbook explanation of a rocket’s motion when its engine is fired appeals to momentum conservation: the rocket accelerates forward because its exhaust accelerates rearward and the system’s momentum must be conserved. This paper examines how this explanation works, considering three challenges it faces. First, the explanation does not proceed by describing the forces causing the rocket’s motion. Second, the rocket’s motion has a causal-mechanical explanation involving those forces. Third, if momentum conservation and the rearward motion of the (...)
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  49.  50
    Explanation, Existence and Natural Properties in Mathematics – A Case Study: Desargues’ Theorem.Marc Lange - 2015 - Dialectica 69 (4):435-472.
  50.  56
    Can Pragmatic Humeanism Account for the Counterfactual Invariance of Natural Laws?Marc Lange - forthcoming - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science.
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