Results for 'explanation'

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  1. Explanation and Description in Computational Neuroscience.David Michael Kaplan - 2011 - Synthese 183 (3):339-373.
    The central aim of this paper is to shed light on the nature of explanation in computational neuroscience. I argue that computational models in this domain possess explanatory force to the extent that they describe the mechanisms responsible for producing a given phenomenon—paralleling how other mechanistic models explain. Conceiving computational explanation as a species of mechanistic explanation affords an important distinction between computational models that play genuine explanatory roles and those that merely provide accurate descriptions or predictions (...)
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  2. Philosophical Explanations. [REVIEW]Robert Nozick - 1982 - Critica 14 (41):87-93.
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  3. Nomothetic Explanation and Humeanism About Laws of Nature.Harjit Bhogal - 2020 - In Karen Bennett & Dean W. Zimmerman (eds.), Oxford Studies in Metaphysics, volume 12. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 164–202.
    Humeanism about laws of nature — the view that the laws reduce to the Humean mosaic — is a popular view, but currently existing versions face powerful objections. The non-supervenience objection, the non-fundamentality objection and the explanatory circularity objection have all been thought to cause problems for the Humean. However, these objections share a guiding thought — they are all based on the idea that there is a certain kind of divergence between the practice of science and the metaphysical picture (...)
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  4.  73
    The Explanation Game: A Formal Framework for Interpretable Machine Learning.David S. Watson & Luciano Floridi - 2020 - Synthese 198 (10):1–⁠32.
    We propose a formal framework for interpretable machine learning. Combining elements from statistical learning, causal interventionism, and decision theory, we design an idealised explanation game in which players collaborate to find the best explanation for a given algorithmic prediction. Through an iterative procedure of questions and answers, the players establish a three-dimensional Pareto frontier that describes the optimal trade-offs between explanatory accuracy, simplicity, and relevance. Multiple rounds are played at different levels of abstraction, allowing the players to explore (...)
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  5.  2
    Explanation in Biology. An Enquiry Into the Diversity of Explanatory Patterns in the Life Sciences.Pierre-Alain Braillard & Christophe Malaterre - 2015 - Springer.
    Explanation in biology has long been characterized as being very different from explanation in other scientific disciplines, very much so from explanation in physics. One of the reasons was the existence in biology of explanation types that were unheard of in the physical sciences: teleological explanations (e.g. Hull 1974), evolutionary explanations (e.g. Mayr 1988), or even functional explanations (e.g. Neander 1991). More recently, and owing much to the rise of molecular biology, biological explanations have been depicted (...)
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  6.  23
    Explanation and Understanding.Georg Henrik von Wright - 1971 - London, England: Routledge and Kegan Paul.
    This volume distinguishes between two main traditions in the philosophy of science - the aristotelian, with its stress on explanation in terms of purpose and intentionality, and the galilean, which takes causal explanation as primary. It then traces the complex history of these competing traditions as they are manifested in such movements as positivism, idealism, Marxism and contemporary linguistic analysis. Hempels's theory of scientific explanation, the claims of cybernetics the rise of an analytic philosophy of action and (...)
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  7. Scientific Explanation.Erik Weber, Jeroen Van Bouwel & Leen De Vreese - 2013 - Springer.
    When scientist investigate why things happen, they aim at giving an explanation. But what does a scientific explanation look like? In the first chapter (Theories of Scientific Explanation) of this book, the milestones in the debate on how to characterize scientific explanations are exposed. The second chapter (How to Study Scientific Explanation?) scrutinizes the working-method of three important philosophers of explanation, Carl Hempel, Philip Kitcher and Wesley Salmon and shows what went wrong. Next, it is (...)
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  8.  28
    The Beginning of Infinity: Explanations That Transform the World.David Deutsch - 2011 - Viking Adult.
    The reach of explanations -- Closer to reality -- The spark -- Creation -- The reality of abstractions -- The jump to universality -- Artificial creativity -- A window on infinity -- Optimism -- A dream of Socrates -- The multiverse -- A physicist's history of bad philosophy -- Choices -- Why are flowers beautiful? -- The evolution of culture -- The evolution of creativity -- Unsustainable -- The beginning.
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  9.  15
    Explanations in K: An Analysis of Explanation as a Belief Revision Operation.Andrés Páez - 2006 - Athena Verlag.
    Explanation and understanding are intimately connected notions, but the nature of that connection has generally not been considered a topic worthy of serious philosophical investigation. Most authors have avoided making reference to the notion of understanding in their accounts of explanation because they fear that any mention of the epistemic states of the individuals involved compromises the objectivity of explanation. Understanding is a pragmatic notion, they argue, and pragmatics should be kept at a safe distance from the (...)
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  10. Cognition and Explanation.Herbert A. Simon, Discovering Explanations, Clark Glymour, Andy Clark, Twisted Tales, Alison Gopnik & Explanation as Orgasm - 1998 - Cognition 8 (1).
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  11.  8
    The Explanation Game: A Formal Framework for Interpretable Machine Learning.David S. Watson & Luciano Floridi - 2021 - Synthese 198 (10):9211-9242.
    We propose a formal framework for interpretable machine learning. Combining elements from statistical learning, causal interventionism, and decision theory, we design an idealised explanation game in which players collaborate to find the best explanation for a given algorithmic prediction. Through an iterative procedure of questions and answers, the players establish a three-dimensional Pareto frontier that describes the optimal trade-offs between explanatory accuracy, simplicity, and relevance. Multiple rounds are played at different levels of abstraction, allowing the players to explore (...)
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    Local Explanations Via Necessity and Sufficiency: Unifying Theory and Practice.David Watson, Limor Gultchin, Taly Ankur & Luciano Floridi - 2022 - Minds and Machines 32:185-218.
    Necessity and sufficiency are the building blocks of all successful explanations. Yet despite their importance, these notions have been conceptually underdeveloped and inconsistently applied in explainable artificial intelligence (XAI), a fast-growing research area that is so far lacking in firm theoretical foundations. Building on work in logic, probability, and causality, we establish the central role of necessity and sufficiency in XAI, unifying seemingly disparate methods in a single formal framework. We provide a sound and complete algorithm for computing explanatory factors (...)
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    The Explanation Game: A Formal Framework for Interpretable Machine Learning.David S. Watson & Luciano Floridi - 2021 - In Josh Cowls & Jessica Morley (eds.), The 2020 Yearbook of the Digital Ethics Lab. Springer Verlag. pp. 109-143.
    We propose a formal framework for interpretable machine learning. Combining elements from statistical learning, causal interventionism, and decision theory, we design an idealised explanation game in which players collaborate to find the best explanation for a given algorithmic prediction. Through an iterative procedure of questions and answers, the players establish a three-dimensional Pareto frontier that describes the optimal trade-offs between explanatory accuracy, simplicity, and relevance. Multiple rounds are played at different levels of abstraction, allowing the players to explore (...)
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  14.  45
    Explanation in the Special Science: The Case of Biology and History.Marie I. Kaiser, Oliver R. Scholz, Daniel Plenge & Andreas Hüttemann (eds.) - 2014 - Dordrecht: Springer.
    Biology and history are often viewed as closely related disciplines, with biology informed by history, especially in its task of charting our evolutionary past. Maximizing the opportunities for cross-fertilization in these two fields requires an accurate reckoning of their commonalities and differences-precisely what this volume sets out to achieve. Specially commissioned essays by a team of recognized international researchers cover the full panoply of topics in these fields and include notable contributions on the correlativity of evolutionary and historical explanations, applying (...)
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  15. Conjunctive Explanations and Inference to the Best Explanation.Jonah Schupbach - 2019 - Teorema: International Journal of Philosophy 38 (3):143-162.
    Inference to the Best Explanation (IBE) advises reasoners to infer exactly one explanation. This uniqueness claim apparently binds us when it comes to “conjunctive explanations,” distinct explanations that are nonetheless explanatorily better together than apart. To confront this worry, explanationists qualify their statement of IBE, stipulating that this inference form only adjudicates between competing hypotheses. However, a closer look into the nature of competition reveals problems for this qualified account. Given the most common explication of competition, this qualification (...)
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  16. Scientific Explanation and the Causal Structure of the World.Wesley C. Salmon - 1984 - Princeton University Press.
    The philosophical theory of scientific explanation proposed here involves a radically new treatment of causality that accords with the pervasively statistical character of contemporary science. Wesley C. Salmon describes three fundamental conceptions of scientific explanation--the epistemic, modal, and ontic. He argues that the prevailing view is untenable and that the modal conception is scientifically out-dated. Significantly revising aspects of his earlier work, he defends a causal/mechanical theory that is a version of the ontic conception. Professor Salmon's theory furnishes (...)
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  17. Explanation Revisited.David Kaplan - 1961 - Philosophy of Science 28 (4):429-436.
    In 'Hempel and Oppenheim on Explanation', (see preceding article) Eberle, Kaplan, and Montague criticize the analysis of explanation offered by Hempel and Oppenheim in their 'Studies in the Logic of Explanation'. These criticisms are shown to be related to the fact that Hempel and Oppenheim's analysis fails to satisfy simultaneously three newly proposed criteria of adequacy for any analysis of explanation. A new analysis is proposed which satisfies these criteria and thus is immune to the criticisms (...)
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  18. Aspects of Scientific Explanation and Other Essays in the Philosophy of Science.Carl Gustav Hempel - 1965 - New York: The Free Press.
  19. Explanation and the Language of Thought.David Braddon-Mitchell & J. Fitzpatrick - 1990 - Synthese 83 (1):3-29.
    In this paper we argue that the insistence by Fodor et. al. that the Language of Thought hypothesis must be true rests on mistakes about the kinds of explanations that must be provided of cognitive phenomena. After examining the canonical arguments for the LOT, we identify a weak version of the LOT hypothesis which we think accounts for some of the intuitions that there must be a LOT. We then consider what kinds of explanation cognitive phenomena require, and conclude (...)
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  20. Grounding Explanations.Louis deRosset - 2013 - Philosophers' Imprint 13.
    A compelling idea holds that reality has a layered structure. We often disagree about what inhabits the bottom layer, but we agree that higher up we find chemical, biological, geological, psychological, sociological, economic, /etc./, entities: molecules, human beings, diamonds, mental states, cities, interest rates, and so on. How is this intuitive talk of a layered structure of entities to be understood? Traditionally, philosophers have proposed to understand layered structure in terms of either reduction or supervenience. But these traditional views face (...)
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  21.  11
    Mechanistic Explanations in the Cognitive Social Sciences: Lessons From Three Case Studies.Matti Sarkia, Tuukka Kaidesoja & Mikko Hyyryläinen - 2020 - Social Science Information 59 (4):580-603.
    Discussions of the relations between the social sciences and the cognitive sciences have proliferated in recent years. Our article contributes to the philosophical and methodological foundations of the cognitive social sciences by proposing a framework based on contemporary mechanistic approaches to the philosophy of science to analyze the epistemological, ontological and methodological aspects of research programs at the intersection of the social sciences and the cognitive sciences. We apply this framework to three case studies which address the phenomena of social (...)
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  22. Causation and Explanation.Stathis Psillos - 2002 - Routledge.
    What is the nature of causation? How is causation linked with explanation? And can there be an adequate theory of explanation? These questions and many others are addressed in this unified and rigorous examination of the philosophical problems surrounding causation, laws and explanation. Part 1 of this book explores Hume's views on causation, theories of singular causation, and counterfactual and mechanistic approaches. Part 2 considers the regularity view of laws and laws as relations among universals, as well (...)
     
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  23.  38
    Explanation Beyond Causation: Philosophical Perspectives on Non-Causal Explanations.Alexander Reutlinger & Juha Saatsi (eds.) - 2018 - Oxford University Press.
    Explanations are very important to us in many contexts: in science, mathematics, philosophy, and also in everyday and juridical contexts. But what is an explanation? In the philosophical study of explanation, there is long-standing, influential tradition that links explanation intimately to causation: we often explain by providing accurate information about the causes of the phenomenon to be explained. Such causal accounts have been the received view of the nature of explanation, particularly in philosophy of science, since (...)
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  24.  2
    Explanation, Quantity, and Law.John Forge - 1999 - Ashgate.
    'Explanation, Quantity and Law' is a sustained elaboration and defence of a theory of explanation, called the instance view, that is able to deal with the characteristic aspects of physical science, such as the use of mathematics, the fact that errors of measurement are ubiquitous, and so forth. The book begins with a summary of 'new directions' in the theory of explanation and continues with a systematic account of the view that to explain is to show that (...)
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  25. Inference to the Best Explanation, Coherence and Other Explanatory Virtues.Adolfas Mackonis - 2013 - Synthese 190 (6):975-995.
    This article generalizes the explanationist account of inference to the best explanation. It draws a clear distinction between IBE and abduction and presents abduction as the first step of IBE. The second step amounts to the evaluation of explanatory power, which consist in the degree of explanatory virtues that a hypothesis exhibits. Moreover, even though coherence is the most often cited explanatory virtue, on pain of circularity, it should not be treated as one of the explanatory virtues. Rather, coherence (...)
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  26. Putting Explanation Back Into “Inference to the Best Explanation”.Marc Lange - 2022 - Noûs 56 (1):84-109.
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  27.  80
    Scientific Explanation a Study of the Function of Theory, Probability and Law in Science.Richard Bevan Braithwaite - 1953 - Cambridge University Press.
    The primary purpose of this book is to examine the logical features common to all the sciences. Each science proceeds by inventing general principles from which are deduced the consequences to be tested by observation and experiment; the author shows how the implications of this process explain some of its more baffling features and resolves many of the difficulties that philosophers have found in them. His exposition is by way of detailed examples.
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  28.  7
    Local Explanations via Necessity and Sufficiency: Unifying Theory and Practice.David S. Watson, Limor Gultchin, Ankur Taly & Luciano Floridi - 2022 - Minds and Machines 32 (1):185-218.
    Necessity and sufficiency are the building blocks of all successful explanations. Yet despite their importance, these notions have been conceptually underdeveloped and inconsistently applied in explainable artificial intelligence, a fast-growing research area that is so far lacking in firm theoretical foundations. In this article, an expanded version of a paper originally presented at the 37th Conference on Uncertainty in Artificial Intelligence, we attempt to fill this gap. Building on work in logic, probability, and causality, we establish the central role of (...)
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  29. Psychological Explanation: An Introduction To The Philosophy Of Psychology.Jerry A. Fodor - 1968 - Ny: Random House.
  30. Mathematical Explanation and the Theory of Why-Questions.David Sandborg - 1998 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 49 (4):603-624.
    Van Fraassen and others have urged that judgements of explanations are relative to why-questions; explanations should be considered good in so far as they effectively answer why-questions. In this paper, I evaluate van Fraassen's theory with respect to mathematical explanation. I show that his theory cannot recognize any proofs as explanatory. I also present an example that contradicts the main thesis of the why-question approach—an explanation that appears explanatory despite its inability to answer the why-question that motivated it. (...)
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  31. Explanation, Internalism, and Reasons for Action.David Sobel - 2001 - Social Philosophy and Policy 18 (2):218.
  32. Normative Explanation and Justification.Pekka Väyrynen - 2021 - Noûs 55 (1):3-22.
    Normative explanations of why things are wrong, good, or unfair are ubiquitous in ordinary practice and normative theory. This paper argues that normative explanation is subject to a justification condition: a correct complete explanation of why a normative fact holds must identify features that would go at least some way towards justifying certain actions or attitudes. I first explain and motivate the condition I propose. I then support it by arguing that it fits well with various theories of (...)
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  33. Naturalistic Explanation for Religious Belief.David Leech & Aku Visala - 2011 - Philosophy Compass 6 (8):552-563.
    Recent decades have seen the emergence of various cognitive and biological explanations of religious belief that claim to be better scientifically supported than predecessor explanations. This article provides an overview of such explanations and some of the philosophical discussions they have evoked. Contemporary naturalistic explanations of religious belief come in three types: cognitive explanations, evolutionary explanations and co‐evolutionary explanations. Some writers have claimed that scientifically plausible biological and psychological accounts of religious belief make religious belief itself irrational because they reveal (...)
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  34. Explaining Explanations in AI.Brent Mittelstadt - forthcoming - FAT* 2019 Proceedings 1.
    Recent work on interpretability in machine learning and AI has focused on the building of simplified models that approximate the true criteria used to make decisions. These models are a useful pedagogical device for teaching trained professionals how to predict what decisions will be made by the complex system, and most importantly how the system might break. However, when considering any such model it’s important to remember Box’s maxim that "All models are wrong but some are useful." We focus on (...)
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  35. Confirmation, Explanation, and Logical Strength.David E. Nelson - 1996 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 47 (3):399-413.
    Van Fraassen argues that explanatory power cannot be a conformational virtue. In this paper I will show that informational features of scientific theories can be positively relevant to their levels of conformation. Thus, in the cases where the explanatory power of a theory is tied to an informational feature of the theory, it can still be the case that the explanatory power of the theory is positively relevant to its level of confirmation.
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  36. Program Explanation: A General Perspective.Frank Jackson & Philip Pettit - 1990 - Analysis 50 (2):107-17.
    Some properties are causally relevant for a certain effect, others are not. In this paper we describe a problem for our understanding of this notion and then offer a solution in terms of the notion of a program explanation.
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  37. Explanation: A Mechanist Alternative.William Bechtel - 2005 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Biol and Biomed Sci 36 (2):421--441.
    Explanations in the life sciences frequently involve presenting a model of the mechanism taken to be responsible for a given phenomenon. Such explanations depart in numerous ways from nomological explanations commonly presented in philosophy of science. This paper focuses on three sorts of differences. First, scientists who develop mechanistic explanations are not limited to linguistic representations and logical inference; they frequently employ dia- grams to characterize mechanisms and simulations to reason about them. Thus, the epistemic resources for presenting mechanistic explanations (...)
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  38.  85
    The Right to Explanation.Kate Vredenburgh - 2022 - Wiley: Journal of Political Philosophy 30 (2):209-229.
    Journal of Political Philosophy, Volume 30, Issue 2, Page 209-229, June 2022.
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  39. Paradigmatic Explanations: Strauss's Dangerous Idea.Gregory W. Dawes - 2007 - Louvain Studies 32 (1-2):67-80.
    David Friedrich Strauss is best known for his mythical interpretation of the Gospel narratives. He opposed both the supernaturalists (who regarded the Gospel stories as reliable) and the rationalists (who offered natural explanations of purportedly supernatural events). His mythical interpretation suggests that many of the stories about Jesus were woven out of pre-existing messianic beliefs and expectations. Picking up this suggestion, I argue that the Gospel writers thought paradigmatically rather than historically. A paradigmatic explanation assimilates the event-to-be- explained to (...)
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  40. On Explanations From Geometry of Motion.Juha Saatsi - 2018 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 69 (1):253–273.
    This paper examines explanations that turn on non-local geometrical facts about the space of possible configurations a system can occupy. I argue that it makes sense to contrast such explanations from "geometry of motion" with causal explanations. I also explore how my analysis of these explanations cuts across the distinction between kinematics and dynamics.
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  41. Scientific Explanation and the Sense of Understanding.J. D. Trout - 2002 - Philosophy of Science 69 (2):212-233.
    Scientists and laypeople alike use the sense of understanding that an explanation conveys as a cue to good or correct explanation. Although the occurrence of this sense or feeling of understanding is neither necessary nor sufficient for good explanation, it does drive judgments of the plausibility and, ultimately, the acceptability, of an explanation. This paper presents evidence that the sense of understanding is in part the routine consequence of two well-documented biases in cognitive psychology: overconfidence and (...)
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  42.  65
    Explanation: A Mechanist Alternative.William Bechtel & Adele Abrahamsen - 2005 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 36 (2):421-441.
    Explanations in the life sciences frequently involve presenting a model of the mechanism taken to be responsible for a given phenomenon. Such explanations depart in numerous ways from nomological explanations commonly presented in philosophy of science. This paper focuses on three sorts of differences. First, scientists who develop mechanistic explanations are not limited to linguistic representations and logical inference; they frequently employ diagrams to characterize mechanisms and simulations to reason about them. Thus, the epistemic resources for presenting mechanistic explanations are (...)
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  43. Teleological Explanations in Evolutionary Biology.Francisco J. Ayala - 1970 - Philosophy of Science 37 (1):1-15.
    The ultimate source of explanation in biology is the principle of natural selection. Natural selection means differential reproduction of genes and gene combinations. It is a mechanistic process which accounts for the existence in living organisms of end-directed structures and processes. It is argued that teleological explanations in biology are not only acceptable but indeed indispensable. There are at least three categories of biological phenomena where teleological explanations are appropriate.
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  44. Subversive Explanations.Charles Pigden - 2013 - In Gregory Dawes & James Maclaurin (eds.), A New Science of Religion,. Routledge. pp. 147-161..
    Can an explanation of a set of beliefs cast doubt on the things believed? In particular, can an evolutionary explanation of religious beliefs call the contents of those beliefs into question? Yes - under certain circumstances. I distinguish between natural histories of beliefs and genealogies. A natural history of a set of beliefs is an explanation that puts them down to naturalistic causes. (I try to give an account of natural explanations which favors a certain kind of (...)
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  45.  25
    Explanations in AI as Claims of Tacit Knowledge.Nardi Lam - 2022 - Minds and Machines 32 (1):135-158.
    As AI systems become increasingly complex it may become unclear, even to the designer of a system, why exactly a system does what it does. This leads to a lack of trust in AI systems. To solve this, the field of explainable AI has been working on ways to produce explanations of these systems’ behaviors. Many methods in explainable AI, such as LIME, offer only a statistical argument for the validity of their explanations. However, some methods instead study the internal (...)
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    Experimental Philosophy of Explanation Rising: The Case for a Plurality of Concepts of Explanation.Matteo Colombo - 2017 - Cognitive Science 41 (2):503-517.
    This paper brings together results from the philosophy and the psychology of explanation to argue that there are multiple concepts of explanation in human psychology. Specifically, it is shown that pluralism about explanation coheres with the multiplicity of models of explanation available in the philosophy of science, and it is supported by evidence from the psychology of explanatory judgment. Focusing on the case of a norm of explanatory power, the paper concludes by responding to the worry (...)
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  47.  74
    Explanation and the A-Theory.David Storrs-Fox - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 178:4239-4259.
    Propositional temporalism is the view that there are temporary propositions: propositions that are true, but not always true. Factual futurism is the view that there are futurist facts: facts that obtain, but that will at some point not obtain. Most A-theoretic views in the philosophy of time are committed both to propositional temporalism and to factual futurism. Mark Richard, Jeffrey King and others have argued that temporary propositions are not fit to be the contents of propositional attitudes, or to be (...)
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  48. Topological Explanations and Robustness in Biological Sciences.Philippe Huneman - 2010 - Synthese 177 (2):213-245.
    This paper argues that besides mechanistic explanations, there is a kind of explanation that relies upon “topological” properties of systems in order to derive the explanandum as a consequence, and which does not consider mechanisms or causal processes. I first investigate topological explanations in the case of ecological research on the stability of ecosystems. Then I contrast them with mechanistic explanations, thereby distinguishing the kind of realization they involve from the realization relations entailed by mechanistic explanations, and explain how (...)
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  49.  92
    Teleological Explanations: An Etiological Analysis of Goals and Functions.Larry Wright - 1976 - University of California Press.
    INTRODUCTION The appeal to teleological principles of explanation within the body of natural science has had an unfortunate history. ...
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  50. Scientific Explanation.James Woodward - 1979 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 30 (1):41-67.
    Issues concerning scientific explanation have been a focus of philosophical attention from Pre- Socratic times through the modern period. However, recent discussion really begins with the development of the Deductive-Nomological (DN) model. This model has had many advocates (including Popper 1935, 1959, Braithwaite 1953, Gardiner, 1959, Nagel 1961) but unquestionably the most detailed and influential statement is due to Carl Hempel (Hempel 1942, 1965, and Hempel & Oppenheim 1948). These papers and the reaction to them have structured subsequent discussion (...)
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