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  1. The Meta-Explanatory Question.L. R. Franklin-Hall - manuscript
    Philosophical theories of explanation characterize the difference between correct and incorrect explanations. While remaining neutral as to which of these ‘first-order’ theories is right, this paper asks the ‘meta-explanatory’ question: is the difference between correct and incorrect explanation real, i.e., objective or mind-independent? After offering a framework for distinguishing realist from anti-realist views, I sketch three distinct paths to explanatory anti-realism.
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  2. The Contextual Theory of Explanation and Inference to the Best Explanation.Seungbae Park - forthcoming - Axiomathes:1-16.
    Van Fraassen explains rejections and asymmetries in science in terms of his contextual theory of explanation in the same way that scientists explain observable phenomena in the world in terms of scientific theories. I object that van Fraassen’s skeptical view regarding inference to the best explanation together with the English view of rationality jointly imply that the contextual theory is not rationally compelling, so van Fraassen and his epistemic colleagues can rationally disbelieve it. Prasetya replies that the truth of the (...)
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  3. Inference to the Best Explanation and van Fraassen’s Contextual Theory of Explanation: Reply to Park.Yunus Prasetya - 2021 - Axiomathes 32 (2):355-365.
    Seungbae Park argues that Bas van Fraassen’s rejection of inference to the best explanation (IBE) is problematic for his contextual theory of explanation because van Fraassen uses IBE to support the contextual theory. This paper provides a defense of van Fraassen’s views from Park’s objections. I point out three weaknesses of Park’s objection against van Fraassen. First, van Fraassen may be perfectly content to accept the implications that Park claims to follow from his views. Second, even if van Fraassen rejects (...)
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  4. The Disastrous Implications of the 'English' View of Rationality in a Social World.Seungbae Park - 2019 - Social Epistemology 33 (1):88-99.
    Van Fraassen (2007, 2017) consistently uses the English view of rationality to parry criticisms from scientific realists. I assume for the sake of argument that the English view of rationality is tenable, and then argue that it has disastrous implications for van Fraassen’s (1980) contextual theory of explanation, for the empiricist position that T is empirically adequate, and for scientific progress. If you invoke the English view of rationality to rationally disbelieve that your epistemic colleagues’ theories are true, they might, (...)
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  5. Scientific Explanation: Putting Communication First.Angela Potochnik - 2016 - Philosophy of Science 83 (5):721-732.
    Scientific explanations must bear the proper relationship to the world: they must depict what, out in the world, is responsible for the explanandum. But explanations must also bear the proper relationship to their audience: they must be able to create human understanding. With few exceptions, philosophical accounts of explanation either ignore entirely the relationship between explanations and their audience or else demote this consideration to an ancillary role. In contrast, I argue that considering an explanation’s communicative role is crucial to (...)
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  6. Some Epistemological Problems with the Knowledge Level in Cognitive Architectures.Antonio Lieto - 2015 - In Proceedings of AISC 2015, 12th Italian Conference on Cognitive Science, Genoa, 10-12 December 2015, Italy. NeaScience.
    This article addresses an open problem in the area of cognitive systems and architectures: namely the problem of handling (in terms of processing and reasoning capabilities) complex knowledge structures that can be at least plausibly comparable, both in terms of size and of typology of the encoded information, to the knowledge that humans process daily for executing everyday activities. Handling a huge amount of knowledge, and selectively retrieve it according to the needs emerging in different situational scenarios, is an important (...)
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  7. Can Subcellular Organization Be Explained Only by Physical Principles?Guenther Witzany & Frantisek Baluska - 2015 - Communicative and Integrative Biology 8 (4):e1009796.
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  8. Robust Processes and Teleological Language.Jonathan Birch - 2012 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 2 (3):299-312.
    I consider some hitherto unexplored examples of teleological language in the sciences. In explicating these examples, I aim to show (a) that such language is not the sole preserve of the biological sciences, and (b) that not all such talk is reducible to the ascription of functions. In chemistry and biochemistry, scientists explaining molecular rearrangements and protein folding talk informally of molecules rearranging “in order to” maximize stability. Evolutionary biologists, meanwhile, often speak of traits evolving “in order to” optimize some (...)
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  9. Explanation Through Representation, and its Limits.Bas Van Fraassen - 2012 - Epistemologia 1:30-46.
    Why-questions and how-possibly-questions are two common forms of explanation request. Answers to the former ones require factual assertions, but the latter ones can be answered by displaying a representation of the targeted phenomenon. However, in an extreme case, a representation could come accompanied by the assertion that it displays the only possible way a phenomenon could develop. Using several historical controversies concerning statistical modeling, it is argued that such cases must inevitably involve tacit or explicit empirical assumptions.
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  10. Explanations Are Like Salted Peanuts. Why You Can't Cut the Route Toward Further Reduction.Daniel Cohnitz - 2002 - In A. Beckermann & C. Nimtz (eds.), Argument und Analyse: Proceedings of GAP4. Mentis.
    Take a look at these four situations: Figure 1 All of these situations have certain features in common: in all of them an explanation is asked for, in all of them an explanation is given, and all these explanations are literally false (although in different ways).
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  11. Empiricism, Objectivity, and Explanation.Elisabeth A. Lloyd & Carl G. Anderson - 1993 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 18 (1):121-131.
    We sley Salmon, in his influential and detailed book, Four Decades of Scientific Explanation, argues that the pragmatic approach to scientific explanation, “construed as the claim that scientific explanation can be explicated entirely in pragmatic terms” (1989, 185) is inadequate. The specific inadequacy ascribed to a pragmatic account is that objective relevance relations cannot be incorporated into such an account. Salmon relies on the arguments given in Kitcher and Salmon (1987) to ground this objection. He also suggests that Peter Railton’s (...)
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  12. Explaining Explanation.David-Hillel Ruben - 1990 - Abingdon, UK: Routledge.
    This book introduces readers to the topic of explanation. The insights of Plato, Aristotle, J.S. Mill and Carl Hempel are examined, and are used to argue against the view that explanation is merely a problem for the philosophy of science. Having established its importance for understanding knowledge in general, the book concludes with a bold and original explanation of explanation.
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  13. The Epistemic Value of Explanation.Andrés Páez - manuscript
    In this paper I defend the idea that there is a sense in which it is meaningful and useful to talk about objective understanding, and that to characterize that notion it is necessary to formulate an account of explanation that makes reference to the beliefs and epistemic goals of the participants in a cognitive enterprise. Using the framework for belief revision developed by Isaac Levi, I analyze the conditions that information must fulfill to be both potentially explanatory and epistemically valuable (...)
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