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  1. Axe the X in XAI: A Plea for Understandable AI.Andrés Páez - forthcoming - In Juan Manuel Durán & Giorgia Pozzi (eds.), Philosophy of science for machine learning: Core issues and new perspectives. Springer.
    In a recent paper, Erasmus et al. (2021) defend the idea that the ambiguity of the term “explanation” in explainable AI (XAI) can be solved by adopting any of four different extant accounts of explanation in the philosophy of science: the Deductive Nomological, Inductive Statistical, Causal Mechanical, and New Mechanist models. In this chapter, I show that the authors’ claim that these accounts can be applied to deep neural networks as they would to any natural phenomenon is mistaken. I also (...)
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  2. A Conventionalist Account of Distinctively Mathematical Explanation.Mark Povich - 2023 - Philosophical Problems in Science 74:171–223.
    Distinctively mathematical explanations (DMEs) explain natural phenomena primarily by appeal to mathematical facts. One important question is whether there can be an ontic account of DME. An ontic account of DME would treat the explananda and explanantia of DMEs as ontic structures and the explanatory relation between them as an ontic relation (e.g., Pincock 2015, Povich 2021). Here I present a conventionalist account of DME, defend it against objections, and argue that it should be considered ontic. Notably, if indeed it (...)
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  3. Scientific Explanation as a Guide to Ground.Markel Kortabarria & Joaquim Giannotti - 2024 - Synthese 203 (3):1-27.
    Ground is all the rage in contemporary metaphysics. But what is its nature? Some metaphysicians defend what we could call, following Skiles and Trogdon (2021), the inheritance view: it is because constitutive forms of metaphysical explanation are such-and-such that we should believe that ground is so-and-so. However, many putative instances of inheritance are not primarily motivated by scientific considerations. This limitation is harmless if one thinks that ground and science are best kept apart. Contrary to this view, we believe that (...)
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  4. Explaining Go: Challenges in Achieving Explainability in AI Go Programs.Zack Garrett - 2023 - Journal of Go Studies 17 (2):29-60.
    There has been a push in recent years to provide better explanations for how AIs make their decisions. Most of this push has come from the ethical concerns that go hand in hand with AIs making decisions that affect humans. Outside of the strictly ethical concerns that have prompted the study of explainable AIs (XAIs), there has been research interest in the mere possibility of creating XAIs in various domains. In general, the more accurate we make our models the harder (...)
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  5. A Defence of Manipulationist Noncausal Explanation: The Case for Intervention Liberalism.Nicholas Emmerson - 2023 - Erkenntnis 88 (8):3179-3201.
    Recent years have seen growing interest in modifying interventionist accounts of causal explanation in order to characterise noncausal explanation. However, one surprising element of such accounts is that they have typically jettisoned the core feature of interventionism: interventions. Indeed, the prevailing opinion within the philosophy of science literature suggests that interventions exclusively demarcate causal relationships. This position is so prevalent that, until now, no one has even thought to name it. We call it “intervention puritanism” (I-puritanism, for short). In this (...)
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  6. La Ley y El Orden: Sobre Dos Sorprendentes (¡y Extendidos!) Errores En la Enseñanza de Las Ciencias Naturales.Claudio Cormick & Valeria Edelsztein - 2022 - Anales de la Asociación Química Argentina 109 (Número extra):223-229.
    It does not seem particularly daring to say that one objective of science education is to enable students to understand different phenomena in the world in their mutual relationship. This is roughly equivalent to promoting knowledge of scientific explanations, which involve resorting to regular relationships between certain phenomena and which, certainly, is different from knowledge of this or that type of event taken in isolation. In this text, we will draw attention to two opposing tendencies that, however, tend towards the (...)
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  7. Explanatory Depth in Primordial Cosmology: A Comparative Study of Inflationary and Bouncing Paradigms.William J. Wolf & Karim P. Y. Thebault - forthcoming - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science.
    We develop and apply a multi-dimensional conception of explanatory depth towards a comparative analysis of inflationary and bouncing paradigms in primordial cosmology. Our analysis builds on earlier work due to Azhar and Loeb (2021) that establishes initial condition fine-tuning as a dimension of explanatory depth relevant to debates in contemporary cosmology. We propose dynamical fine-tuning and autonomy as two further dimensions of depth in the context of problems with instability and trans-Planckian modes that afflict bouncing and inflationary approaches respectively. In (...)
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  8. That’s Not IBE: Reply to Park.Yunus Prasetya - 2022 - Axiomathes 32 (2):621-627.
    Park (2017, 2018, 2019) argues that Bas van Fraassen uses inference to the best explanation to defend his contextual theory of explanation. If Park is right, then van Fraassen is in trouble because he rejects IBE as a rational rule of inference. In this reply, I argue that van Fraassen does not use IBE in defending the contextual theory of explanation. I distinguish between several conceptions of IBE: heuristic IBE, objective Bayesian IBE, and ampliative IBE. I argue that van Fraassen (...)
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  9. Inference to the Best Explanation - An Overview.Frank Cabrera - 2022 - In Lorenzo Magnani (ed.), Handbook of Abductive Cognition. Cham: Springer. pp. 1-34.
    In this article, I will provide a critical overview of the form of non-deductive reasoning commonly known as “Inference to the Best Explanation” (IBE). Roughly speaking, according to IBE, we ought to infer the hypothesis that provides the best explanation of our evidence. In section 2, I survey some contemporary formulations of IBE and highlight some of its putative applications. In section 3, I distinguish IBE from C.S. Peirce’s notion of abduction. After underlining some of the essential elements of IBE, (...)
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  10. The Directionality of Topological Explanations.Daniel Kostić & Kareem Khalifa - 2021 - Synthese (5-6):14143-14165.
    Proponents of ontic conceptions of explanation require all explanations to be backed by causal, constitutive, or similar relations. Among their justifications is that only ontic conceptions can do justice to the ‘directionality’ of explanation, i.e., the requirement that if X explains Y , then not-Y does not explain not-X . Using topological explanations as an illustration, we argue that non-ontic conceptions of explanation have ample resources for securing the directionality of explanations. The different ways in which neuroscientists rely on multiplexes (...)
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  11. Modality and constitution in distinctively mathematical explanations.Mark Povich - 2020 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 10 (3):1-10.
    Lange argues that some natural phenomena can be explained by appeal to mathematical, rather than natural, facts. In these “distinctively mathematical” explanations, the core explanatory facts are either modally stronger than facts about ordinary causal law or understood to be constitutive of the physical task or arrangement at issue. Craver and Povich argue that Lange’s account of DME fails to exclude certain “reversals”. Lange has replied that his account can avoid these directionality charges. Specifically, Lange argues that in legitimate DMEs, (...)
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  12. Does IBE Require a ‘Model’ of Explanation?Frank Cabrera - 2020 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 71 (2):727-750.
    In this article, I consider an important challenge to the popular theory of scientific inference commonly known as ‘inference to the best explanation’, one that has received scant attention.1 1 The problem is that there exists a wide array of rival models of explanation, thus leaving IBE objectionably indeterminate. First, I briefly introduce IBE. Then, I motivate the problem and offer three potential solutions, the most plausible of which is to adopt a kind of pluralism about the rival models of (...)
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  13. Unifying the essential concepts of biological networks: biological insights and philosophical foundations.Daniel Kostic, Claus Hilgetag & Marc Tittgemeyer - 2020 - Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 375 (1796):1-8.
    Over the last decades, network-based approaches have become highly popular in diverse fields of biology, including neuroscience, ecology, molecular biology and genetics. While these approaches continue to grow very rapidly, some of their conceptual and methodological aspects still require a programmatic foundation. This challenge particularly concerns the question of whether a generalized account of explanatory, organisational and descriptive levels of networks can be applied universally across biological sciences. To this end, this highly interdisciplinary theme issue focuses on the definition, motivation (...)
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  14. Reasons why in normative explanation.Pekka Väyrynen - 2019 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 62 (6):607-623.
    Normative explanations, which specify why things have the normative features they do, are ubiquitous in normative theory and ordinary thought. But there is much less work on normative explanation than on scientific or metaphysical explanation. Skow (2016) argues that a complete answer to the question why some fact Q occurs consists in all of the reasons why Q occurs. This paper explores this theory as a case study of a general theory that promises to offer us a grip on normative (...)
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  15. Idealization and Structural Explanation in Physics.Martin King - manuscript
    The focus in the literature on scientific explanation has shifted in recent years towards modelbased approaches. The idea that there are simple and true laws of nature has met with objections from philosophers such as Nancy Cartwright (1983) and Paul Teller (2001), and this has made a strictly Hempelian D-N style explanation largely irrelevant to the explanatory practices of science (Hempel & Oppenheim, 1948). Much of science does not involve subsuming particular events under laws of nature. It is increasingly recognized (...)
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  16. Une conception néo-poppérienne de l’explication en sciences sociales et ses difficultés internes.Philippe Mongin - 2012 - Dialogue 51 (3):503-515.
    This article discusses the rationality principle, especially in Popper's version, on the occasion of a commentary of Maurice Lagueux's book, Rationality and Explanation in Economics (2010).
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  17. 50 Years of Successful Predictive Modeling Should Be Enough: Lessons for Philosophy of Science.Michael A. Bishop & J. D. Trout - 2002 - Philosophy of Science 69 (S3):S197-S208.
    Our aim in this paper is to bring the woefully neglected literature on predictive modeling to bear on some central questions in the philosophy of science. The lesson of this literature is straightforward: For a very wide range of prediction problems, statistical prediction rules (SPRs), often rules that are very easy to implement, make predictions than are as reliable as, and typically more reliable than, human experts. We will argue that the success of SPRs forces us to reconsider our views (...)
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Causal Accounts of Explanation
  1. Which Models of Scientific Explanation Are (In)Compatible with Inference to the Best Explanation?Yunus Prasetya - forthcoming - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science.
    In this article, I explore the compatibility of inference to the best explanation (IBE) with several influential models and accounts of scientific explanation. First, I explore the different conceptions of IBE and limit my discussion to two: the heuristic conception and the objective Bayesian conception. Next, I discuss five models of scientific explanation with regard to each model’s compatibility with IBE. I argue that Kitcher’s unificationist account supports IBE; Railton’s deductive–nomological–probabilistic model, Salmon’s statistical-relevance model, and van Fraassen’s erotetic account are (...)
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  2. Electronegativity as a New Case for Emergence and a New Problem for Reductionism.Monte Cairns - forthcoming - Foundations of Chemistry:1-16.
    The potential reducibility of chemical entities to their physical bases is a matter of dispute between ontological reductionists on one hand, and emergentists on the other. However, relevant debates typically revolve around the reducibility of so-called ‘higher-level’ chemical entities, such as molecules. Perhaps surprisingly, even committed proponents of emergence for these higher-level chemical entities appear to accept that the ‘lowest-level’ chemical entities – atomic species – are reducible to their physical bases. In particular, the microstructural view of chemical elements, actively (...)
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  3. Phenomenological Laws and Mechanistic Explanations.Gabriel Siegel & Carl F. Craver - 2024 - Philosophy of Science 91 (1):132-150.
    In light of recent criticisms by Woodward (2017) and Rescorla (2018), we examine the relationship between mechanistic explanation and phenomenological laws. We disambiguate several uses of the phrase “phenomenological law” and show how a mechanistic theory of explanation sorts them into those that are and are not explanatory. We also distinguish the problem of phenomenological laws from arguments about the explanatory power of purely phenomenal models, showing that Woodward and Rescorla conflate these problems. Finally, we argue that the temptation to (...)
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  4. The Narrow Ontic Counterfactual Account of Distinctively Mathematical Explanation.Mark Povich - 2021 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 72 (2):511-543.
    An account of distinctively mathematical explanation (DME) should satisfy three desiderata: it should account for the modal import of some DMEs; it should distinguish uses of mathematics in explanation that are distinctively mathematical from those that are not (Baron [2016]); and it should also account for the directionality of DMEs (Craver and Povich [2017]). Baron’s (forthcoming) deductive-mathematical account, because it is modelled on the deductive-nomological account, is unlikely to satisfy these desiderata. I provide a counterfactual account of DME, the Narrow (...)
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  5. Metaphysical explanations and the counterfactual theory of explanation.Stefan Roski - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 178 (6):1971-1991.
    According to an increasingly popular view among philosophers of science, both causal and non-causal explanations can be accounted for by a single theory: the counterfactual theory of explanation. A kind of non-causal explanation that has gained much attention recently but that this theory seems unable to account for are grounding explanations. Reutlinger :239-256, 2017) has argued that, despite these appearances to the contrary, such explanations are covered by his version of the counterfactual theory. His idea is supported by recent work (...)
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  6. Constitutive relevance & mutual manipulability revisited.Carl F. Craver, Stuart Glennan & Mark Povich - 2021 - Synthese 199 (3-4):8807-8828.
    An adequate understanding of the ubiquitous practice of mechanistic explanation requires an account of what Craver termed “constitutive relevance.” Entities or activities are constitutively relevant to a phenomenon when they are parts of the mechanism responsible for that phenomenon. Craver’s mutual manipulability account extended Woodward’s account of manipulationist counterfactuals to analyze how interlevel experiments establish constitutive relevance. Critics of MM argue that applying Woodward’s account to this philosophical problem conflates causation and constitution, thus rendering the account incoherent. These criticisms, we (...)
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  7. Near-Decomposability and the Timescale Relativity of Causal Representations.Naftali Weinberger - 2020 - Philosophy of Science 87 (5):841-856.
    A common strategy for simplifying complex systems involves partitioning them into subsystems whose behaviors are roughly independent of one another at shorter timescales. Dynamic causal models clarify how doing so reveals a system’s nonequilibrium causal relationships. Here I use these models to elucidate the idealizations and abstractions involved in representing a system at a timescale. The models reveal that key features of causal representations—such as which variables are exogenous—may vary with the timescale at which a system is considered. This has (...)
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  8. Viewing-as explanations and ontic dependence.William D’Alessandro - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (3):769-792.
    According to a widespread view in metaphysics and philosophy of science, all explanations involve relations of ontic dependence between the items appearing in the explanandum and the items appearing in the explanans. I argue that a family of mathematical cases, which I call “viewing-as explanations”, are incompatible with the Dependence Thesis. These cases, I claim, feature genuine explanations that aren’t supported by ontic dependence relations. Hence the thesis isn’t true in general. The first part of the paper defends this claim (...)
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  9. Interprétabilité et explicabilité pour l’apprentissage machine : entre modèles descriptifs, modèles prédictifs et modèles causaux. Une nécessaire clarification épistémologique.Christophe Denis & Franck Varenne - 2019 - Actes de la Conférence Nationale En Intelligence Artificielle - CNIA 2019.
    Le déficit d’explicabilité des techniques d’apprentissage machine (AM) pose des problèmes opérationnels, juridiques et éthiques. Un des principaux objectifs de notre projet est de fournir des explications éthiques des sorties générées par une application fondée sur de l’AM, considérée comme une boîte noire. La première étape de ce projet, présentée dans cet article, consiste à montrer que la validation de ces boîtes noires diffère épistémologiquement de celle mise en place dans le cadre d’une modélisation mathématique et causale d’un phénomène physique. (...)
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  10. Non-naturalistic moral explanation.Samuel Baron, Mark Colyvan, Kristie Miller & Michael Rubin - 2019 - Synthese 198 (5):4273-4294.
    It has seemed, to many, that there is an important connection between the ways in which some theoretical posits explain our observations, and our reasons for being ontologically committed to those posits. One way to spell out this connection is in terms of what has become known as the explanatory criterion of ontological commitment. This is, roughly, the view that we ought to posit only those entities that are indispensable to our best explanations. Our primary aim is to argue that (...)
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  11. Universality caused: the case of renormalization group explanation.Emily Sullivan - 2019 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 9 (3):36.
    Recently, many have argued that there are certain kinds of abstract mathematical explanations that are noncausal. In particular, the irrelevancy approach suggests that abstracting away irrelevant causal details can leave us with a noncausal explanation. In this paper, I argue that the common example of Renormalization Group explanations of universality used to motivate the irrelevancy approach deserves more critical attention. I argue that the reasons given by those who hold up RG as noncausal do not stand up to critical scrutiny. (...)
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  12. Mechanisms without mechanistic explanation.Naftali Weinberger - 2019 - Synthese 196 (6):2323-2340.
    Some recent accounts of constitutive relevance have identified mechanism components with entities that are causal intermediaries between the input and output of a mechanism. I argue that on such accounts there is no distinctive inter-level form of mechanistic explanation and that this highlights an absence in the literature of a compelling argument that there are such explanations. Nevertheless, the entities that these accounts call ‘components’ do play an explanatory role. Studying causal intermediaries linking variables Xand Y provides knowledge of the (...)
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  13. Re-re-reconciling the epistemic and ontic views of explanation: a reply to Wright and van Eck.Benjamin Sheredos - manuscript
    In a recent article published in Ergo and entitled "Ontic explanation is either ontic or explanatory, but not both," Cory Wright and Dingmar van Eck have sought to undermine any ontic approach to explanation, providing three arguments to show that an epistemic approach is "the only game in town." I show that each of their arguments is straightforwardly question-begging. For brevity, I make my counter-arguments by showing how the claims of Sheredos (2016)-whom Wright & van Eck cite as an ally-undermine (...)
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  14. Path-Specific Effects.Naftali Weinberger - 2019 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 70 (1):53-76.
    A cause may influence its effect via multiple paths. Paradigmatically (Hesslow [1974]), taking birth control pills both decreases one’s risk of thrombosis by preventing pregnancy and increases it by producing a blood chemical. Building on Pearl ([2001]), I explicate the notion of a path-specific effect. Roughly, a path-specific effect of C on E via path P is the degree to which a change in C would change E were they to be transmitted only via P. Facts about such effects may (...)
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  15. Shades of Grey: Granularity, Pragmatics, and Non-Causal Explanation.Hugh Desmond - 2019 - Perspectives on Science 27 (1):68-87.
    Implicit contextual factors mean that the boundary between causal and noncausal explanation is not as neat as one might hope: as the phenomenon to be explained is given descriptions with varying degrees of granularity, the nature of the favored explanation alternates between causal and non-causal. While it is not surprising that different descriptions of the same phenomenon should favor different explanations, it is puzzling why re-describing the phenomenon should make any difference for the causal nature of the favored explanation. I (...)
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  16. Beyond cognitive myopia: a patchwork approach to the concept of neural function.Philipp Haueis - 2018 - Synthese 195 (12):5373-5402.
    In this paper, I argue that looking at the concept of neural function through the lens of cognition alone risks cognitive myopia: it leads neuroscientists to focus only on mechanisms with cognitive functions that process behaviorally relevant information when conceptualizing “neural function”. Cognitive myopia tempts researchers to neglect neural mechanisms with noncognitive functions which do not process behaviorally relevant information but maintain and repair neural and other systems of the body. Cognitive myopia similarly affects philosophy of neuroscience because scholars overlook (...)
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  17. Stability, breadth and guidance.Thomas Blanchard, Nadya Vasilyeva & Tania Lombrozo - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (9):2263-2283.
    Much recent work on explanation in the interventionist tradition emphasizes the explanatory value of stable causal generalizations—i.e., causal generalizations that remain true in a wide range of background circumstances. We argue that two separate explanatory virtues are lumped together under the heading of `stability’. We call these two virtues breadth and guidance respectively. In our view, these two virtues are importantly distinct, but this fact is neglected or at least under-appreciated in the literature on stability. We argue that an adequate (...)
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  18. Minimal Models and the Generalized Ontic Conception of Scientific Explanation.Mark Povich - 2018 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 69 (1):117-137.
    Batterman and Rice ([2014]) argue that minimal models possess explanatory power that cannot be captured by what they call ‘common features’ approaches to explanation. Minimal models are explanatory, according to Batterman and Rice, not in virtue of accurately representing relevant features, but in virtue of answering three questions that provide a ‘story about why large classes of features are irrelevant to the explanandum phenomenon’ ([2014], p. 356). In this article, I argue, first, that a method (the renormalization group) they propose (...)
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  19. ‘Pain Always Asks for a Cause’: Nietzsche and Explanation.Matthew Bennett - 2017 - European Journal of Philosophy 25 (4):1550-1568.
    Those who have emphasised Nietzsche's naturalism have often claimed that he emulates natural scientific methods by offering causal explanations of psychological, social, and moral phenomena. In order to render Nietzsche's method consistent with his methodology, such readers of Nietzsche have also claimed that his objections to the use of causal explanations are based on a limited scepticism concerning the veracity of causal explanations. My contention is that proponents of this reading are wrong about both Nietzsche's methodology and his method. I (...)
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  20. 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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  21. Generalised Reichenbachian common cause systems.Claudio Mazzola - 2019 - Synthese 196 (10):4185-4209.
    The principle of the common cause claims that if an improbable coincidence has occurred, there must exist a common cause. This is generally taken to mean that positive correlations between non-causally related events should disappear when conditioning on the action of some underlying common cause. The extended interpretation of the principle, by contrast, urges that common causes should be called for in order to explain positive deviations between the estimated correlation of two events and the expected value of their correlation. (...)
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  22. Symmetry breaking and the emergence of path-dependence.Hugh Desmond - 2017 - Synthese (10):4101-4131.
    Path-dependence offers a promising way of understanding the role historicity plays in explanation, namely, how the past states of a process can matter in the explanation of a given outcome. The two main existing accounts of path-dependence have sought to present it either in terms of dynamic landscapes or branching trees. However, the notions of landscape and tree both have serious limitations and have been criticized. The framework of causal networks is both more fundamental and more general that that of (...)
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  23. Causality, Human Action and Experimentation: Von Wright's Approach to Causation in Contemporary Perspective.Elena Popa - 2017 - Acta Philosophica Fennica 93:355-373.
    This paper discusses von Wright's theory of causation from Explanation and Understanding and Causality and Determinism in contemporary context. I argue that there are two important common points that von Wright's view shares with the version of manipulability currently supported by Woodward: the analysis of causal relations in a system modelled on controlled experiments, and the explanation of manipulability through counterfactuals - with focus on the counterfactual account of unmanipulable causes. These points also mark von Wright's departure from previous action-based (...)
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  24. The directionality of distinctively mathematical explanations.Carl F. Craver & Mark Povich - 2017 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 63:31-38.
    In “What Makes a Scientific Explanation Distinctively Mathematical?” (2013b), Lange uses several compelling examples to argue that certain explanations for natural phenomena appeal primarily to mathematical, rather than natural, facts. In such explanations, the core explanatory facts are modally stronger than facts about causation, regularity, and other natural relations. We show that Lange's account of distinctively mathematical explanation is flawed in that it fails to account for the implicit directionality in each of his examples. This inadequacy is remediable in each (...)
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  25. Introduction: Scientific Explanation Beyond Causation.Alexander Reutlinger & Juha Saatsi - 2018 - In Alexander Reutlinger & Juha Saatsi (eds.), Explanation Beyond Causation: Philosophical Perspectives on Non-Causal Explanations. Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press.
    This is an introduction to the volume "Explanation Beyond Causation: Philosophical Perspectives on Non-Causal Explanations", edited by A. Reutlinger and J. Saatsi (OUP, forthcoming in 2017). -/- 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 (...)
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  26. Collingwood and Manipulability-based Approaches to Causation: Methodological Issues.E. Popa - 2016 - Collingwood and British Idealism Studies 22 (1):139-166.
    This paper discusses methodological similarities between Collingwood's approach to causation and contemporary manipulability-based views. Firstly, I argue that on both approaches there is a preoccupation with the origin of causal concepts which further connects to the aim of establishing the priority of a certain concept/sense of causation as more fundamental. The significant difference lies in Collingwood's focus on the logical and historical priority (Collingwood's sense I) while in more recent theories the focus has been on psychology (i.e., on different philosophical (...)
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  27. There May Yet be Non-causal Explanations.Finnur Dellsén - 2016 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 47 (2):377-384.
    There are many putative counterexamples to the view that all scientific explanations are causal explanations. Using a new theory of what it is to be a causal explanation, Bradford Skow has recently argued that several of the putative counterexamples fail to be non-causal. This paper defends some of the counterexamples by showing how Skow’s argument relies on an overly permissive theory of causal explanations.
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  28. Henk W. De Regt, Sabina Leonelli and Kai Eigner , Scientific Understanding: Philosophical Perspectives. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2009. Pp. ix+352. ISBN 978-0-8229-4378-6. $65.00. [REVIEW]Jacob Stegenga - 2011 - British Journal for the History of Science 44 (4):578-580.
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  29. A Regularist Approach to Mechanistic Type-Level Explanation.Beate Krickel - 2018 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 69 (4):1123-1153.
    Most defenders of the new mechanistic approach accept ontic constraints for successful scientific explanation (Illari 2013; Craver 2014). The minimal claim is that scientific explanations have objective truthmakers, namely mechanisms that exist in the physical world independently of any observer and that cause or constitute the phenomena-to- be-explained. How can this idea be applied to type-level explanations? Many authors at least implicitly assume that in order for mechanisms to be the truthmakers of type-level explanation they need to be regular (Andersen (...)
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  30. Thomas Reid on Causation and Scientific Explanation.Manuel Barrantes & Juan Manuel Durán - 2016 - Journal of Scottish Philosophy 14 (1):51-67.
    We argue that there is no tension between Reid's description of science and his claim that science is based on the principles of common sense. For Reid, science is rooted in common sense since it is based on the idea that fixed laws govern nature. This, however, does not contradict his view that the scientific notions of causation and explanation are fundamentally different from their common sense counterparts. After discussing these points, we dispute with Cobb's and Benbaji's interpretations of Reid's (...)
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  31. Causation, physics, and fit.Christian Loew - 2017 - Synthese 194 (6):1945–1965.
    Our ordinary causal concept seems to fit poorly with how our best physics describes the world. We think of causation as a time-asymmetric dependence relation between relatively local events. Yet fundamental physics describes the world in terms of dynamical laws that are, possible small exceptions aside, time symmetric and that relate global time slices. My goal in this paper is to show why we are successful at using local, time-asymmetric models in causal explanations despite this apparent mismatch with fundamental physics. (...)
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  32. High-Level Explanation and the Interventionist’s ‘Variables Problem’.L. R. Franklin-Hall - 2016 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 67 (2):553-577.
    The interventionist account of causal explanation, in the version presented by Jim Woodward, has been recently claimed capable of buttressing the widely felt—though poorly understood—hunch that high-level, relatively abstract explanations, of the sort provided by sciences like biology, psychology and economics, are in some cases explanatorily optimal. It is the aim of this paper to show that this is mistaken. Due to a lack of effective constraints on the causal variables at the heart of the interventionist causal-explanatory scheme, as presently (...)
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  33. 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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