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  1. added 2018-02-17
    Explaining Explanation.David-Hillel Ruben - 1990 - 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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  2. added 2017-07-27
    Varying the Explanatory Span: Scientific Explanation for Computer Simulations.Juan Manuel Durán - 2017 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 31 (1):27-45.
    This article aims to develop a new account of scientific explanation for computer simulations. To this end, two questions are answered: what is the explanatory relation for computer simulations? And what kind of epistemic gain should be expected? For several reasons tailored to the benefits and needs of computer simulations, these questions are better answered within the unificationist model of scientific explanation. Unlike previous efforts in the literature, I submit that the explanatory relation is between the simulation model and the (...)
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  3. added 2017-03-02
    Explanation = Unification? A New Criticism of Friedman’s Theory and a Reply to an Old One.Roche William & Sober Elliott - 2017 - Philosophy of Science 84 (3):391-413.
    According to Michael Friedman’s theory of explanation, a law X explains laws Y1, Y2, …, Yn precisely when X unifies the Y’s, where unification is understood in terms of reducing the number of independently acceptable laws. Philip Kitcher criticized Friedman’s theory but did not analyze the concept of independent acceptability. Here we show that Kitcher’s objection can be met by modifying an element in Friedman’s account. In addition, we argue that there are serious objections to the use that Friedman makes (...)
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  4. added 2016-12-10
    Grounding and the Argument From Explanatoriness.David Kovacs - 2017 - Philosophical Studies 174 (12):2927-2952.
    In recent years, metaphysics has undergone what some describe as a revolution: it has become standard to understand a vast array of questions as questions about grounding, a metaphysical notion of determination. Why should we believe in grounding, though? Supporters of the revolution often gesture at what I call the Argument from Explanatoriness: the notion of grounding is somehow indispensable to a metaphysical type of explanation. I challenge this argument and along the way develop a “reactionary” view, according to which (...)
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  5. added 2016-02-25
    Explanatory Pluralism: An Unrewarding Prediction Error for Free Energy Theorists.Matteo Colombo & Cory Wright - 2017 - Brain and Cognition 112:3–12.
    Courtesy of its free energy formulation, the hierarchical predictive processing theory of the brain (PTB) is often claimed to be a grand unifying theory. To test this claim, we examine a central case: activity of mesocorticolimbic dopaminergic (DA) systems. After reviewing the three most prominent hypotheses of DA activity—the anhedonia, incentive salience, and reward prediction error hypotheses—we conclude that the evidence currently vindicates explanatory pluralism. This vindication implies that the grand unifying claims of advocates of PTB are unwarranted. More generally, (...)
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  6. added 2015-12-10
    Unification.T. Jones - 2008 - In Martin Curd & Stathis Psillos (eds.), The Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Science. Routledge.
    Summary: Throughout the history of science, indeed throughout the history of knowledge, unification has been touted as a central aim of intellectual inquiry. We’ve always wanted to discover not only numerous bare facts about the universe, but to show how such facts are linked and interrelated. Large amounts of time and effort have been spent trying to show diverse arrays of things can be seen as different manifestations of some common underlying entities or properties. Thales is said to have originated (...)
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  7. added 2015-09-10
    Unification and Convergence in Archaeological Explanation: The Agricultural “Wave-of-Advance” and the Origins of Indo-European Languages.Alison Wylie - 1996 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 34 (S1):1-30.
    Given the diversity of explanatory practices that is typical of the sciences a healthy pluralism would seem to be desirable where theories of explanation are concerned. Nevertheless, I argue that explanations are only unifying in Kitcher's unificationist sense if they are backed by the kind of understanding of underlying mechanisms, dispositions, constitutions, and dependencies that is central to a causalist account of explanation. This case can be made through analysis of Kitcher's account of the conditions under which apparent improvements in (...)
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  8. added 2014-04-02
    How Quantum Theory Helps Us Explain.Richard Healey - 2012 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science (1):axt031.
    I offer an account of how the quantum theory we have helps us explain so much. The account depends on a pragmatist interpretation of the theory: this takes a quantum state to serve as a source of sound advice to physically situated agents on the content and appropriate degree of belief about matters concerning which they are currently inevitably ignorant. The general account of how to use quantum states and probabilities to explain otherwise puzzling regularities is then illustrated by showing (...)
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  9. added 2014-03-21
    The Mind-Body Problem and Explanatory Dualism.Nicholas Maxwell - 2000 - Philosophy 75 (291):49-71.
    An important part of the mind-brain problem arises because sentience and consciousness seem inherently resistant to scientific explanation and understanding. The solution to this dilemma is to recognize, first, that scientific explanation can only render comprehensible a selected aspect of what there is, and second, that there is a mode of explanation and understanding, the personalistic, quite different from, but just as viable as, scientific explanation. In order to understand the mental aspect of brain processes - that aspect we know (...)
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  10. added 2014-03-04
    The Problem of Piecemeal Induction.Conor Mayo-Wilson - 2011 - Philosophy of Science 78 (5):864-874.
    It is common to assume that the problem of induction arises only because of small sample sizes or unreliable data. In this paper, I argue that the piecemeal collection of data can also lead to underdetermination of theories by evidence, even if arbitrarily large amounts of completely reliable experimental and observational data are collected. Specifically, I focus on the construction of causal theories from the results of many studies (perhaps hundreds), including randomized controlled trials and observational studies, where the studies (...)
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  11. added 2013-05-10
    In Defense of a Causal Requirement on Explanation.Garrett Pendergraft - 2011 - In Phyllis McKay Illari Federica Russo (ed.), Causality in the Sciences. Oxford University Press. pp. 470.
    Causalists about explanation claim that to explain an event is to provide information about the causal history of that event. Some causalists also endorse a proportionality claim, namely that one explanation is better than another insofar as it provides a greater amount of causal information. In this chapter I consider various challenges to these causalist claims. There is a common and influential formulation of the causalist requirement – the ‘Causal Process Requirement’ – that does appear vulnerable to these anti-causalist challenges, (...)
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  12. added 2012-04-11
    What’s Wrong With Aim-Oriented Empiricism?Nicholas Maxwell - 2015 - Acta Baltica Historiae Et Philosophiae Scientiarum 3 (2):5-31.
    For four decades it has been argued that we need to adopt a new conception of science called aim-oriented empiricism. This has far-reaching implications and repercussions for science, the philosophy of science, academic inquiry in general, conception of rationality, and how we go about attempting to make progress towards as good a world as possible. Despite these far-reaching repercussions, aim-oriented empiricism has so far received scant attention from philosophers of science. Here, sixteen objections to the validity of the argument for (...)
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  13. added 2012-04-01
    Local Complexity Adaptable Trajectory Partitioning Via Minimum Message Length.Charles R. Twardy - 2011 - In 18th IEEE International Conference on Image Processing. IEEE.
    We present a minimum message length (MML) framework for trajectory partitioning by point selection, and use it to automatically select the tolerance parameter ε for Douglas-Peucker partitioning, adapting to local trajectory complexity. By examining a range of ε for synthetic and real trajectories, it is easy to see that the best ε does vary by trajectory, and that the MML encoding makes sensible choices and is robust against Gaussian noise. We use it to explore the identification of micro-activities within a (...)
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  14. added 2011-03-16
    Non-Empirical Requirements Scientific Theories Must Satisfy: Simplicity, Unification, Explanation, Beauty.Nicholas Maxwell - 2004 - PhilSci Archive.
    A scientific theory, in order to be accepted as a part of theoretical scientific knowledge, must satisfy both empirical and non-empirical requirements, the latter having to do with simplicity, unity, explanatory character, symmetry, beauty. No satisfactory, generally accepted account of such non-empirical requirements has so far been given. Here, a proposal is put forward which, it is claimed, makes a contribution towards solving the problem. This proposal concerns unity of physical theory. In order to satisfy the non-empirical requirement of unity, (...)
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  15. added 2011-03-15
    Comprehensibility Rather Than Beauty.Nicholas Maxwell - 2001 - PhilSci Archive.
    Most scientists and philosophers of science recognize that, when it comes to accepting and rejecting theories in science, considerations that have to do with simplicity, unity, symmetry, elegance, beauty or explanatory power have an important role to play, in addition to empirical considerations. Until recently, however, no one has been able to give a satisfactory account of what simplicity (etc.) is, or how giving preference to simple theories is to be justified. But in the last few years, two different but (...)
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