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  1. Should Explanations Omit the Details?Darren Bradley - 2020 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 71 (3):827-853.
    There is a widely shared belief that the higher-level sciences can provide better explanations than lower-level sciences. But there is little agreement about exactly why this is so. It is often suggested that higher-level explanations are better because they omit details. I will argue instead that the preference for higher-level explanations is just a special case of our general preference for informative, logically strong, beliefs. I argue that our preference for informative beliefs entirely accounts for why higher-level explanations are sometimes (...)
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  • How to Define Levels of Explanation and Evaluate Their Indispensability.Christopher Clarke - 2017 - Synthese 194 (6).
    Some explanations in social science, psychology and biology belong to a higher level than other explanations. And higher explanations possess the virtue of abstracting away from the details of lower explanations, many philosophers argue. As a result, these higher explanations are irreplaceable. And this suggests that there are genuine higher laws or patterns involving social, psychological and biological states. I show that this ‘abstractness argument’ is really an argument schema, not a single argument. This is because the argument uses the (...)
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  • What Is Bayesian Confirmation For?Darren Bradley - 2017 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 31 (3):229-241.
    Peter Brössel and Franz Huber in 2015 argued that the Bayesian concept of confirmation had no use. I will argue that it has both the uses they discussed—it can be used for making claims about how worthy of belief various hypotheses are, and it can be used to measure the epistemic value of experiments. Furthermore, it can be useful in explanations. More generally, I will argue that more coarse-grained concepts can be useful, even when we have more fine-grained concepts available.
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  • Whewell’s Hylomorphism as a Metaphorical Explanation for How Mind and World Merge.Ragnar Van Der Merwe - forthcoming - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie:DOI: 10.1007/s10838-021-09595-x.
    William Whewell’s 19th century philosophy of science is sometimes glossed over as a footnote to Kant. There is however a key feature of Whewell’s account worth noting. This is his appeal to Aristotle’s form/matter hylomorphism as a metaphor to explain how mind and world merge in successful scientific inquiry. Whewell’s hylomorphism suggests a middle way between rationalism and empiricism reminiscent of experience pragmatists like Steven Levine’s view that mind and world are entwined in experience. I argue however that Levine does (...)
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  • The Correlation Argument for Reductionism.Christopher Clarke - 2019 - Philosophy of Science 86 (1):76-97.
    Reductionists say things like: all mental properties are physical properties; all normative properties are natural properties. I argue that the only way to resist reductionism is to deny that causation is difference making (thus making the epistemology of causation a mystery) or to deny that properties are individuated by their causal powers (thus making properties a mystery). That is to say, unless one is happy to deny supervenience, or to trivialize the debate over reductionism. To show this, I argue that (...)
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  • Explanations of Exceptions in Biology: Corrective Asymmetry Versus Autonomy.Jani Raerinne - 2017 - Synthese 194 (12):5073-5092.
    It is often argued that biological generalizations have a distinctive and special status by comparison with the generalizations of other natural sciences, such as that biological generalizations are riddled with exceptions defying systematic and simple treatment. This special status of biology is used as a premise in arguments that posit a deprived explanatory, nomological, or methodological status in the biological sciences. I will discuss the traditional and still almost universally held idea that the biological sciences cannot deal with exceptions and (...)
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  • Difference-making and deterministic chance.Harjit Bhogal - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 178 (7):2215-2235.
    Why do we value higher-level scientific explanations if, ultimately, the world is physical? An attractive answer is that physical explanations often cite facts that don’t make a difference to the event in question. I claim that to properly develop this view we need to commit to a type of deterministic chance. And in doing so, we see the theoretical utility of deterministic chance, giving us reason to accept a package of views including deterministic chance.
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