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Causality and Explanation

Oxford University Press (1998)

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  1. Actual Causation and Simple Voting Scenarios.Jonathan Livengood - 2013 - Noûs 47 (2):316-345.
    Several prominent, contemporary theories of actual causation maintain that in order for something to count as an actual cause (in the circumstances) of some known effect, the potential cause must be a difference-maker with respect to the effect in some restricted range of circumstances. Although the theories disagree about how to restrict the range of circumstances that must be considered in deciding whether something counts as an actual cause of a known effect, the theories agree that at least some counterfactual (...)
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  • Laws, Causality and the Intentional Explanation of Action.Zhu Xu - 2010 - Frontiers of Philosophy in China 5 (2):280-293.
    Whether or not an intentional explanation of action necessarily involves law-like statements is related to another question, namely, is it a causal explanation? The Popper-Hempel Thesis , which answers both questions affirmatively, inevitably faces a dilemma between realistic and universalistic requirements. However, in terms of W.C. Salmon’s concept of causal explanation, intentional explanation can be a causal one even if it does not rely on any laws. Based on this, we are able to refute three characteristic arguments for the claim (...)
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  • Chasing Shadows: Natural Selection and Adaptation.D. M. Walsh - 2000 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 31 (1):135-153.
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  • Emergence, Closure and Inter-Level Causation in Biological Systems.Matteo Mossio, Leonardo Bich & Alvaro Moreno - 2013 - Erkenntnis 78 (2):153-178.
    In this paper, we advocate the idea that an adequate explanation of biological systems requires appealing to organizational closure as an emergent causal regime. We first develop a theoretical justification of emergence in terms of relatedness, by arguing that configurations, because of the relatedness among their constituents, possess ontologically irreducible properties, providing them with distinctive causal powers. We then focus on those emergent causal powers exerted as constraints, and we claim that biological systems crucially differ from other natural systems in (...)
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  • Interdefining Causation and Intervention.Michael Baumgartner - 2009 - Dialectica 63 (2):175-194.
    Non-reductive interventionist theories of causation and methodologies of causal reasoning embedded in that theoretical framework have become increasingly popular in recent years. This paper argues that one variant of an interventionist account of causation, viz. the one presented, for example, in Woodward (2003 ), is unsuited as a theoretical fundament of interventionist methodologies of causal reasoning, because it renders corresponding methodologies incapable of uncovering a causal structure in a finite number of steps. This finding runs counter to Woodward's own assessment (...)
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  • Symposium on Explanations and Social Ontology 2: Explanatory Ecumenism and Economics Imperialism.Uskali Mäki - 2002 - Economics and Philosophy 18 (2):235-257.
    In a series of insightful publications, Philip Pettit and Frank Jackson have argued for an explanatory ecumenism that is designed to justify a variety of types of social scientific explanation of different , including structural and rational choice explanations. Their arguments are put in terms of different kinds of explanatory information; the distinction between causal efficacy, causal relevance and explanatory relevance within their program model of explanation; and virtual reality and resilience explanation. The arguments are here assessed from the point (...)
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  • Is Our Universe Deterministic? Some Philosophical and Theological Reflections on an Elusive Topic.Taede A. Smedes - 2003 - Zygon 38 (4):955-979.
    . The question of whether or not our universe is deterministic remains of interest to both scientists and theologians. In this essay I argue that this question can be solved only by metaphysical decision and that no scientific evidence for either determinism or indeterminism will ever be conclusive. No finite being, no matter how powerful its cognitive abilities, will ever be able to establish the deterministic nature of the universe. The only being that would be capable of doing so would (...)
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  • An Organisational Approach to Biological Communication.Ramiro Frick, Leonardo Bich & Alvaro Moreno - 2019 - Acta Biotheoretica.
    This paper aims to provide a philosophical and theoretical account of biological communication grounded in the notion of organisation. The organisational approach characterises living systems as organised in such a way that they are capable to self-produce and self-maintain while in constant interaction with the environment. To apply this theoretical framework to the study of biological communication, we focus on a specific approach, based on the notion of influence, according to which communication takes place when a signal emitted by a (...)
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  • Explanation and Randomness.José Luis Rolleri - 2010 - Theoria : An International Journal for Theory, History and Fundations of Science 25 (1):59-73.
    The aim of this paper is to elaborate a notion of explanation which is applicable to stochastic processes such as quantum processes. The model-theoretic approach was adopted in order to delimit appropriate classes, by defining set-theoretical predicates, of different kinds of physical transformations that quantum systems suffer, either of transitions or of transmutations, by interaction or in a spontaneous manner. To explain a singular quantum process consists in showing that it is feasible to model it as an indeterministic process of (...)
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  • Causation, Unification, and the Adequacy of Explanations of Facts.Jeroen van Bouwel - 2009 - Theoria: Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia 24 (3):301-320.
    Pluralism with respect to the structure of explanations of facts is not uncommon. Wesley Salmon, for instance, distinguished two types of explanation: causal explanations (which provide insight in the causes of the fact we want to explain) and unification explanations (which fit the explanandum into a unified world view). The pluralism which Salmon and others have defended is compatible with several positions about the exact relation between these two types of explanations. We distinguish four such positions, and argue in favour (...)
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  • How to Construct a Minimal Theory of Mind.Stephen A. Butterfill & Ian A. Apperly - 2013 - Mind and Language 28 (5):606-637.
    What could someone represent that would enable her to track, at least within limits, others' perceptions, knowledge states and beliefs including false beliefs? An obvious possibility is that she might represent these very attitudes as such. It is sometimes tacitly or explicitly assumed that this is the only possible answer. However, we argue that several recent discoveries in developmental, cognitive, and comparative psychology indicate the need for other, less obvious possibilities. Our aim is to meet this need by describing the (...)
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  • Multiple Realizability and the Semantic View of Theories.Colin Klein - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 163 (3):683-695.
    Multiply realizable properties are those whose realizers are physically diverse. It is often argued that theories which contain them are ipso facto irreducible. These arguments assume that physical explanations are restricted to the most specific descriptions possible of physical entities. This assumption is descriptively false, and philosophically unmotivated. I argue that it is a holdover from the late positivist axiomatic view of theories. A semantic view of theories, by contrast, correctly allows scientific explanations to be couched in the most perspicuous, (...)
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  • Causal Realism: Events and Processes.Anjan Chakravartty - 2005 - Erkenntnis 63 (1):7-31.
    Minimally, causal realism (as understood here) is the view that accounts of causation in terms of mere, regular or probabilistic conjunction are unsatisfactory, and that causal phenomena are correctly associated with some form of de re necessity. Classic arguments, however, some of which date back to Sextus Empiricus and have appeared many times since, including famously in Russell, suggest that the very notion of causal realism is incoherent. In this paper I argue that if such objections seem compelling, it is (...)
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  • How Can Causal Explanations Explain?Jon Williamson - 2013 - Erkenntnis 78 (2):257-275.
    The mechanistic and causal accounts of explanation are often conflated to yield a ‘causal-mechanical’ account. This paper prizes them apart and asks: if the mechanistic account is correct, how can causal explanations be explanatory? The answer to this question varies according to how causality itself is understood. It is argued that difference-making, mechanistic, dualist and inferentialist accounts of causality all struggle to yield explanatory causal explanations, but that an epistemic account of causality is more promising in this regard.
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  • Explanation, Entailment, and Leibnizian Cosmological Arguments.Christopher G. Weaver - 2009 - Metaphysica 10 (1):97-108.
    I argue that there are Leibnizian-style cosmological arguments for the existence of God which start from very mild premises which affirm the mere possibility of a principle of sufficient reason. The utilization of such premises gives a great deal of plausibility to such types of argumentation. I spend the majority of the paper defending three major objections to such mild premises viz., a reductio argument from Peter van Inwagen and William Rowe, which proffers and defends the idea that a necessary (...)
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  • ‘Total Evidence’ in Phylogenetic Systematics.Olivier Rieppel - 2009 - Biology and Philosophy 24 (5):607-622.
    Taking its clues from Popperian philosophy of science, cladistics adopted a number of assumptions of the empiricist tradition. These include the identification of a dichotomy between observation reports and theoretical statements and its subsequent abandonment on the basis of the insight that all observation reports are theory-laden. The neglect of the ‘context of discovery’, which is the step of theory (hypothesis) generation. The emphasis on coherentism in the ‘context of justification’, which is the step of evaluation of the relative merits (...)
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  • The Misunderstood Limits of Folk Science: An Illusion of Explanatory Depth.Leonid Rozenblit & Frank Keil - 2002 - Cognitive Science 26 (5):521-562.
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  • Coherence Measures and Inference to the Best Explanation.David H. Glass - 2007 - Synthese 157 (3):275-296.
    This paper considers an application of work on probabilistic measures of coherence to inference to the best explanation. Rather than considering information reported from different sources, as is usually the case when discussing coherence measures, the approach adopted here is to use a coherence measure to rank competing explanations in terms of their coherence with a piece of evidence. By adopting such an approach IBE can be made more precise and so a major objection to this mode of reasoning can (...)
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  • Dissecting Explanatory Power.Petri Ylikoski & Jaakko Kuorikoski - 2010 - Philosophical Studies 148 (2):201–219.
    Comparisons of rival explanations or theories often involve vague appeals to explanatory power. In this paper, we dissect this metaphor by distinguishing between different dimensions of the goodness of an explanation: non-sensitivity, cognitive salience, precision, factual accuracy and degree of integration. These dimensions are partially independent and often come into conflict. Our main contribution is to go beyond simple stipulation or description by explicating why these factors are taken to be explanatory virtues. We accomplish this by using the contrastive-counterfactual approach (...)
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  • The Psychology of Scientific Explanation.J. D. Trout - 2007 - Philosophy Compass 2 (3):564–591.
    Philosophers agree that scientific explanations aim to produce understanding, and that good ones succeed in this aim. But few seriously consider what understanding is, or what the cues are when we have it. If it is a psychological state or process, describing its specific nature is the job of psychological theorizing. This article examines the role of understanding in scientific explanation. It warns that the seductive, phenomenological sense of understanding is often, but mistakenly, viewed as a cue of genuine understanding. (...)
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  • Wesley Salmon's Complementarity Thesis: Causalism and Unificationism Reconciled?Henk W. de Regt - 2006 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 20 (2):129 – 147.
    In his later years, Wesley Salmon believed that the two dominant models of scientific explanation (his own causal-mechanical model and the unificationist model) were reconcilable. Salmon envisaged a 'new consensus' about explanation: he suggested that the two models represent two 'complementary' types of explanation, which may 'peacefully coexist' because they illuminate different aspects of scientific understanding. This paper traces the development of Salmon's ideas and presents a critical analysis of his complementarity thesis. Salmon's thesis is rejected on the basis of (...)
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  • Evidence and the Assessment of Causal Relations in the Health Sciences.Raffaella Campaner & Maria Carla Galavotti - 2012 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 26 (1):27 - 45.
    This contribution claims that the two fundamental notions of causation at work in the health sciences are manipulative and mechanistic, and investigates what kinds of evidence matter for the assessment of causal relations. This article is a development of our 2007 article, ?Plurality of Causality?, where we argue for a pluralistic account of causation with an eye to econometrics and a single medical example. The present contribution has a wider focus, and considers the notion of evidence within a whole range (...)
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  • Styles of Sociological Thought: Sociologies, Epistemologies, and the Mexican and U.S. Quests for Truth.Gabriel Abend - 2006 - Sociological Theory 24 (1):1-41.
    Both U.S. and Mexican sociologies allege that they are in the business of making true scientific knowledge claims about the social world. Conventional conceptions of science notwithstanding, I demonstrate that their claims to truth and scientificity are based on alternative epistemological grounds. Drawing a random sample of nonquantitative articles from four leading journals, I show that, first, they assign a different role to theories, and indeed they have dissimilar understandings of what a theory should consist of. Second, whereas U.S. sociology (...)
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  • Can Determinable Properties Earn Their Keep?Robert Schroer - 2011 - Synthese 183 (2):229-247.
    Sydney Shoemaker's "Subset Account" offers a new take on determinable properties and the realization relation as well as a defense of non-reductive physicalism from the problem of mental causation. At the heart of this account are the claims that (1) mental properties are determinable properties and (2) the causal powers that individuate a determinable property are a proper subset of the causal powers that individuate the determinates of that property. The second claim, however, has led to the accusation that the (...)
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  • Interpreting Causality in the Health Sciences.Federica Russo & Jon Williamson - 2007 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 21 (2):157 – 170.
    We argue that the health sciences make causal claims on the basis of evidence both of physical mechanisms, and of probabilistic dependencies. Consequently, an analysis of causality solely in terms of physical mechanisms or solely in terms of probabilistic relationships, does not do justice to the causal claims of these sciences. Yet there seems to be a single relation of cause in these sciences - pluralism about causality will not do either. Instead, we maintain, the health sciences require a theory (...)
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  • Understanding Mechanisms in the Health Sciences.Raffaella Campaner - 2011 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 32 (1):5-17.
    This article focuses on the assessment of mechanistic relations with specific attention to medicine, where mechanistic models are widely employed. I first survey recent contributions in the philosophical literature on mechanistic causation, and then take issue with Federica Russo and Jon Williamson’s thesis that two types of evidence, probabilistic and mechanistic, are at stake in the health sciences. I argue instead that a distinction should be drawn between previously acquired knowledge of mechanisms and yet-to-be-discovered knowledge of mechanisms and that both (...)
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  • Dispositional Versus Epistemic Causality.Jon Williamson - 2006 - Minds and Machines 16 (3):259-276.
    I put forward several desiderata that a philosophical theory of causality should satisfy: it should account for the objectivity of causality, it should underpin formalisms for causal reasoning, it should admit a viable epistemology, it should be able to cope with the great variety of causal claims that are made, and it should be ontologically parsimonious. I argue that Nancy Cartwright’s dispositional account of causality goes part way towards meeting these criteria but is lacking in important respects. I go on (...)
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  • Mechanistic Explanation Without the Ontic Conception.Cory Wright - 2012 - European Journal of Philosophy of Science 2 (3):375-394.
    The ontic conception of scientific explanation has been constructed and motivated on the basis of a putative lexical ambiguity in the term explanation. I raise a puzzle for this ambiguity claim, and then give a deflationary solution under which all ontically-rendered talk of explanation is merely elliptical; what it is elliptical for is a view of scientific explanation that altogether avoids the ontic conception. This result has revisionary consequences for New Mechanists and other philosophers of science, many of whom have (...)
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  • Machine Experiments and Theoretical Modelling: From Cybernetic Methodology to Neuro-Robotics. [REVIEW]Guglielmo Tamburrini & Edoardo Datteri - 2005 - Minds and Machines 15 (3-4):335-358.
    Cybernetics promoted machine-supported investigations of adaptive sensorimotor behaviours observed in biological systems. This methodological approach receives renewed attention in contemporary robotics, cognitive ethology, and the cognitive neurosciences. Its distinctive features concern machine experiments, and their role in testing behavioural models and explanations flowing from them. Cybernetic explanations of behavioural events, regularities, and capacities rely on multiply realizable mechanism schemata, and strike a sensible balance between causal and unifying constraints. The multiple realizability of cybernetic mechanism schemata paves the way to principled (...)
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  • Reliability Via Synthetic a Priori: Reichenbach’s Doctoral Thesis on Probability.Frederick Eberhardt - 2011 - Synthese 181 (1):125-136.
    Hans Reichenbach is well known for his limiting frequency view of probability, with his most thorough account given in The Theory of Probability in 1935/1949. Perhaps less known are Reichenbach's early views on probability and its epistemology. In his doctoral thesis from 1915, Reichenbach espouses a Kantian view of probability, where the convergence limit of an empirical frequency distribution is guaranteed to exist thanks to the synthetic a priori principle of lawful distribution. Reichenbach claims to have given a purely objective (...)
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  • Debunking Rationalist Defenses of Common-Sense Ontology: An Empirical Approach.Robert Osborne - 2016 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 7 (1):197-221.
    Debunking arguments typically attempt to show that a set of beliefs or other intensional mental states bear no appropriate explanatory connection to the facts they purport to be about. That is, a debunking argument will attempt to show that beliefs about p are not held because of the facts about p. Such beliefs, if true, would then only be accidentally so. Thus, their causal origins constitute an undermining defeater. Debunking arguments arise in various philosophical domains, targeting beliefs about morality, the (...)
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  • A Phenomenological Reading of Anomalous Monism.Andrea Zhok - 2011 - Husserl Studies 27 (3):227-256.
    The essay discusses Donald Davidson’s concept of anomalous monism in the framework of Husserlian phenomenology. It develops in four stages. Section 1 is devoted to a critical presentation of the argument for anomalous monism. Section 2 succinctly examines those Husserlian notions that best provide the ground for a discussion parallel to Davidson’s. In Sect. 3, the aporetic status of “mental causation” is analyzed by providing a genetic-phenomenological account of efficient causation. Section 4 draws some general conclusions concerning the kind of (...)
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  • Negative Causation in Causal and Mechanistic Explanation.D. Benjamin Barros - 2013 - Synthese 190 (3):449-469.
    Instances of negative causation—preventions, omissions, and the like—have long created philosophical worries. In this paper, I argue that concerns about negative causation can be addressed in the context of causal explanation generally, and mechanistic explanation specifically. The gravest concern about negative causation is that it exacerbates the problem of causal promiscuity—that is, the problem that arises when a particular account of causation identifies too many causes for a particular effect. In the explanatory context, the problem of promiscuity can be solved (...)
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  • Lucky Understanding Without Knowledge.Yasha Rohwer - 2014 - Synthese 191 (5):1-15.
    Can one still have understanding in situations that involve the kind of epistemic luck that undermines knowledge? Kvanvig (The value of knowledge and the pursuit of understanding, 2003; in: Haddock A, Miller A, Pritchard D (eds) Epistemic value, 2009a; in: Haddock A, Miller A, Pritchard D (eds) Epistemic value, 2009b) says yes, Prichard (Grazer Philos Stud 77:325–339, 2008; in: O’Hear A (ed) Epistemology, 2009; in: Pritchard D, Millar A, Haddock A (eds) The nature and value of knowledge: three investigations, 2010) (...)
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  • An Inferential Model of Scientific Understanding.Mark Newman - 2012 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 26 (1):1 - 26.
    In this article I argue that two current accounts of scientific understanding are incorrect and I propose an alternative theory. My new account draws on recent research in cognitive psychology which reveals the importance of making causal and logical inferences on the basis of incoming information. To understand a phenomenon we need to make particular kinds of inferences concerning the explanations we are given. Specifically, we come to understand a phenomenon scientifically by developing mental models that incorporate the correct causal (...)
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  • Methodological Realism and Modal Resourcefulness: Out of the Web and Into the Mine.Lydia Patton - 2015 - Synthese 192 (11):3443-3462.
    Psillos, Kitcher, and Leplin have defended convergent scientific realism against the pessimistic meta-induction by arguing for the divide et impera strategy. I argue that DEI faces a problem more serious than the pessimistic meta-induction: the problem of accretion. When empirically successful theories and principles are combined, they may no longer make successful predictions or allow for accurate calculations, or the combination otherwise may be an empirical failure. The shift from classical mechanics to the new quantum theory does not reflect the (...)
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  • The Explanatory Potential of Artificial Societies.Till Grüne-Yanoff - 2009 - Synthese 169 (3):539 - 555.
    It is often claimed that artificial society simulations contribute to the explanation of social phenomena. At the hand of a particular example, this paper argues that artificial societies often cannot provide full explanations, because their models are not or cannot be validated. Despite that, many feel that such simulations somehow contribute to our understanding. This paper tries to clarify this intuition by investigating whether artificial societies provide potential explanations. It is shown that these potential explanations, if they contribute to our (...)
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  • Are Causal Structure and Intervention Judgments Inextricably Linked? A Developmental Study.Caren A. Frosch, Teresa McCormack, David A. Lagnado & Patrick Burns - 2012 - Cognitive Science 36 (2):261-285.
    The application of the formal framework of causal Bayesian Networks to children’s causal learning provides the motivation to examine the link between judgments about the causal structure of a system, and the ability to make inferences about interventions on components of the system. Three experiments examined whether children are able to make correct inferences about interventions on different causal structures. The first two experiments examined whether children’s causal structure and intervention judgments were consistent with one another. In Experiment 1, children (...)
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  • Idealizations and Scientific Understanding.Moti Mizrahi - 2012 - Philosophical Studies 160 (2):237-252.
    In this paper, I propose that the debate in epistemology concerning the nature and value of understanding can shed light on the role of scientific idealizations in producing scientific understanding. In philosophy of science, the received view seems to be that understanding is a species of knowledge. On this view, understanding is factive just as knowledge is, i.e., if S knows that p, then p is true. Epistemologists, however, distinguish between different kinds of understanding. Among epistemologists, there are those who (...)
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  • A Defense of a Unificationist Theory of Explanation.Rebecca Schweder - 2005 - Foundations of Science 10 (4):421-435.
    This paper defends a unificationist theory of explanation. I first explore the notion of understanding entrenched by the unificationist. Then I present an overview of various kinds of causal statements and explanations. It is claimed that only genuine causal law statements have explanatory power. Finally, I attempt to fit causal explanations into the unificationist theory of explanation. In this way, I try to provide an account of how causal explanations provide understanding of the phenomena that they explain.
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  • Scientific Understanding.Peter Kosso - 2007 - Foundations of Science 12 (2):173-188.
    Knowledge of many facts does not amount to understanding unless one also has a sense of how the facts fit together. This aspect of coherence among scientific observations and theories is usually overlooked in summaries of scientific method, since the emphasis is on justification and verification rather than on understanding. I argue that the inter-theoretic coherence, as the hallmark of understanding, is an essential and informative component of any accurate description of science.
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  • No Time, No Wholes: A Temporal and Causal-Oriented Approach to the Ontology of Wholes. [REVIEW]Riccardo Manzotti - 2009 - Axiomathes 19 (2):193-214.
    What distinguishes a whole from an arbitrary sum of elements? I suggest a temporal and causal oriented approach. I defend two connected claims. The former is that existence is, by every means, coextensive with being the cause of a causal process. The latter is that a whole is the cause of a causal process with a joint effect. Thus, a whole is something that takes place in time. The approach endorses an unambiguous version of Restricted Composition that suits most commonsensical (...)
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  • On the Structure of Explanatory Unification: The Case of Geographical Economics.Uskali Mäki & Caterina Marchionni - 2009 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 40 (2):185-195.
    A newly emerged field within economics, known as geographical economics claims to have provided a unified approach to the study of spatial agglomerations at different spatial scales by showing how these can be traced back to the same basic economic mechanisms. We analyze this contemporary episode of explanatory unification in relation to major philosophical accounts of unification. In particular, we examine the role of argument patterns in unifying derivations, the role of ontological convictions and mathematical structures in shaping unification, the (...)
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  • Unification, the Answer to Resemblance Questions.Erik Weber & Merel Lefevere - 2017 - Synthese 194 (9):3501-3521.
    In the current literature on scientific explanation unification became unfashionable in favour of causal approaches. We want to bring unification back into the picture. In this paper we demonstrate that resemblance questions do occur in scientific practice and that they cannot be properly answered without unification. Our examples show that resemblance questions about particular facts demand what we call causal network unification, while resemblance questions about regularities require what we call mechanism unification. We clarify how these types of unification relate (...)
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  • A Field Guide to Mechanisms: Part II.Holly Andersen - 2014 - Philosophy Compass 9 (4):284-293.
    In this field guide, I distinguish five separate senses with which the term ‘mechanism’ is used in contemporary philosophy of science. Many of these senses have overlapping areas of application but involve distinct philosophical claims and characterize the target mechanisms in relevantly different ways. This field guide will clarify the key features of each sense and introduce some main debates, distinguishing those that transpire within a given sense from those that are best understood as concerning two distinct senses. The ‘new (...)
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  • Should Causal Models Always Be Markovian? The Case of Multi-Causal Forks in Medicine.Donald Gillies & Aidan Sudbury - 2013 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 3 (3):275-308.
    The development of causal modelling since the 1950s has been accompanied by a number of controversies, the most striking of which concerns the Markov condition. Reichenbach's conjunctive forks did satisfy the Markov condition, while Salmon's interactive forks did not. Subsequently some experts in the field have argued that adequate causal models should always satisfy the Markov condition, while others have claimed that non-Markovian causal models are needed in some cases. This paper argues for the second position by considering the multi-causal (...)
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  • What Is Complexity Science? It Is Really Order-Creation Science.Bill McKelvey - 2001 - Emergence: Complexity and Organization 3 (1):137-157.
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  • On 'Stabilising' Medical Mechanisms, Truth-Makers and Epistemic Causality: A Critique to Williamson and Russo's Approach.Stefan Dragulinescu - 2012 - Synthese 187 (2):785-800.
    In this paper I offer an anti-Humean critique to Williamson and Russo’s approach to medical mechanisms. I focus on one of the specific claims made by Williamson and Russo, namely the claim that micro-structural ‘mechanisms’ provide evidence for the stability across populations of causal relationships ascertained at the (macro-) level of (test) populations. This claim is grounded in the epistemic account of causality developed by Williamson, an account which—while not relying exclusively on mechanistic evidence for justifying causal judgements—appeals nevertheless to (...)
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  • Mental Causation and the Metaphysics of Causation.Michael Esfeld - 2007 - Erkenntnis 67 (2):207 - 220.
    The paper argues for four claims: (1) The problem of mental causation and the argument for its solution in terms of the identity of mental with physical causes are independent of the theory of causation one favours. (2) If one considers our experience of agency as described by folk psychology to be veridical, one is committed to an anti-Humean metaphysics of causation in terms of powers that establish necessary connections. The same goes for functional properties in general. (3) A metaphysics (...)
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  • Mechanistic Theories of Causality Part I.Jon Williamson - 2011 - Philosophy Compass 6 (6):421-432.
    Part I of this paper introduces a range of mechanistic theories of causality, including process theories and the complex-systems theories, and some of the problems they face. Part II argues that while there is a decisive case against a purely mechanistic analysis, a viable theory of causality must incorporate mechanisms as an ingredient, and describes one way of providing an analysis of causality which reaps the rewards of the mechanistic approach without succumbing to its pitfalls.
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