Thomas Reid on Causation and Scientific Explanation

Journal of Scottish Philosophy 14 (1):51-67 (2016)
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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 views on causation and explanation. Finally, we present Reid's views from the perspective of the contemporary debate on scientific explanation

Author Profiles

Juan Manuel Durán
Delft University of Technology
Manuel Barrantes
California State University, Sacramento


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