Explanation and understanding: An alternative to Strevens’ Depth

Download Edit this record How to cite View on PhilPapers
Abstract
Michael Strevens offers an account of causal explanation according to which explanatory practice is shaped by counterbalanced commitments to representing causal influence and abstracting away from overly specific details. In this paper, I challenge a key feature of that account. I argue that what Strevens calls explanatory frameworks figure prominently in explanatory practice because they actually improve explanations. This suggestion is simple but has far-reaching implications. It affects the status of explanations that cite multiply realizable properties; changes the explanatory role of causal factors with small effect; and undermines Strevens’ titular explanatory virtue, depth. This results in greater coherence with explanatory practice and accords with the emphasis that Strevens places on explanatory patterns. Ultimately, my suggestion preserves a tight connection between explanation and the creation of understanding by taking into account explanations’ role in communication
ISBN(s)
PhilPapers/Archive ID
POTEAU
Revision history
Archival date: 2015-11-21
View upload history
References found in this work BETA
Causation.Lewis, David K.

View all 24 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
Biological Explanation.Potochnik, Angela

View all 6 citations / Add more citations

Added to PP index
2010-11-18

Total views
710 ( #4,995 of 50,387 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
45 ( #13,174 of 50,387 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks to external links.