Some Concerns Regarding Explanatory Pluralism: The Explanatory Role of Optimality Models

Filozofia Nauki 28 (4):95-113 (2019)
Download Edit this record How to cite View on PhilPapers
Abstract
Optimality models are widely used in different parts of biology. Two important questions that have been asked about such models are: are they explanatory and, if so, what type of explanations do they offer? My concern in this paper is with the approach of Rice (2012, 2015) and Irvine (2015), who claim that these models provide non-causal explanations. I argue that there are serious problems with this approach and with the accounts of explanation it is intended to justify. The idea behind this undertaking is to draw attention to an important issue associated with the recent pluralist stance on explanation: the rampant proliferation of theories of explanation. This proliferation supports a pluralist perspective on explanation, and pluralism encourages such a proliferation. But, if we are not careful about how we arrive at and how we justify new accounts of explanation — i.e., if we do not try to avoid the sort of problems discussed in this paper — we may end up trivializing the concept of explanation.
PhilPapers/Archive ID
TRZSCR
Upload history
Archival date: 2020-01-20
View other versions
Added to PP index
2020-01-07

Total views
150 ( #33,145 of 2,425,991 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
92 ( #7,144 of 2,425,991 )

How can I increase my downloads?

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