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  1. Understanding Why.Alison Hills - 2015 - Noûs 49 (2):661-688.
    I argue that understanding why p involves a kind of intellectual know how and differsfrom both knowledge that p and knowledge why p (as they are standardly understood).I argue that understanding, in this sense, is valuable.
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  • The Ontic Account of Scientific Explanation.Carl F. Craver - 2014 - In Marie I. Kaiser, Oliver R. Scholz, Daniel Plenge & Andreas Hüttemann (eds.), Explanation in the special science: The case of biology and history. Dordrecht: Springer. pp. 27-52.
    According to one large family of views, scientific explanations explain a phenomenon (such as an event or a regularity) by subsuming it under a general representation, model, prototype, or schema (see Bechtel, W., & Abrahamsen, A. (2005). Explanation: A mechanist alternative. Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, 36(2), 421–441; Churchland, P. M. (1989). A neurocomputational perspective: The nature of mind and the structure of science. Cambridge: MIT Press; Darden (2006); Hempel, C. G. (1965). Aspects of scientific (...)
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  • Are Newtonian Gravitation and Geometrized Newtonian Gravitation Theoretically Equivalent?James Owen Weatherall - 2016 - Erkenntnis 81 (5):1073-1091.
    I argue that a criterion of theoretical equivalence due to Glymour :227–251, 1977) does not capture an important sense in which two theories may be equivalent. I then motivate and state an alternative criterion that does capture the sense of equivalence I have in mind. The principal claim of the paper is that relative to this second criterion, the answer to the question posed in the title is “yes”, at least on one natural understanding of Newtonian gravitation.
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  • Diagrams as Tools for Scientific Reasoning.Adele Abrahamsen & William Bechtel - 2015 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 6 (1):117-131.
    We contend that diagrams are tools not only for communication but also for supporting the reasoning of biologists. In the mechanistic research that is characteristic of biology, diagrams delineate the phenomenon to be explained, display explanatory relations, and show the organized parts and operations of the mechanism proposed as responsible for the phenomenon. Both phenomenon diagrams and explanatory relations diagrams, employing graphs or other formats, facilitate applying visual processing to the detection of relevant patterns. Mechanism diagrams guide reasoning about how (...)
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  • Writing the Book of the World.Theodore Sider - 2011 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
    In order to perfectly describe the world, it is not enough to speak truly. One must also use the right concepts - including the right logical concepts. One must use concepts that "carve at the joints", that give the world's "structure". There is an objectively correct way to "write the book of the world". Much of metaphysics, as traditionally conceived, is about the fundamental nature of reality; in the present terms, this is about the world's structure. Metametaphysics - inquiry into (...)
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  • No understanding without explanation.Michael Strevens - 2013 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 44 (3):510-515.
    Scientific understanding, this paper argues, can be analyzed entirely in terms of a mental act of “grasping” and a notion of explanation. To understand why a phenomenon occurs is to grasp a correct explanation of the phenomenon. To understand a scientific theory is to be able to construct, or at least to grasp, a range of potential explanations in which that theory accounts for other phenomena. There is no route to scientific understanding, then, that does not go by way of (...)
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  • Depth: An Account of Scientific Explanation.Michael Strevens - 2008 - Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.
    Approaches to explanation -- Causal and explanatory relevance -- The kairetic account of /D making -- The kairetic account of explanation -- Extending the kairetic account -- Event explanation and causal claims -- Regularity explanation -- Abstraction in regularity explanation -- Approaches to probabilistic explanation -- Kairetic explanation of frequencies -- Kairetic explanation of single outcomes -- Looking outward -- Looking inward.
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  • Making things happen: a theory of causal explanation.James F. Woodward - 2003 - New York: Oxford University Press.
    Woodward's long awaited book is an attempt to construct a comprehensive account of causation explanation that applies to a wide variety of causal and explanatory claims in different areas of science and everyday life. The book engages some of the relevant literature from other disciplines, as Woodward weaves together examples, counterexamples, criticisms, defenses, objections, and replies into a convincing defense of the core of his theory, which is that we can analyze causation by appeal to the notion of manipulation.
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  • Theoretical Realism and Theoretical Equivalence.Clark Glymour - 1970 - PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1970:275 - 288.
    Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of J STOR’s Terms and Conditions of Use, available at http://www.jstor.org/about/tenns.htm1. J STOR’s Terms and Conditions of Use provides, in part, that unless you have obtained prior permission, you may not download an entire issue of a journal or multiple copies of articles, and you may use content in the JSTOR archive only for your personal, non—commercial use.
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  • Epistemic Dependence and Understanding: Reformulating through Symmetry.Josh Hunt - 2023 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 74 (4):941-974.
    Science frequently gives us multiple, compatible ways of solving the same problem or formulating the same theory. These compatible formulations change our understanding of the world, despite providing the same explanations. According to what I call "conceptualism," reformulations change our understanding by clarifying the epistemic structure of theories. I illustrate conceptualism by analyzing a typical example of symmetry-based reformulation in chemical physics. This case study poses a problem for "explanationism," the rival thesis that differences in understanding require ontic explanatory differences. (...)
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  • Equivalent and Inequivalent Formulations of Classical Mechanics.Thomas William Barrett - 2019 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 70 (4):1167-1199.
    In this article, I examine whether or not the Hamiltonian and Lagrangian formulations of classical mechanics are equivalent theories. I do so by applying a standard for equivalence that was recently introduced into philosophy of science by Halvorson and Weatherall. This case study yields three general philosophical payoffs. The first concerns what a theory is, while the second and third concern how we should interpret what our physical theories say about the world. 1Introduction 2When Are Two Theories Equivalent? 3Preliminaries on (...)
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  • The “Structure” of Physics.Jill North - 2009 - Journal of Philosophy 106 (2):57-88.
    We are used to talking about the “structure” posited by a given theory of physics, such as the spacetime structure of relativity. What is “structure”? What does the mathematical structure used to formulate a theory tell us about the physical world according to the theory? What if there are different mathematical formulations of a given theory? Do different formulations posit different structures, or are they merely notational variants? I consider the case of Lagrangian and Hamiltonian classical mechanics. I argue that, (...)
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  • Scientific Theories.Hans Halvorson - 2014 - In Paul Humphreys (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Science. New York, NY, USA: Oxford University Press. pp. 585-608.
    Since the beginning of the 20th century, philosophers of science have asked, "what kind of thing is a scientific theory?" The logical positivists answered: a scientific theory is a mathematical theory, plus an empirical interpretation of that theory. Moreover, they assumed that a mathematical theory is specified by a set of axioms in a formal language. Later 20th century philosophers questioned this account, arguing instead that a scientific theory need not include a mathematical component; or that the mathematical component need (...)
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  • Because Without Cause: Non-Causal Explanations in Science and Mathematics.Marc Lange - 2016 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press USA.
    Not all scientific explanations work by describing causal connections between events or the world's overall causal structure. In addition, mathematicians regard some proofs as explaining why the theorems being proved do in fact hold. This book proposes new philosophical accounts of many kinds of non-causal explanations in science and mathematics.
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  • Reasons Why.Bradford Skow - 2016 - Oxford, England and New York, NY, USA: Oxford University Press UK.
    This book first argues that what philosophers are really after, or at least should be after, when they seek a theory of explanation, is a theory of answers to why-questions. The book's main thesis, then, is a theory of reasons why. Every reason why some event happened is either a cause, or a ground, of that event. Challenging this thesis are many examples philosophers have thought they have found of "non-causal explanations." Reasons Why uses two ideas to show that these (...)
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  • A Contextual Approach to Scientific Understanding.Henk W. de Regt & Dennis Dieks - 2005 - Synthese 144 (1):137-170.
    Achieving understanding of nature is one of the aims of science. In this paper we offer an analysis of the nature of scientific understanding that accords with actual scientific practice and accommodates the historical diversity of conceptions of understanding. Its core idea is a general criterion for the intelligibility of scientific theories that is essentially contextual: which theories conform to this criterion depends on contextual factors, and can change in the course of time. Our analysis provides a general account of (...)
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  • The Role of Explanation in Understanding.Kareem Khalifa - 2013 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 64 (1):161-187.
    Peter Lipton has argued that understanding can exist in the absence of explanation. We argue that this does not denigrate explanation's importance to understanding. Specifically, we show that all of Lipton's examples are consistent with the idea that explanation is the ideal of understanding, i.e. other modes of understanding ought to be assessed by how well they replicate the understanding provided by a good and correct explanation. We defend this idea by showing that for all of Lipton's examples of non-explanatory (...)
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  • Inaugurating Understanding or Repackaging Explanation?Kareem Khalifa - 2012 - Philosophy of Science 79 (1):15-37.
    Recently, several authors have argued that scientific understanding should be a new topic of philosophical research. In this article, I argue that the three most developed accounts of understanding--Grimm's, de Regt's, and de Regt and Dieks's--can be replaced by earlier accounts of scientific explanation without loss. Indeed, in some cases, such replacements have clear benefits.
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  • The epistemic value of understanding.Henk W. de Regt - 2009 - Philosophy of Science 76 (5):585-597.
    This article analyzes the epistemic value of understanding and offers an account of the role of understanding in science. First, I discuss the objectivist view of the relation between explanation and understanding, defended by Carl Hempel and J. D. Trout. I challenge this view by arguing that pragmatic aspects of explanation are crucial for achieving the epistemic aims of science. Subsequently, I present an analysis of these pragmatic aspects in terms of ‘intelligibility’ and a contextual account of scientific understanding based (...)
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  • EMU defended: reply to Newman.Kareem Khalifa - 2015 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 5 (3):377-385.
    In his “EMU and Inference,” Mark Newman European Journal for Philosophy of Science, 4:55–74, 2014 provides several interesting challenges to my explanatory model of understanding :15–37, 2012). I offer three replies to Newman’s paper. First, Newman incorrectly attributes to EMU an overly restrictive view about the role of abilities in understanding. Second, his main argument against EMU rests on this incorrect attribution, and would still face difficulties even if this attribution were correct. Third, contrary to his stated ambitions, his own, (...)
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  • Understanding without explanation.Peter Lipton - 2008 - In Henk W. De Regt, Sabina Leonelli & Kai Eigner (eds.), Scientific Understanding: Philosophical Perspectives. University of Pittsburgh Press. pp. 43-63.
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  • Refining the Inferential Model of Scientific Understanding.Mark Newman - 2013 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 27 (2):173-197.
    In this article, I use a mental models computational account of representation to illustrate some details of my previously presented inferential model of scientific understanding. The hope is to shed some light on possible mechanisms behind the notion of scientific understanding. I argue that if mental models are a plausible approach to modelling cognition, then understanding can best be seen as the coupling of specific rules. I present our beliefs as ?ordinary? conditional rules, and the coupling process as one where (...)
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  • The goal of explanation.Stephen R. Grimm - 2010 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 41 (4):337-344.
    I defend the claim that understanding is the goal of explanation against various persistent criticisms, especially the criticism that understanding is not truth-connected in the appropriate way, and hence is a merely psychological state. Part of the reason why understanding has been dismissed as the goal of explanation, I suggest, is because the psychological dimension of the goal of explanation has itself been almost entirely neglected. In turn, the psychological dimension of understanding—the Aha! experience, the sense that a certain explanation (...)
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  • On Einstein Algebras and Relativistic Spacetimes.Sarita Rosenstock, Thomas William Barrett & James Owen Weatherall - 2015 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 52 (Part B):309-316.
    In this paper, we examine the relationship between general relativity and the theory of Einstein algebras. We show that according to a formal criterion for theoretical equivalence recently proposed by Halvorson and Weatherall, the two are equivalent theories.
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  • A Categorical Equivalence between Generalized Holonomy Maps on a Connected Manifold and Principal Connections on Bundles over that Manifold.Sarita Rosenstock & James Owen Weatherall - 2016 - Journal of Mathematical Physics 57:102902.
    A classic result in the foundations of Yang-Mills theory, due to J. W. Barrett ["Holonomy and Path Structures in General Relativity and Yang-Mills Theory." Int. J. Th. Phys. 30, ], establishes that given a "generalized" holonomy map from the space of piece-wise smooth, closed curves based at some point of a manifold to a Lie group, there exists a principal bundle with that group as structure group and a principal connection on that bundle such that the holonomy map corresponds to (...)
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  • Theoretical Equivalence in Physics.James Owen Weatherall - unknown
    I review the philosophical literature on the question of when two physical theories are equivalent. This includes a discussion of empirical equivalence, which is often taken to be necessary, and sometimes taken to be sufficient, for theoretical equivalence; and "interpretational" equivalence, which is the idea that two theories are equivalent just in case they have the same interpretation. It also includes a discussion of several formal notions of equivalence that have been considered in the recent philosophical literature, including definitional equivalence (...)
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  • Understanding Why.Alison Hills - 2015 - Noûs 50 (4):661-688.
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  • Scientific Explanation.Wesley C. Salmon - 1997 - In Wesley C. Salmon (ed.), Causality and Explanation. New York, US: Oxford University Press USA.
    The unification tradition embraces the idea that scientific explanation consists in showing that apparently disparate phenomena can be seen to be fundamentally similar. Michael Friedman and Philip Kitcher, who accept different versions of this tradition, are contemporary proponents of the view. The causal tradition, advanced by Michael Scriven, and embraced in a modified version by the author, says – roughly and briefly – that to explain an event is to identify its cause. This chapter explores the possibility of rapprochement between (...)
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  • Classical Mechanics Is Lagrangian; It Is Not Hamiltonian.Erik Curiel - 2014 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 65 (2):269-321.
    One can (for the most part) formulate a model of a classical system in either the Lagrangian or the Hamiltonian framework. Though it is often thought that those two formulations are equivalent in all important ways, this is not true: the underlying geometrical structures one uses to formulate each theory are not isomorphic. This raises the question of whether one of the two is a more natural framework for the representation of classical systems. In the event, the answer is yes: (...)
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  • Scientific Explanation: Causation and Unification.Wesley C. Salmon - 1990 - Critica 22 (66):3-23.
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  • On symmetry and conserved quantities in classical mechanics.Jeremy Butterfield - unknown
    This paper expounds the relations between continuous symmetries and conserved quantities, i.e. Noether's ``first theorem'', in both the Lagrangian and Hamiltonian frameworks for classical mechanics. This illustrates one of mechanics' grand themes: exploiting a symmetry so as to reduce the number of variables needed to treat a problem. I emphasise that, for both frameworks, the theorem is underpinned by the idea of cyclic coordinates; and that the Hamiltonian theorem is more powerful. The Lagrangian theorem's main ``ingredient'', apart from cyclic coordinates, (...)
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