Results for 'Explanatoriness'

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  1.  13
    Explanatory Strategies Beyond The Individualism/Holism Debate.Jeroen Van Bouwel - 2014 - In Julie Zahle & Finn Collin (eds.), Rethinking the Individualism-Holism Debate. Springer. pp. 105-119.
    Starting from the plurality of explanatory strategies in the actual practice of socialscientists, I introduce a framework for explanatory pluralism – a normative endorsement of the plurality of forms and levels of explanation used by social scientists. Equipped with thisframework, central issues in the individualism/holism debate are revisited, namely emergence,reduction and the idea of microfoundations. Discussing these issues, we notice that in recentcontributions the focus has been shifting towards relationism, pluralism and interaction, awayfrom dichotomous individualism/holism thinking and a winner-takes-all approach. (...)
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  2. Explanatory Pluralism: An Unrewarding Prediction Error for Free Energy Theorists.Matteo Colombo & Cory Wright - 2017 - Brain and Cognition 112:3–12.
    Courtesy of its free energy formulation, the hierarchical predictive processing theory of the brain (PTB) is often claimed to be a grand unifying theory. To test this claim, we examine a central case: activity of mesocorticolimbic dopaminergic (DA) systems. After reviewing the three most prominent hypotheses of DA activity—the anhedonia, incentive salience, and reward prediction error hypotheses—we conclude that the evidence currently vindicates explanatory pluralism. This vindication implies that the grand unifying claims of advocates of PTB are unwarranted. More generally, (...)
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  3. Explanatory Abstractions.Lina Jansson & Juha Saatsi - 2019 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 70 (3):817–844.
    A number of philosophers have recently suggested that some abstract, plausibly non-causal and/or mathematical, explanations explain in a way that is radically dif- ferent from the way causal explanation explain. Namely, while causal explanations explain by providing information about causal dependence, allegedly some abstract explanations explain in a way tied to the independence of the explanandum from the microdetails, or causal laws, for example. We oppose this recent trend to regard abstractions as explanatory in some sui generis way, and argue (...)
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  4. Explanatory Challenges in Metaethics.Joshua Schechter - 2018 - In Tristram McPherson & David Plunkett (eds.), Routledge Handbook of Metaethics. Routledge. pp. 443-459.
    There are several important arguments in metaethics that rely on explanatory considerations. Gilbert Harman has presented a challenge to the existence of moral facts that depends on the claim that the best explanation of our moral beliefs does not involve moral facts. The Reliability Challenge against moral realism depends on the claim that moral realism is incompatible with there being a satisfying explanation of our reliability about moral truths. The purpose of this chapter is to examine these and related arguments. (...)
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  5. Metaphysically explanatory unification.David Mark Kovacs - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (6):1659-1683.
    This paper develops and motivates a unification theory of metaphysical explanation, or as I will call it, Metaphysical Unificationism. The theory’s main inspiration is the unification account of scientific explanation, according to which explanatoriness is a holistic feature of theories that derive a large number of explananda from a meager set of explanantia, using a small number of argument patterns. In developing Metaphysical Unificationism, I will point out that it has a number of interesting consequences. The view offers a (...)
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  6. The Explanatory Component of Moral Responsibility.Gunnar Björnsson & Karl Persson - 2012 - Noûs 46 (2):326-354.
    In this paper, we do three things. First, we put forth a novel hypothesis about judgments of moral responsibility according to which such judgments are a species of explanatory judgments. Second, we argue that this hypothesis explains both some general features of everyday thinking about responsibility and the appeal of skeptical arguments against moral responsibility. Finally, we argue that, if correct, the hypothesis provides a defense against these skeptical arguments.
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  7. Explanatoriness is Evidentially Irrelevant, or Inference to the Best Explanation Meets Bayesian Confirmation Theory.W. Roche & E. Sober - 2013 - Analysis 73 (4):659-668.
    In the world of philosophy of science, the dominant theory of confirmation is Bayesian. In the wider philosophical world, the idea of inference to the best explanation exerts a considerable influence. Here we place the two worlds in collision, using Bayesian confirmation theory to argue that explanatoriness is evidentially irrelevant.
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  8. Explanatoriness and Evidence: A Reply to McCain and Poston.William Roche & Elliott Sober - 2014 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 3 (3):193-199.
    We argue elsewhere that explanatoriness is evidentially irrelevant . Let H be some hypothesis, O some observation, and E the proposition that H would explain O if H and O were true. Then O screens-off E from H: Pr = Pr. This thesis, hereafter “SOT” , is defended by appeal to a representative case. The case concerns smoking and lung cancer. McCain and Poston grant that SOT holds in cases, like our case concerning smoking and lung cancer, that involve (...)
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  9. Explanatory Independence and Epistemic Interdependence: A Case Study of the Optimality Approach.Angela Potochnik - 2010 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 61 (1):213-233.
    The value of optimality modeling has long been a source of contention amongst population biologists. Here I present a view of the optimality approach as at once playing a crucial explanatory role and yet also depending on external sources of confirmation. Optimality models are not alone in facing this tension between their explanatory value and their dependence on other approaches; I suspect that the scenario is quite common in science. This investigation of the optimality approach thus serves as a case (...)
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  10. Explanatory Completeness and Idealization in Large Brain Simulations: A Mechanistic Perspective.Marcin Miłkowski - 2016 - Synthese 193 (5):1457-1478.
    The claim defended in the paper is that the mechanistic account of explanation can easily embrace idealization in big-scale brain simulations, and that only causally relevant detail should be present in explanatory models. The claim is illustrated with two methodologically different models: Blue Brain, used for particular simulations of the cortical column in hybrid models, and Eliasmith’s SPAUN model that is both biologically realistic and able to explain eight different tasks. By drawing on the mechanistic theory of computational explanation, I (...)
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  11. Explanatory Rivals and the Ultimate Argument.Finnur Dellsén - 2015 - Theoria 82 (3):217-237.
    Although many aspects of Inference to the Best Explanation have been extensively discussed, very little has so far been said about what it takes for a hypothesis to count as a rival explanatory hypothesis in the context of IBE. The primary aim of this article is to rectify this situation by arguing for a specific account of explanatory rivalry. On this account, explanatory rivals are complete explanations of a given explanandum. When explanatory rivals are conceived of in this way, I (...)
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  12.  76
    The Explanatory Merits of Reasons-First Epistemology.Eva Schmidt - 2020 - In Christoph Demmerling & Dirk Schröder (eds.), Concepts in Thought, Action, and Emotion: New Essays. New York: pp. 75-91.
    I present an explanatory argument for the reasons-first view: It is superior to knowledge-first views in particular in that it can both explain the specific epistemic role of perception and account for the shape and extent of epistemic justification.
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  13. Modality and Explanatory Reasoning.Boris Kment - 2014 - Oxford University Press.
    Boris Kment takes a new approach to the study of modality that emphasises the origin of modal notions in everyday thought. He argues that the concepts of necessity and possibility originate in counterfactual reasoning, which allows us to investigate explanatory connections. Contrary to accepted views, explanation is more fundamental than modality.
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  14. Is Explanatoriness a Guide to Confirmation? A Reply to Climenhaga.William Roche & Elliott Sober - 2017 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 48 (4):581-590.
    We argued that explanatoriness is evidentially irrelevant in the following sense: Let H be a hypothesis, O an observation, and E the proposition that H would explain O if H and O were true. Then our claim is that Pr = Pr. We defended this screening-off thesis by discussing an example concerning smoking and cancer. Climenhaga argues that SOT is mistaken because it delivers the wrong verdict about a slightly different smoking-and-cancer case. He also considers a variant of SOT, (...)
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  15. Robustness Analysis as Explanatory Reasoning.Jonah N. Schupbach - 2016 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science:axw008.
    When scientists seek further confirmation of their results, they often attempt to duplicate the results using diverse means. To the extent that they are successful in doing so, their results are said to be robust. This paper investigates the logic of such "robustness analysis" [RA]. The most important and challenging question an account of RA can answer is what sense of evidential diversity is involved in RAs. I argue that prevailing formal explications of such diversity are unsatisfactory. I propose a (...)
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  16. The Explanatory Virtue of Abstracting Away From Idiosyncratic and Messy Detail.Christopher Clarke - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (6):1429-1449.
    Some explanations are relatively abstract: they abstract away from the idiosyncratic or messy details of the case in hand. The received wisdom in philosophy is that this is a virtue for any explanation to possess. I argue that the apparent consensus on this point is illusory. When philosophers make this claim, they differ on which of four alternative varieties of abstractness they have in mind. What’s more, for each variety of abstractness there are several alternative reasons to think that the (...)
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  17. Mathematics and Explanatory Generality: Nothing but Cognitive Salience.Juha Saatsi & Robert Knowles - 2019 - Erkenntnis 86 (5):1119-1137.
    We demonstrate how real progress can be made in the debate surrounding the enhanced indispensability argument. Drawing on a counterfactual theory of explanation, well-motivated independently of the debate, we provide a novel analysis of ‘explanatory generality’ and how mathematics is involved in its procurement. On our analysis, mathematics’ sole explanatory contribution to the procurement of explanatory generality is to make counterfactual information about physical dependencies easier to grasp and reason with for creatures like us. This gives precise content to key (...)
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  18. Ability, Foreknowledge, and Explanatory Dependence.Philip Swenson - 2016 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 94 (4):658-671.
    Many philosophers maintain that the ability to do otherwise is compatible with comprehensive divine foreknowledge but incompatible with the truth of causal determinism. But the Fixity of the Past principle underlying the rejection of compatibilism about the ability to do otherwise and determinism appears to generate an argument also for the incompatibility of the ability to do otherwise and divine foreknowledge. By developing an account of ability that appeals to the notion of explanatory dependence, we can replace the Fixity of (...)
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  19. Explanatory Pluralism in Cognitive Science.Rick Dale, Eric Dietrich & Anthony Chemero - 2009 - Cognitive Science 33 (2):739-742.
    This brief commentary has three goals. The first is to argue that ‘‘framework debate’’ in cognitive science is unresolvable. The idea that one theory or framework can singly account for the vast complexity and variety of cognitive processes seems unlikely if not impossible. The second goal is a consequence of this: We should consider how the various theories on offer work together in diverse contexts of investigation. A final goal is to supply a brief review for readers who are compelled (...)
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  20. An Explanatory Challenge for Epistemological Disjunctivism.Cameron Boult - 2017 - Episteme 15 (2):141-153.
    Epistemological Disjunctivism is a view about paradigm cases of perceptual knowledge. Duncan Pritchard claims that it is particularly well suited to accounting for internalist and externalist intuitions. A number of authors have disputed this claim, arguing that there are problems for Pritchard’s way with internalist intuitions. I share the worry. However, I don’t think it has been expressed as effectively as it can be. My aim in this paper is to present a new way of formulating the worry, in terms (...)
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  21. Explanatory Games.C. Mantzavinos - 2013 - Journal of Philosophy 110 (11):606-632.
    A philosophical theory of explanation should provide solutions to a series of problems, both descriptive and normative. The aim of this essay is to establish the claim that this can be best done if one theorizes in terms of explanatory games rather than focusing on the explication of the concept of explanation. The position that is adopted is that of an explanatory pluralism and it is elaborated in terms of the rules that incorporate the normative standards that guide the processes (...)
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  22. Explanatory Indispensability and Deliberative Indispensability: Against Enoch's Analogy.Alex Worsnip - 2016 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 5 (4):226-235.
    In this note, I discuss David Enoch's influential deliberative indispensability argument for metanormative realism, and contend that the argument fails. In doing so, I uncover an important disanalogy between explanatory indispensability arguments and deliberative indispensability arguments, one that explains how we could accept the former without accepting the latter.
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  23. Explanatory Perfectionism: A Fresh Take on an Ancient Theory.Michael Prinzing - 2020 - Analysis (4):704-712.
    The ‘Big 3’ theories of well-being—hedonism, desire-satisfactionism, and objective list theory—attempt to explain why certain things are good for people by appealing to prudentially good-making properties. But they don’t attempt to explain why the properties they advert to make something good for a person. Perfectionism, the view that well-being consists in nature-fulfilment, is often considered a competitor to these views (or else a version of the objective list theory). However, I argue that perfectionism is best understood as explaining why certain (...)
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  24. The Explanatory Indispensability of Memory Traces.Felipe De Brigard - 2020 - The Harvard Review of Philosophy 27:23-47.
    During the first half of the twentieth century, many philosophers of memory opposed the postulation of memory traces based on the claim that a satisfactory account of remembering need not include references to causal processes involved in recollection. However, in 1966, an influential paper by Martin and Deutscher showed that causal claims are indeed necessary for a proper account of remembering. This, however, did not settle the issue, as in 1977 Malcolm argued that even if one were to buy Martin (...)
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  25. The Implausibility and Low Explanatory Power of the Resurrection Hypothesis—With a Rejoinder to Stephen T. Davis.Robert Greg Cavin & Carlos A. Colombetti - 2020 - Socio-Historical Examination of Religion and Ministry 2 (1):37-94.
    We respond to Stephen T. Davis’ criticism of our earlier essay, “Assessing the Resurrection Hypothesis.” We argue that the Standard Model of physics is relevant and decisive in establishing the implausibility and low explanatory power of the Resurrection hypothesis. We also argue that the laws of physics have entailments regarding God and the supernatural and, against Alvin Plantinga, that these same laws lack the proviso “no agent supernaturally interferes.” Finally, we offer Bayesian arguments for the Legend hypothesis and against the (...)
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  26. Humean Laws, Explanatory Circularity, and the Aim of Scientific Explanation.Chris Dorst - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (10):2657-2679.
    One of the main challenges confronting Humean accounts of natural law is that Humean laws appear to be unable to play the explanatory role of laws in scientific practice. The worry is roughly that if the laws are just regularities in the particular matters of fact (as the Humean would have it), then they cannot also explain the particular matters of fact, on pain of circularity. Loewer (2012) has defended Humeanism, arguing that this worry only arises if we fail to (...)
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  27. The Explanatory Power of the Substance View of Persons.F. J. Beckwith - 2004 - Christian Bioethics 10 (1):33-54.
    The purpose of this essay is to offer support for the substance view of persons, the philosophical anthropology defended by Patrick Lee in his essay. In order to accomplish this the author (1) presents a brief definition of the substance view; (2) argues that the substance view has more explanatory power in accounting for why we believe that human persons are intrinsically valuable even when they are not functioning as such (e.g., when one is temporarily comatose), why human persons remain (...)
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  28. On the ‘Indispensable Explanatory Role’ of Mathematics.Juha Saatsi - 2016 - Mind 125 (500):1045-1070.
    The literature on the indispensability argument for mathematical realism often refers to the ‘indispensable explanatory role’ of mathematics. I argue that we should examine the notion of explanatory indispensability from the point of view of specific conceptions of scientific explanation. The reason is that explanatory indispensability in and of itself turns out to be insufficient for justifying the ontological conclusions at stake. To show this I introduce a distinction between different kinds of explanatory roles—some ‘thick’ and ontologically committing, others ‘thin’ (...)
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  29. Levels: Descriptive, Explanatory, and Ontological.Christian List - 2019 - Noûs 53 (4):852-883.
    Scientists and philosophers frequently speak about levels of description, levels of explanation, and ontological levels. In this paper, I propose a unified framework for modelling levels. I give a general definition of a system of levels and show that it can accommodate descriptive, explanatory, and ontological notions of levels. I further illustrate the usefulness of this framework by applying it to some salient philosophical questions: (1) Is there a linear hierarchy of levels, with a fundamental level at the bottom? And (...)
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  30. Probabilistic Causation and the Explanatory Role of Natural Selection.Pablo Razeto-Barry & Ramiro Frick - 2011 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 42 (3):344-355.
    The explanatory role of natural selection is one of the long-term debates in evolutionary biology. Nevertheless, the consensus has been slippery because conceptual confusions and the absence of a unified, formal causal model that integrates different explanatory scopes of natural selection. In this study we attempt to examine two questions: (i) What can the theory of natural selection explain? and (ii) Is there a causal or explanatory model that integrates all natural selection explananda? For the first question, we argue that (...)
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  31. Counterfactuals and Explanatory Pluralism.Kareem Khalifa, Gabriel Doble & Jared Millson - 2020 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 71 (4):1439-1460.
    Recent literature on non-causal explanation raises the question as to whether explanatory monism, the thesis that all explanations submit to the same analysis, is true. The leading monist proposal holds that all explanations support change-relating counterfactuals. We provide several objections to this monist position. 1Introduction2Change-Relating Monism's Three Problems3Dependency and Monism: Unhappy Together4Another Challenge: Counterfactual Incidentalism4.1High-grade necessity4.2Unity in diversity5Conclusion.
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  32. Moral Error Theory, Explanatory Dispensability and the Limits of Guilt.Silvan Wittwer - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (10):2969-2983.
    Recently, companions in guilt strategies have garnered significant philosophical attention as a response to arguments for moral error theory, the view that there are no moral facts and that our moral beliefs are thus systematically mistaken. According to Cuneo (The normative web: an argument for moral realism, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2007), Das (Philos Q 66:152–160, 2016; Australas J Philos 95(1):58–69, 2017), Rowland (J Ethics Soc Philos 7(1):1–24, 2012; Philos Q 66:161–171, 2016) and others, epistemic facts would be just as (...)
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  33. Phenomenal, Normative, and Other Explanatory Gaps: A General Diagnosis.Neil Mehta - 2019 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 98 (3):567-591.
    I assume that there exists a general phenomenon, the phenomenon of the explanatory gap, surrounding consciousness, normativity, intentionality, and more. Explanatory gaps are often thought to foreclose reductive possibilities wherever they appear. In response, reductivists who grant the existence of these gaps have offered countless local solutions. But typically such reductivist responses have had a serious shortcoming: because they appeal to essentially domain-specific features, they cannot be fully generalized, and in this sense these responses have been not just local but (...)
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  34. The Explanatory Challenge of Religious Diversity.Jason Marsh & Jon Marsh - 2016 - In Helen De Cruz & Ryan Nichols (eds.), Advances in Religion, Cognitive Science, and Experimental Philosophy. Bloomsbury Academic. pp. 61-83.
    The challenge from religious diversity is widely thought to be one of the most important challenges facing religious belief. Despite this consensus, however, many epistemologists think that standard versions of the challenge fail because they threaten to implicate many seemingly reasonable yet highly controversial non-religious beliefs. In light of this we develop an alternative, less discussed, diversity challenge that does not generalize. This challenge concerns why so much religious diversity exists in the first place given common religious, and in particular (...)
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  35. The Explanatory Power of Local Miracle Compatibilism.Garrett Pendergraft - 2011 - Philosophical Studies 156 (2):249-266.
    Local miracle compatibilists claim that we are sometimes able to do otherwise than we actually do, even if causal determinism obtains. When we can do otherwise, it will often be true that if we were to do otherwise, then an actual law of nature would not have been a law of nature. Nevertheless, it is a compatibilist principle that we cannot do anything that would be or cause an event that violates the laws of nature. Carl Ginet challenges this nomological (...)
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  36. Is Understanding Explanatory or Objectual?Kareem Khalifa - 2013 - Synthese 190 (6):1153-1171.
    Jonathan Kvanvig has argued that “objectual” understanding, i.e. the understanding we have of a large body of information, cannot be reduced to explanatory concepts. In this paper, I show that Kvanvig fails to establish this point, and then propose a framework for reducing objectual understanding to explanatory understanding.
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  37. Essential Properties Are Super-Explanatory: Taming Metaphysical Modality.Marion Godman, Antonella Mallozzi & David Papineau - 2020 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association (3):1-19.
    This paper aims to build a bridge between two areas of philosophical research, the structure of kinds and metaphysical modality. Our central thesis is that kinds typically involve super-explanatory properties, and that these properties are therefore metaphysically essential to natural kinds. Philosophers of science who work on kinds tend to emphasize their complexity, and are generally resistant to any suggestion that they have “essences”. The complexities are real enough, but they should not be allowed to obscure the way that kinds (...)
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  38. Explanatory Failures of Relative Realism.Seungbae Park - 2015 - Epistemologia 38 (1):16-28.
    Scientific realism (Putnam 1975; Psillos 1999) and relative realism (Mizrahi 2013) claim that successful scientific theories are approximately true and comparatively true, respectively. A theory is approximately true if and only if it is close to the truth. A theory is comparatively true if and only if it is closer to the truth than its competitors are. I argue that relative realism is more skeptical about the claims of science than it initially appears to be and that it can explain (...)
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  39. Explaining Causal Selection with Explanatory Causal Economy: Biology and Beyond.L. R. Franklin-Hall - 2015 - In P.-A. Braillard & C. Malaterre (eds.), Explanation in Biology: An Enquiry into the Diversity of Explanatory Patterns in the Life Sciences. Springer. pp. 413-438.
    Among the factors necessary for the occurrence of some event, which of these are selectively highlighted in its explanation and labeled as causes — and which are explanatorily omitted, or relegated to the status of background conditions? Following J. S. Mill, most have thought that only a pragmatic answer to this question was possible. In this paper I suggest we understand this ‘causal selection problem’ in causal-explanatory terms, and propose that explanatory trade-offs between abstraction and stability can provide a principled (...)
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  40. Primitiveness, Metaontology, and Explanatory Power.Jiri Benovsky - 2013 - Dialogue 52 (2):341-358.
    Metaphysical theories heavily rely on the use of primitives to which they typically appeal. I will start by examining and evaluating some traditional well-known theories and I will discuss the role of primitives in metaphysical theories in general. I will then turn to a discussion of claims of between theories that, I think, depend on equivalences of primitives, and I will explore the nature of primitives. I will then claim that almost all explanatory power of metaphysical theories comes from their (...)
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  41. Phenomenal Knowledge Why: The Explanatory Knowledge Argument Against Physicalism.Hedda Hassel Mørch - 2019 - In Sam Coleman (ed.), The Knowledge Argument. Cambridge University Press.
    Phenomenal knowledge is knowledge of what it is like to be in conscious states, such as seeing red or being in pain. According to the knowledge argument (Jackson 1982, 1986), phenomenal knowledge is knowledge that, i.e., knowledge of phenomenal facts. According to the ability hypothesis (Nemirow 1979; Lewis 1983), phenomenal knowledge is mere practical knowledge how, i.e., the mere possession of abilities. However, some phenomenal knowledge also seems to be knowledge why, i.e., knowledge of explanatory facts. For example, someone who (...)
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  42. Toward an Explanatory Framework for Mental Ownership.Timothy Lane - 2012 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 11 (2):251-286.
    Philosophical and scientific investigations of the proprietary aspects of self—mineness or mental ownership—often presuppose that searching for unique constituents is a productive strategy. But there seem not to be any unique constituents. Here, it is argued that the “self-specificity” paradigm, which emphasizes subjective perspective, fails. Previously, it was argued that mode of access also fails to explain mineness. Fortunately, these failures, when leavened by other findings (those that exhibit varieties and vagaries of mineness), intimate an approach better suited to searching (...)
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  43. Explanatory Indispensability Arguments in Metaethics and Philosophy of Mathematics.Debbie Roberts - 2016 - In Uri D. Leibowitz & Neil Sinclair (eds.), Explanation in Ethics and Mathematics: Debunking and Dispensability. Oxford University Press.
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  44. On the Role of Explanatory and Systematic Power in Scientific Reasoning.Peter Brössel - 2015 - Synthese 192 (12):3877-3913.
    The paper investigates measures of explanatory power and how to define the inference schema “Inference to the Best Explanation”. It argues that these measures can also be used to quantify the systematic power of a hypothesis and the inference schema “Inference to the Best Systematization” is defined. It demonstrates that systematic power is a fruitful criterion for theory choice and IBS is truth-conducive. It also shows that even radical Bayesians must admit that systemic power is an integral component of Bayesian (...)
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  45. Access Problems and Explanatory Overkill.Silvia Jonas - 2017 - Philosophical Studies 174 (11):2731-2742.
    I argue that recent attempts to deflect Access Problems for realism about a priori domains such as mathematics, logic, morality, and modality using arguments from evolution result in two kinds of explanatory overkill: the Access Problem is eliminated for contentious domains, and realist belief becomes viciously immune to arguments from dispensability, and to non-rebutting counter-arguments more generally.
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  46. Varying the Explanatory Span: Scientific Explanation for Computer Simulations.Juan Manuel Durán - 2017 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 31 (1):27-45.
    This article aims to develop a new account of scientific explanation for computer simulations. To this end, two questions are answered: what is the explanatory relation for computer simulations? And what kind of epistemic gain should be expected? For several reasons tailored to the benefits and needs of computer simulations, these questions are better answered within the unificationist model of scientific explanation. Unlike previous efforts in the literature, I submit that the explanatory relation is between the simulation model and the (...)
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  47. The Fate of Explanatory Reasoning in the Age of Big Data.Frank Cabrera - 2020 - Philosophy and Technology:1-21.
    In this paper, I critically evaluate several related, provocative claims made by proponents of data-intensive science and “Big Data” which bear on scientific methodology, especially the claim that scientists will soon no longer have any use for familiar concepts like causation and explanation. After introducing the issue, in section 2, I elaborate on the alleged changes to scientific method that feature prominently in discussions of Big Data. In section 3, I argue that these methodological claims are in tension with a (...)
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  48.  94
    Linguistics and the Explanatory Economy.Gabe Dupre - forthcoming - Synthese:1-43.
    I present a novel, collaborative, methodology for linguistics: what I call the ‘explanatory economy’. According to this picture, multiple models/theories are evaluated based on the extent to which they complement one another with respect to data coverage. I show how this model can resolve a long-standing worry about the methodology of generative linguistics: that by creating too much distance between data and theory, the empirical credentials of this research program are tarnished. I provide justifications of such methodologically central distinctions as (...)
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  49. Dynamical Systems Theory and Explanatory Indispensability.Juha Saatsi - 2017 - Philosophy of Science 84 (5):892-904.
    I examine explanations’ realist commitments in relation to dynamical systems theory. First I rebut an ‘explanatory indispensability argument’ for mathematical realism from the explanatory power of phase spaces (Lyon and Colyvan 2007). Then I critically consider a possible way of strengthening the indispensability argument by reference to attractors in dynamical systems theory. The take-home message is that understanding of the modal character of explanations (in dynamical systems theory) can undermine platonist arguments from explanatory indispensability.
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  50. The Nature and Explanatory Ambitions of Metaethics.Tristram McPherson & David Plunkett - 2017 - In Tristram McPherson & David Plunkett (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Metaethics. Routledge. pp. 1-28.
    This volume introduces a wide range of important views, questions, and controversies in and about contemporary metaethics. It is natural to ask: What, if anything, connects this extraordinary range of discussions? This introductory chapter aims to answer this question by giving an account of metaethics that shows it to be a unified theoretical activ- ity. According to this account, metaethics is a theoretical activity characterized by an explanatory goal. This goal is to explain how actual ethical thought and talk—and what (...)
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