Results for 'functional explanation'

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  1.  64
    Functional Explanation and Metaphysical Individualism.Justin Schwartz - 1993 - Philosophy of Science 60 (2):278-301.
    G. A. Cohen defends and Jon Elster criticizes Marxist use of functional explanation. But Elster's mechanical conception of explanation is, contrary to Elster's claims, a better basis for vindication of functional explanation than Cohen's nomological conception, which cannot provide an adequate account of functional explanation. Elster also objects that functional explanation commits us to metaphysically bizarre collective subjects, but his argument requires an implausible reading of methodological individualism which involves an unattractive (...)
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  2.  68
    Functions and Functional Explanation Revisited.Stavros Ioannidis - 2014 - Metascience 24 (2):253-258.
    Functions: selection and mechanisms is a collection of eleven original contributions to the philosophical debates surrounding functions. In the words of Philippe Huneman, editor of the volume, the aim of the book is to reflect “upon the metaphysics of function and the various problems that functional explanations raise” . This is accomplished by a diverse collection of chapters that focus on various aspects of the main topic. A collection such as this is certainly welcome. As Huneman notes in his (...)
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  3.  37
    Functional Analyses, Mechanistic Explanations, and Explanatory Tradeoffs.Sergio Daniel Barberis - 2013 - Journal of Cognitive Science 14:229-251.
    Recently, Piccinini and Craver have stated three theses concerning the relations between functional analysis and mechanistic explanation in cognitive sciences: No Distinctness: functional analysis and mechanistic explanation are explanations of the same kind; Integration: functional analysis is a kind of mechanistic explanation; and Subordination: functional analyses are unsatisfactory sketches of mechanisms. In this paper, I argue, first, that functional analysis and mechanistic explanations are sub-kinds of explanation by scientific (idealized) models. From (...)
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  4. The Epistemic Significance of Collaborative Research.K. Brad Wray - 2002 - Philosophy of Science 69 (1):150-168.
    I examine the epistemic import of collaborative research in science. I develop and defend a functional explanation for its growing importance. Collaborative research is becoming more popular in the natural sciences, and to a lesser degree in the social sciences, because contemporary research in these fields frequently requires access to abundant resources, for which there is great competition. Scientists involved in collaborative research have been very successful in accessing these resources, which has in turn enabled them to realize (...)
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  5. What is Psychological Explanation?William Bechtel & Cory Wright - 2009 - In P. Calvo & J. Symons (eds.), The Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Psychology. Routledge. pp. 113--130.
    Due to the wide array of phenomena that are of interest to them, psychologists offer highly diverse and heterogeneous types of explanations. Initially, this suggests that the question "What is psychological explanation?" has no single answer. To provide appreciation of this diversity, we begin by noting some of the more common types of explanations that psychologists provide, with particular focus on classical examples of explanations advanced in three different areas of psychology: psychophysics, physiological psychology, and information-processing psychology. To analyze (...)
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  6. Construct Stabilization and the Unity of the Mind-Brain Sciences.Jacqueline Anne Sullivan - 2016 - Philosophy of Science 83 (5):662-673.
    This paper offers a critique of an account of explanatory integration that claims that explanations of cognitive capacities by functional analyses and mechanistic explanations can be seamlessly integrated. It is shown that achieving such explanatory integration requires that the terms designating cognitive capacities in the two forms of explanation are stable but that experimental practice in the mind-brain sciences currently is not directed at achieving such stability. A positive proposal for changing experimental practice so as to promote such (...)
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  7.  33
    On Ordered Pluralism.Matthieu Queloz - forthcoming - Australasian Philosophical Review 3 (1).
    This paper examines Miranda Fricker’s method of paradigm-based explanation and in particular its promise of yielding an ordered pluralism. Fricker’s starting point is a schism between two conceptions of forgiveness, Moral Justice Forgiveness and Gifted Forgiveness. In the light of a hypothesis about the basic point of forgiveness, she reveals the unity underlying the initially baffling plurality and brings order into it, presenting a paradigmatic form of forgiveness as explanatorily basic and other forms as derivative. The resulting picture, she (...)
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  8. Mechanisms and Model-Based Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging.Mark Povich - 2015 - Philosophy of Science 82 (5):1035-1046.
    Mechanistic explanations satisfy widely held norms of explanation: the ability to manipulate and answer counterfactual questions about the explanandum phenomenon. A currently debated issue is whether any nonmechanistic explanations can satisfy these explanatory norms. Weiskopf argues that the models of object recognition and categorization, JIM, SUSTAIN, and ALCOVE, are not mechanistic yet satisfy these norms of explanation. In this article I argue that these models are mechanism sketches. My argument applies recent research using model-based functional magnetic resonance (...)
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  9. Functionalist Response-Dependence Avoids Missing Explanations.D. J. Bradley - 2011 - Analysis 71 (2):297-300.
    I argue that there is a flaw in the way that response-dependence has been formulated in the literature, and this flawed formulation has been correctly attacked by Mark Johnston’s Missing Explanation Argument (1993, 1998). Moving to a better formulation, which is analogous to the move from behaviourism to functionalism, avoids the Missing Explanation Argument.
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  10.  81
    Who's Afraid of Multiple Realizability?: Functionalism, Reductionism, and Connectionism.Justin Schwartz - 1992 - In J. Dinsmore (ed.), The Symbolic and Connectionist Paradigms: Closing the Gap. Lawrence Erlbaum.
    Philosophers have argued that on the prevailing theory of mind, functionalism, the fact that mental states are multiply realizable or can be instantiated in a variety of different physical forms, at least in principle, shows that materialism or physical is probably false. A similar argument rejects the relevance to psychology of connectionism, which holds that mental states are embodied and and constituted by connectionist neural networks. These arguments, I argue, fall before reductios ad absurdam, proving too much -- they apply (...)
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  11. Defending the Possibility of a Neutral Functional Theory of Law.Kenneth M. Ehrenberg - 2009 - Oxford Journal of Legal Studies 29 (1):91.
    I argue that there is methodological space for a functional explanation of the nature of law that does not commit the theorist to a view about the value of that function for society, nor whether law is the best means of accomplishing it. A functional explanation will nonetheless provide a conceptual framework for a better understanding of the nature of law. First I examine the proper role for function in a theory of law and then argue (...)
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  12. The Canberra Plan Neglects Ground.Ned Block - 2015 - In Terence Horgan, Marcelo Sabates & David Sosa (eds.), Qualia and Mental Causation in a Physical World: Themes from the Philosophy of Jaegwon Kim,. Cambridge University Press. pp. 105-133.
    This paper argues that the “Canberra Plan” picture of physicalistic reduction of mind--a picture shared by both its proponents and opponents, philosophers as diverse as David Armstrong, David Chalmers Frank Jackson, Jaegwon Kim, Joe Levine and David Lewis--neglects ground (Fine, 2001, 2012). To the extent that the point of view endorsed by the Canberra Plan has an account of the physical/functional ground of mind at all, it is in one version trivial and in another version implausible. In its most (...)
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  13. Functional Kinds: A Skeptical Look.Cameron Buckner - 2015 - Synthese 192 (12):3915-3942.
    The functionalist approach to kinds has suffered recently due to its association with law-based approaches to induction and explanation. Philosophers of science increasingly view nomological approaches as inappropriate for the special sciences like psychology and biology, which has led to a surge of interest in approaches to natural kinds that are more obviously compatible with mechanistic and model-based methods, especially homeostatic property cluster theory. But can the functionalist approach to kinds be weaned off its dependency on laws? Dan Weiskopf (...)
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  14. Diagrams as Locality Aids for Explanation and Model Construction in Cell Biology.Nicholaos Jones & Olaf Wolkenhauer - 2012 - Biology and Philosophy 27 (5):705-721.
    Using as case studies two early diagrams that represent mechanisms of the cell division cycle, we aim to extend prior philosophical analyses of the roles of diagrams in scientific reasoning, and specifically their role in biological reasoning. The diagrams we discuss are, in practice, integral and indispensible elements of reasoning from experimental data about the cell division cycle to mathematical models of the cycle’s molecular mechanisms. In accordance with prior analyses, the diagrams provide functional explanations of the cell cycle (...)
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  15. RUTHLESS REDUCTIONISM AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES: APPARENTLY, NOT SO RUTHLESS.Ao Ramírez - 2014 - Kinesis 6 (11):1-16.
    John Bickle recently proposed a metascientific reading of certain neuroscientific practices related to phenomena traditionally studied by psychology. According to this view, the dominant explanatory proceeding in neuroscience is to apply empirical reductions to explain psychological phenomena in cellular and molecular terms, relegating the role of psychology to a mere heuristic, without explanatory power. Thus, according to the strength of the conclusions reached by this method, it puts in check the value of psychological functional explanations. In this work, we (...)
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  16.  48
    Jerzy Kmita’s Methodological Interpretation of Karl Marx’s Philosophy. From Ideology to Methodological Concepts.Anna Pałubicka - 2017 - Hybris. Revista de Filosofía 37:114-140.
    The article presents J. Kmita’s methodological interpretation of selected cognitive methods used by K. Marx. Those methods were (and I believe they still are) significant for the social sciences and the humanities, even a century after they had been developed. J Kmita’s interpretation reveals specificity of epistemic procedures carried out by the author of “Capital” and emphasizes contemporary actuality of Marx’s epistemological ideas. To achieve that aim, Kmita refers to the concepts established in the field of philosophy of science of (...)
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  17. Predictive Brains: Forethought and the Levels of Explanation.Giuseppe Boccignone & Roberto Cordeschi - 2012 - Frontiers in Psychology 3.
    Is any unified theory of brain function possible? Following a line of thought dat- ing back to the early cybernetics (see, e.g., Cordeschi, 2002), Clark (in press) has proposed the action-oriented Hierarchical Predictive Coding (HPC) as the account to be pursued in the effort of gain- ing the “Grand Unified Theory of the Mind”—or “painting the big picture,” as Edelman (2012) put it. Such line of thought is indeed appealing, but to be effectively pursued it should be confronted with experimental (...)
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  18.  55
    Functional Constitutivism’s Misunderstood Resources: A Limited Defense of Smith’s Constitutivism.Kathryn Lindeman - 2019 - Ethics 130 (1):79-91.
    In recent work, Michael Smith argues that particular desires are constitutive of ideal agency and draws on his dispositional account of reasons to establish the normative significance of those desires. In a sustained critique, Michael Bukowski objects that Smith’s recent arguments that particular desires are constitutive of ideal agency rely on indefensible premises and his dispositional account of reasons is unable to establish the normative significance of such desires. On the contrary, I argue not only that Smith has the resources (...)
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  19. 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 (...), I argue that large-scale simulations require that the explanandum phenomenon is identified; otherwise, the explanatory value of such explanations is difficult to establish, and testing the model empirically by comparing its behavior with the explanandum remains practically impossible. The completeness of the explanation, and hence of the explanatory value of the explanatory model, is to be assessed vis-à-vis the explanandum phenomenon, which is not to be conflated with raw observational data and may be idealized. I argue that idealizations, which include building models of a single phenomenon displayed by multi-functional mechanisms, lumping together multiple factors in a single causal variable, simplifying the causal structure of the mechanisms, and multi-model integration, are indispensable for complex systems such as brains; otherwise, the model may be as complex as the explanandum phenomenon, which would make it prone to so-called Bonini paradox. I conclude by enumerating dimensions of empirical validation of explanatory models according to new mechanism, which are given in a form of a “checklist” for a modeler. (shrink)
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  20.  78
    Noncognitivism and Epistemic Evaluations.Bob Beddor - 2019 - Philosophers' Imprint 19.
    This paper develops a new challenge for moral noncognitivism. In brief, the challenge is this: Beliefs — both moral and non-moral — are epistemically evaluable, whereas desires are not. It is tempting to explain this difference in terms of differences in the functional roles of beliefs and desires. However, this explanation stands in tension with noncognitivism, which maintains that moral beliefs have a desire-like functional role. After critically reviewing some initial responses to the challenge, I suggest a (...)
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  21. Developing the Explanatory Dimensions of Part–Whole Realization.Ronald Endicott - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (12):3347-3368.
    I use Carl Gillett’s much heralded dimensioned theory of realization as a platform to develop a plausible part–whole theory. I begin with some basic desiderata for a theory of realization that its key terms should be defined and that it should be explanatory. I then argue that Gillett’s original theory violates these conditions because its explanatory force rests upon an unspecified “in virtue of” relation. I then examine Gillett’s later version that appeals instead to theoretical terms tied to “mechanisms.” Yet (...)
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  22.  62
    Telling Stories Without Words.Kristin Andrews - 2009 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 16 (6-8):6-8.
    In this review article of Dan Hutto's bok Folk Psychological Narratives: The Sociocultural Basis of Understanding Reasons, I argue that we can take a functional approach to FP that identifies it with the practice of explaining behaviour -- that is, we can understand folk psychology as having the purpose of explaining behaviour and promoting social cohesion by making others’ behaviour comprehensible, without thinking that this ability must be limited to those with linguistic abilities. One reason for thinking that language (...)
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  23. 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 Sciences: The Case of Biology and History. Springer Verlag. 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 (...)
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  24.  34
    The Co-Ascription of Ordered Lexical Pairs: A Cognitive-Science-Based Semantic Theory of Meaning and Reference. Part 1.Tom Johnston - manuscript
    Lexical semantics has a problem. As Allesandro Lenci put it, the problem is that it cannot distinguish semantic from non-semantic relationships within its data. (2008, 2014). The data it relies on are patterns of co-occurrence of lexemes within linguistic corpora. But patterns of co-occurrence can reflect either our knowledge of what the world is like or our knowledge of what words mean -- matters of fact or matters of meaning. -/- In this essay, I develop a semantic theory which draws (...)
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  25. Eight Other Questions About Explanation.Angela Potochnik - 2018 - In Alexander Reutlinger & Juha Saatsi (eds.), Explanation Beyond Causation: Philosophical Perspectives on Non-Causal Explanations. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    The tremendous philosophical focus on how to characterize explanatory metaphysical dependence has eclipsed a number of other unresolved issued about scientific explanation. The purpose of this paper is taxonomical. I will outline a number of other questions about the nature of explanation and its role in science—eight, to be precise—and argue that each is independent. All of these topics have received some philosophical attention, but none nearly so much as it deserves. Furthermore, existing views on these topics have (...)
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  26.  80
    Explanation in Mathematics: Proofs and Practice.William D'Alessandro - forthcoming - Philosophy Compass.
    Mathematicians distinguish between proofs that explain their results and those that merely prove. This paper explores the nature of explanatory proofs, their role in mathematical practice, and some of the reasons why philosophers should care about them. Among the questions addressed are the following: what kinds of proofs are generally explanatory (or not)? What makes a proof explanatory? Do all mathematical explanations involve proof in an essential way? Are there really such things as explanatory proofs, and if so, how do (...)
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  27. Heuristics, Descriptions, and the Scope of Mechanistic Explanation.Carlos Zednik - 2015 - In P. Braillard & C. Malaterre (eds.), Explanation in Biology. An Enquiry into the Diversity of Explanatory Patterns in the Life Sciences. Dordrecht: Springer. pp. 295-318.
    The philosophical conception of mechanistic explanation is grounded on a limited number of canonical examples. These examples provide an overly narrow view of contemporary scientific practice, because they do not reflect the extent to which the heuristic strategies and descriptive practices that contribute to mechanistic explanation have evolved beyond the well-known methods of decomposition, localization, and pictorial representation. Recent examples from evolutionary robotics and network approaches to biology and neuroscience demonstrate the increasingly important role played by computer simulations (...)
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  28. Explanation, Confirmation, and Hempel's Paradox.William Roche - 2017 - In Kevin McCain & Ted Poston (eds.), Best explanations: New essays on inference to the best explanation. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 219-241.
    Hempel’s Converse Consequence Condition (CCC), Entailment Condition (EC), and Special Consequence Condition (SCC) have some prima facie plausibility when taken individually. Hempel, though, shows that they have no plausibility when taken together, for together they entail that E confirms H for any propositions E and H. This is “Hempel’s paradox”. It turns out that Hempel’s argument would fail if one or more of CCC, EC, and SCC were modified in terms of explanation. This opens up the possibility that Hempel’s (...)
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  29. Introduction: Scientific Explanation Beyond Causation.Alexander Reutlinger & Juha Saatsi - 2017 - In Alexander Reutlinger & Juha Saatsi (eds.), Explanation Beyond Causation: Philosophical Perspectives on Non-Causal Explanations. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    This is an introduction to the volume "Explanation Beyond Causation: Philosophical Perspectives on Non-Causal Explanations", edited by A. Reutlinger and J. Saatsi (OUP, forthcoming in 2017). -/- Explanations are very important to us in many contexts: in science, mathematics, philosophy, and also in everyday and juridical contexts. But what is an explanation? In the philosophical study of explanation, there is long-standing, influential tradition that links explanation intimately to causation: we often explain by providing accurate information about (...)
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  30.  52
    Experiential Explanation.Sara Aronowitz & Tania Lombrozo - forthcoming - Topics in Cognitive Science.
    People often answer why-questions with what we call experiential explanations: narratives or stories with temporal structure and concrete details. In contrast, on most theories of the epistemic function of explanation, explanations should be abstractive: structured by general relationships and lacking extraneous details. We suggest that abstractive and experiential explanations differ not only in level of abstraction, but also in structure, and that each form of explanation contributes to the epistemic goals of individual learners and of science. In particular, (...)
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  31.  61
    Abduction - The Context of Discovery + Underdetermination = Inference to the Best Explanation.Mousa Mohammadian - forthcoming - Synthese.
    The relationship between Peircean abduction and the modern notion of Inference to the Best Explanation (IBE) is a matter of dispute. Some philosophers such as Harman and Lipton claim that abduction and IBE are virtually the same. Others, however, hold that they are quite different (e.g., Hintikka and Minnameier) and there is no link between them (Campos). In this paper, I argue that neither of these views is correct. I show that abduction and IBE have important similarities as well (...)
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  32. Coincidences and the Grain of Explanation.Harjit Bhogal - forthcoming - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
    I give an account of what makes an event a coincidence. -/- I start by critically discussing a couple of other approaches to the notion of coincidence -- particularly that of Lando (2017) -- before developing my own view. The central idea of my view is that the correct understanding of coincidences is closely related to our understanding of the correct 'level' or 'grain' of explanation. Coincidences have a kind of explanatory deficiency — if they did not have this (...)
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  33. Normative Explanation and Justification.Pekka Väyrynen - forthcoming - Noûs.
    Normative explanations of why things are wrong, good, or unfair are ubiquitous in ordinary practice and normative theory. This paper argues that normative explanation is subject to a justification condition: a correct complete explanation of why a normative fact holds must identify features that would go at least some way towards justifying certain actions or attitudes. I first explain and motivate the condition I propose. I then support it by arguing that it fits well with various theories of (...)
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  34. High-Level Explanation and the Interventionist’s ‘Variables Problem’.L. R. Franklin-Hall - 2016 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 67 (2):553-577.
    The interventionist account of causal explanation, in the version presented by Jim Woodward, has been recently claimed capable of buttressing the widely felt—though poorly understood—hunch that high-level, relatively abstract explanations, of the sort provided by sciences like biology, psychology and economics, are in some cases explanatorily optimal. It is the aim of this paper to show that this is mistaken. Due to a lack of effective constraints on the causal variables at the heart of the interventionist causal-explanatory scheme, as (...)
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  35. The Significance Argument for the Irreducibility of Consciousness.Adam Pautz - 2017 - Philosophical Perspectives 31 (1):349-407.
    The Significance Argument (SA) for the irreducibility of consciousness is based on a series of new puzzle-cases that I call multiple candidate cases. In these cases, there is a multiplicity of physical-functional properties or relations that are candidates to be identified with the sensible qualities and our consciousness of them, where those candidates are not significantly different. I will argue that these cases show that reductive materialists cannot accommodate the various ways in which consciousness is significant. I also will (...)
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  36. Experts and Deviants: The Story of Agentive Control.Wayne Wu - 2016 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 92 (2):101-26.
    This essay argues that current theories of action fail to explain agentive control because they have left out a psychological capacity central to control: attention. This makes it impossible to give a complete account of the mental antecedents that generate action. By investigating attention, and in particular the intention-attention nexus, we can characterize the functional role of intention in an illuminating way, explicate agentive control so that we have a uniform explanation of basic cases of causal deviance in (...)
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  37. Grounding and Metaphysical Explanation.Naomi Thompson - 2016 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 116 (3):395-402.
    Attempts to elucidate grounding are often made by connecting grounding to metaphysical explanation, but the notion of metaphysical explanation is itself opaque, and has received little attention in the literature. We can appeal to theories of explanation in the philosophy of science to give us a characterization of metaphysical explanation, but this reveals a tension between three theses: that grounding relations are objective and mind-independent; that there are pragmatic elements to metaphysical explanation; and that grounding (...)
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  38.  96
    Teleology and Mentalizing in the Explanation of Action.Uwe Peters - forthcoming - Synthese:1-17.
    In empirically informed research on action explanation, philosophers and developmental psychologists have recently proposed a teleological account of the way in which we make sense of people’s intentional behavior. It holds that we typically don’t explain an agent’s action by appealing to her mental states but by referring to the objective, publically accessible facts of the world that count in favor of performing the action so as to achieve a certain goal. Advocates of the teleological account claim that this (...)
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  39. Revealing Social Functions Through Pragmatic Genealogies.Matthieu Queloz - forthcoming - In Rebekka Hufendiek, Daniel James & Raphael Van Riel (eds.), Social Functions in Philosophy: Metaphysical, Normative, and Methodological Perspectives. London: Routledge. pp. 00-00.
    There is an under-appreciated tradition of genealogical explanation that is centrally concerned with social functions. I shall refer to it as the tradition of pragmatic genealogy. It runs from David Hume (T, 3.2.2) and the early Friedrich Nietzsche (TL) through E. J. Craig (1990, 1993) to Bernard Williams (2002) and Miranda Fricker (2007). These pragmatic genealogists start out with a description of an avowedly fictional “state of nature” and end up ascribing social functions to particular building blocks of our (...)
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  40. Beyond Explanation: Understanding as Dependency Modeling.Finnur Dellsén - 2018 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science.
    This paper presents and argues for an account of objectual understanding that aims to do justice to the full range of cases of scientific understanding, including cases in which one does not have an explanation of the understood phenomenon. According to the proposed account, one understands a phenomenon just in case one grasps a sufficiently accurate and comprehensive model of the ways in which it or its features are situated within a network of dependence relations; one’s degree of understanding (...)
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  41. Reasons Why in Normative Explanation.Pekka Väyrynen - 2019 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 62 (6):607-623.
    Normative explanations, which specify why things have the normative features they do, are ubiquitous in normative theory and ordinary thought. But there is much less work on normative explanation than on scientific or metaphysical explanation. Skow (2016) argues that a complete answer to the question why some fact Q occurs consists in all of the reasons why Q occurs. This paper explores this theory as a case study of a general theory that promises to offer us a grip (...)
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  42.  50
    Universality Caused: The Case of Renormalization Group Explanation.Emily Sullivan - 2019 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 9 (3):36.
    Recently, many have argued that there are certain kinds of abstract mathematical explanations that are noncausal. In particular, the irrelevancy approach suggests that abstracting away irrelevant causal details can leave us with a noncausal explanation. In this paper, I argue that the common example of Renormalization Group explanations of universality used to motivate the irrelevancy approach deserves more critical attention. I argue that the reasons given by those who hold up RG as noncausal do not stand up to critical (...)
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  43. Mechanistic Explanation Without the Ontic Conception.Cory D. Wright - 2012 - European Journal of Philosophy of Science 2 (3):375-394.
    The ontic conception of scientific explanation has been constructed and motivated on the basis of a putative lexical ambiguity in the term explanation. I raise a puzzle for this ambiguity claim, and then give a deflationary solution under which all ontically-rendered talk of explanation is merely elliptical; what it is elliptical for is a view of scientific explanation that altogether avoids the ontic conception. This result has revisionary consequences for New Mechanists and other philosophers of science, (...)
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  44. Metaphysical Explanation: The Kitcher Picture.Sam Baron & James Norton - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-21.
    This paper offers a new account of metaphysical explanation. The account is modelled on Kitcher’s (1981/1989) unificationist approach to scientific explanation. We begin, in Section Two, by briefly introducing the notion of metaphysical explanation and outlining the target of analysis. After that, we introduce a unificationist account of metaphysical explanation (Section Three) before arguing that such an account is capable of capturing four core features of metaphysical explanations: (i) irreflexivity, (ii) non-monotonicity, (iii) asymmetry and (iv) relevance. (...)
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  45. Inference to the Best Explanation Made Incoherent.Nevin Climenhaga - 2017 - Journal of Philosophy 114 (5):251-273.
    Defenders of Inference to the Best Explanation claim that explanatory factors should play an important role in empirical inference. They disagree, however, about how exactly to formulate this role. In particular, they disagree about whether to formulate IBE as an inference rule for full beliefs or for degrees of belief, as well as how a rule for degrees of belief should relate to Bayesianism. In this essay I advance a new argument against non-Bayesian versions of IBE. My argument focuses (...)
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  46. Nomothetic Explanation and Humeanism About Laws of Nature.Harjit Bhogal - forthcoming - Oxford Studies in Metaphysics.
    Humeanism about laws of nature — the view that the laws reduce to the Humean mosaic — is a popular view, but currently existing versions face powerful objections. The non-supervenience objection, the non-fundamentality objection and the explanatory circularity objection have all been thought to cause problems for the Humean. However, these objections share a guiding thought — they are all based on the idea that there is a certain kind of divergence between the practice of science and the metaphysical picture (...)
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  47. Inference, Explanation, and Asymmetry.Kareem Khalifa, Jared Millson & Mark Risjord - 2018 - Synthese.
    Explanation is asymmetric: if A explains B, then B does not explain A. Tradition- ally, the asymmetry of explanation was thought to favor causal accounts of explanation over their rivals, such as those that take explanations to be inferences. In this paper, we develop a new inferential approach to explanation that outperforms causal approaches in accounting for the asymmetry of explanation.
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  48. Representing and Explaining: The Eikonic Conception of Scientific Explanation.Alisa Bokulich - 2018 - Philosophy of Science (5):793-805.
    The ontic conception of explanation, according to which explanations are "full-bodied things in the world," is fundamentally misguided. I argue instead for what I call the eikonic conception, according to which explanations are the product of an epistemic activity involving representations of the phenomena to be explained. What is explained in the first instance is a particular conceptualization of the explanandum phenomenon, contextualized within a given research program or explanatory project. I conclude that this eikonic conception has a number (...)
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  49.  79
    Ontic Explanation Is Either Ontic or Explanatory, but Not Both.Cory Wright & Dingmar van Eck - 2018 - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 5 (38):997–1029.
    What features will something have if it counts as an explanation? And will something count as an explanation if it has those features? In the second half of the 20th century, philosophers of science set for themselves the task of answering such questions, just as a priori conceptual analysis was generally falling out of favor. And as it did, most philosophers of science just moved on to more manageable questions about the varieties of explanation and discipline-specific scientific (...)
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  50.  30
    Inference to the Best Explanation and the Screening-Off Challenge.William Roche & Elliott Sober - forthcoming - Teorema: International Journal of Philosophy.
    We argue in Roche and Sober (2013) that explanatoriness is evidentially irrelevant in that Pr(H | O&EXPL) = Pr(H | O), where H is a hypothesis, O is an observation, and EXPL is the proposition that if H and O were true, then H would explain O. This is a “screening-off” thesis. Here we clarify that thesis, reply to criticisms advanced by Lange (2017), consider alternative formulations of Inference to the Best Explanation, discuss a strengthened screening-off thesis, and consider (...)
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