Results for 'non-causal explanation'

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  1. Can Non-Causal Explanations Answer the Leibniz Question?Jens Lemanski - 2022 - Metaphysica 23 (2):427-443.
    Leibniz is often cited as an authority when it comes to the formulation and answer strategy of the question “Why is there something rather than nothing?” Yet much current research assumes that Leibniz advocates an unambiguous question and strategy for the answer. In this respect, one repeatedly finds the argument in the literature that alternative explanatory approaches to this question violate Leibniz’s intention, since he derives the question from the principle of sufficient reason and also demands a causal (...) to the question. In particular, the new research on non-causal explanatory strategies to the Leibniz question seems to concern this counter-argument. In this paper, however, I will argue that while Leibniz raises the question by means of the principle of sufficient reason, he even favours a non-causal explanatory strategy to the question. Thus, a more accurate Leibniz interpretation seems not only to legitimise but also to support non-causal explanations to the Leibniz question. (shrink)
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  2. There May Yet be Non-causal Explanations.Finnur Dellsén - 2016 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 47 (2):377-384.
    There are many putative counterexamples to the view that all scientific explanations are causal explanations. Using a new theory of what it is to be a causal explanation, Bradford Skow has recently argued that several of the putative counterexamples fail to be non-causal. This paper defends some of the counterexamples by showing how Skow’s argument relies on an overly permissive theory of causal explanations.
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  3. Non-causal explanations in physics.Juha Saatsi - 2022 - In Eleanor Knox & Alastair Wilson (eds.), The Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Physics. London, UK: Routledge.
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  4. On the Role of Erotetic Constraints in Non-causal Explanations.Daniel Kostić - forthcoming - Philosophy of Science.
    In non-causal explanations, some non-causal facts (such as mathematical, modal or metaphysical) are used to explain some physical facts. However, precisely because these explanations abstract away from causal facts, they face two challenges: 1) it is not clear why would one rather than the other non-causal explanantia be relevant for the explanandum; and 2) why would standing in a particular explanatory relation (e.g., “counterfactual dependence”, “constraint”, “entailment”, “constitution”, “grounding”, and so on), and not in some other, (...)
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  5. Mathematical and Non-causal Explanations: an Introduction.Daniel Kostić - 2019 - Perspectives on Science 1 (27):1-6.
    In the last couple of years, a few seemingly independent debates on scientific explanation have emerged, with several key questions that take different forms in different areas. For example, the questions what makes an explanation distinctly mathematical and are there any non-causal explanations in sciences (i.e., explanations that don’t cite causes in the explanans) sometimes take a form of the question of what makes mathematical models explanatory, especially whether highly idealized models in science can be explanatory and (...)
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  6. Shades of Grey: Granularity, Pragmatics, and Non-Causal Explanation.Hugh Desmond - 2019 - Perspectives on Science 27 (1):68-87.
    Implicit contextual factors mean that the boundary between causal and noncausal explanation is not as neat as one might hope: as the phenomenon to be explained is given descriptions with varying degrees of granularity, the nature of the favored explanation alternates between causal and non-causal. While it is not surprising that different descriptions of the same phenomenon should favor different explanations, it is puzzling why re-describing the phenomenon should make any difference for the causal (...)
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  7. Because without Cause: Non-Causal Explanations in Science and Mathematics. [REVIEW]Mark Povich & Carl F. Craver - 2018 - Philosophical Review 127 (3):422-426.
    Lange’s collection of expanded, mostly previously published essays, packed with numerous, beautiful examples of putatively non-causal explanations from biology, physics, and mathematics, challenges the increasingly ossified causal consensus about scientific explanation, and, in so doing, launches a new field of philosophic investigation. However, those who embraced causal monism about explanation have done so because appeal to causal factors sorts good from bad scientific explanations and because the explanatory force of good explanations seems to derive (...)
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  8. "Because" without "Cause": The Uses and Limits of Non-Causal Explanation.Jonathan Birch - 2008 - Dissertation, University of Cambridge
    In this BA dissertation, I deploy examples of non-causal explanations of physical phenomena as evidence against the view that causal models of explanation can fully account for explanatory practices in science. I begin by discussing the problems faced by Hempel’s models and the causal models built to replace them. I then offer three everyday examples of non-causal explanation, citing sticks, pilots and apples. I suggest a general form for such explanations, under which they can (...)
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  9. Are Identities Unexplainable? Towards a Non‐causal Contrastive Explanation of Identities.Lorenzo Azzano & Massimiliano Carrara - 2020 - Theoria 87 (2):457-482.
    Can an identity be the proper subject of an explanation? A popular stance, albeit not one often argued for, gives a negative answer to this question. Building from a contentious passage from Jaegwon Kim in this direction, we reconstruct an argument to the conclusion that identities, to the extent in which they are necessary, cannot be explained. The notion of contrastive explanation, characterized as difference-seeking, will be crucial for this argument; however, we will eventually find the argument to (...)
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  10. Are mathematical explanations causal explanations in disguise?A. Jha, Douglas Campbell, Clemency Montelle & Phillip L. Wilson - 2024 - Philosophy of Science (NA):1-19.
    There is a major debate as to whether there are non-causal mathematical explanations of physical facts that show how the facts under question arise from a degree of mathematical necessity considered stronger than that of contingent causal laws. We focus on Marc Lange’s account of distinctively mathematical explanations to argue that purported mathematical explanations are essentially causal explanations in disguise and are no different from ordinary applications of mathematics. This is because these explanations work not by appealing (...)
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  11. Genetic traits and causal explanation.Robert Northcott - 2011 - In Kathryn S. Plaisance & Thomas Reydon (eds.), Philosophy of Behavioral Biology. Springer. pp. 65-82.
    I use a contrastive theory of causal explanation to analyze the notion of a genetic trait. The resulting definition is relational, an implication of which is that no trait is genetic always and everywhere. Rather, every trait may be either genetic or non-genetic, depending on explanatory context. I also outline some other advantages of connecting the debate to the wider causation literature, including how that yields us an account of the distinction between genetic traits and genetic dispositions.
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  12. Equilibrium explanation as structural non-mechanistic explanation: The case long-term bacterial persistence in human hosts.Javier Suárez & Roger Deulofeu - 2019 - Teorema: International Journal of Philosophy 3 (38):95-120.
    Philippe Huneman has recently questioned the widespread application of mechanistic models of scientific explanation based on the existence of structural explanations, i.e. explanations that account for the phenomenon to be explained in virtue of the mathematical properties of the system where the phenomenon obtains, rather than in terms of the mechanisms that causally produce the phenomenon. Structural explanations are very diverse, including cases like explanations in terms of bowtie structures, in terms of the topological properties of the system, or (...)
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  13. A recipe for complete non-wellfounded explanations.Alexandre Billon - forthcoming - Dialectica.
    In a previous article on cosmological arguments, I have put forward a few examples of complete infinite and circular explanations, and argued that complete non-wellfounded explanations such as these might explain the present state of the world better than their well-founded theistic counterparts (Billon, 2021). Although my aim was broader, the examples I gave there implied merely causal explanations. In this article, I would like to do three things: • Specify some general informative conditions for complete and incomplete non-wellfounded (...)
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  14. Complements, not competitors: causal and mathematical explanations.Holly Andersen - 2017 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 69 (2):485-508.
    A finer-grained delineation of a given explanandum reveals a nexus of closely related causal and non- causal explanations, complementing one another in ways that yield further explanatory traction on the phenomenon in question. By taking a narrower construal of what counts as a causal explanation, a new class of distinctively mathematical explanations pops into focus; Lange’s characterization of distinctively mathematical explanations can be extended to cover these. This new class of distinctively mathematical explanations is illustrated with (...)
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  15. Non-naturalistic moral explanation.Samuel Baron, Mark Colyvan, Kristie Miller & Michael Rubin - 2019 - Synthese 198 (5):4273-4294.
    It has seemed, to many, that there is an important connection between the ways in which some theoretical posits explain our observations, and our reasons for being ontologically committed to those posits. One way to spell out this connection is in terms of what has become known as the explanatory criterion of ontological commitment. This is, roughly, the view that we ought to posit only those entities that are indispensable to our best explanations. Our primary aim is to argue that (...)
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  16. Not so distinctively mathematical explanations: topology and dynamical systems.Aditya Jha, Douglas Campbell, Clemency Montelle & Phillip L. Wilson - 2022 - Synthese 200 (3):1-40.
    So-called ‘distinctively mathematical explanations’ (DMEs) are said to explain physical phenomena, not in terms of contingent causal laws, but rather in terms of mathematical necessities that constrain the physical system in question. Lange argues that the existence of four or more equilibrium positions of any double pendulum has a DME. Here we refute both Lange’s claim itself and a strengthened and extended version of the claim that would pertain to any n-tuple pendulum system on the ground that such explanations (...)
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  17. Introduction: Scientific Explanation Beyond Causation.Alexander Reutlinger & Juha Saatsi - 2018 - In Alexander Reutlinger & Juha Saatsi (eds.), Explanation Beyond Causation: Philosophical Perspectives on Non-Causal Explanations. Oxford, United Kingdom: 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 (...)
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  18. Reasons explanations (of actions) as structural explanations.Megan Fritts - 2021 - Synthese 199 (5-6):12683-12704.
    Non-causal accounts of action explanation have long been criticized for lacking a positive thesis, relying primarily on negative arguments to undercut the standard Causal Theory of Action The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2016). Additionally, it is commonly thought that non-causal accounts fail to provide an answer to Donald Davidson’s challenge for theories of reasons explanations of actions. According to Davidson’s challenge, a plausible non-causal account of reasons explanations must provide a way of connecting an agent’s (...)
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  19. On Explanations from Geometry of Motion.Juha Saatsi - 2018 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 69 (1):253–273.
    This paper examines explanations that turn on non-local geometrical facts about the space of possible configurations a system can occupy. I argue that it makes sense to contrast such explanations from "geometry of motion" with causal explanations. I also explore how my analysis of these explanations cuts across the distinction between kinematics and dynamics.
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  20. Téléologie et fonctions en biologie. Une approche non causale des explications téléofonctionnelles.Alberto Molina Pérez - 2017 - Dissertation, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid
    This dissertation focuses on teleology and functions in biology. More precisely, it focuses on the scientific legitimacy of teleofunctional attributions and explanations in biology. It belongs to a multi-faceted debate that can be traced back to at least the 1970s. One aspect of the debate concerns the naturalization of functions. Most authors try to reduce, translate or explain functions and teleology in terms of efficient causes so that they find their place in the framework of the natural sciences. Our approach (...)
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  21. Explanations and candidate explanations in physics.Martin King - 2020 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 10 (1):1-17.
    There has been a growing trend to include non-causal models in accounts of scientific explanation. A worry addressed in this paper is that without a higher threshold for explanation there are no tools for distinguishing between models that provide genuine explanations and those that provide merely potential explanations. To remedy this, a condition is introduced that extends a veridicality requirement to models that are empirically underdetermined, highly-idealised, or otherwise non-causal. This condition is applied to models of (...)
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  22. Why Attention is Not Explanation: Surgical Intervention and Causal Reasoning about Neural Models.Christopher Grimsley, Elijah Mayfield & Julia Bursten - 2020 - Proceedings of the 12th Conference on Language Resources and Evaluation.
    As the demand for explainable deep learning grows in the evaluation of language technologies, the value of a principled grounding for those explanations grows as well. Here we study the state-of-the-art in explanation for neural models for natural-language processing (NLP) tasks from the viewpoint of philosophy of science. We focus on recent evaluation work that finds brittleness in explanations obtained through attention mechanisms.We harness philosophical accounts of explanation to suggest broader conclusions from these studies. From this analysis, we (...)
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  23. Mathematical Explanations and the Piecemeal Approach to Thinking About Explanation.Gabriel Târziu - 2018 - Logique Et Analyse 61 (244):457-487.
    A new trend in the philosophical literature on scientific explanation is that of starting from a case that has been somehow identified as an explanation and then proceed to bringing to light its characteristic features and to constructing an account for the type of explanation it exemplifies. A type of this approach to thinking about explanation – the piecemeal approach, as I will call it – is used, among others, by Lange (2013) and Pincock (2015) in (...)
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  24. Inference, Explanation, and Asymmetry.Kareem Khalifa, Jared Millson & Mark Risjord - 2018 - Synthese (Suppl 4):929-953.
    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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  25. Automaticity: Componential, causal, and mechanistic explanations. Annual Review of Psychology, 67, 263-287.Agnes Moors - 2016 - Annual Review of Psychology 67:263-287.
    The review first discusses componential explanations of automaticity, which specify non/automaticity features (e.g., un/controlled, un/conscious, non/efficient, fast/slow) and their interrelations. Reframing these features as factors that influence processes (e.g., goals, attention, and time) broadens the range of factors that can be considered (e.g., adding stimulus intensity and representational quality). The evidence reviewed challenges the view of a perfect coherence among goals, attention, and consciousness, and supports the alternative view that (a) these and other factors influence the quality of representations in (...)
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  26. Mathematical Explanations in Evolutionary Biology or Naturalism? A Challenge for the Statisticalist.Fabio Sterpetti - 2021 - Foundations of Science 27 (3):1073-1105.
    This article presents a challenge that those philosophers who deny the causal interpretation of explanations provided by population genetics might have to address. Indeed, some philosophers, known as statisticalists, claim that the concept of natural selection is statistical in character and cannot be construed in causal terms. On the contrary, other philosophers, known as causalists, argue against the statistical view and support the causal interpretation of natural selection. The problem I am concerned with here arises for the (...)
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  27. Metaphysical explanations and the counterfactual theory of explanation.Stefan Roski - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 178 (6):1971-1991.
    According to an increasingly popular view among philosophers of science, both causal and non-causal explanations can be accounted for by a single theory: the counterfactual theory of explanation. A kind of non-causal explanation that has gained much attention recently but that this theory seems unable to account for are grounding explanations. Reutlinger :239-256, 2017) has argued that, despite these appearances to the contrary, such explanations are covered by his version of the counterfactual theory. His idea (...)
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  28. Scientific Explanation as a Guide to Ground.Markel Kortabarria & Joaquim Giannotti - 2024 - Synthese 203 (3):1-27.
    Ground is all the rage in contemporary metaphysics. But what is its nature? Some metaphysicians defend what we could call, following Skiles and Trogdon (2021), the inheritance view: it is because constitutive forms of metaphysical explanation are such-and-such that we should believe that ground is so-and-so. However, many putative instances of inheritance are not primarily motivated by scientific considerations. This limitation is harmless if one thinks that ground and science are best kept apart. Contrary to this view, we believe (...)
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  29. Metaphysical Explanation by Constraint.Michael Bertrand - 2019 - Erkenntnis 84 (6):1325-1340.
    It is often thought that metaphysical grounding underwrites a distinctive sort of metaphysical explanation. However, it would be a mistake to think that all metaphysical explanations are underwritten by metaphysical grounding. In service of this claim, I offer a novel kind of metaphysical explanation called metaphysical explanation by constraint, examples of which have been neglected in the literature. I argue that metaphysical explanations by constraint are not well understood as grounding explanations.
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  30. 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 (...)
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  31. Some Concerns Regarding Explanatory Pluralism: The Explanatory Role of Optimality Models.Gabriel Târziu - 2019 - Filozofia Nauki 28 (4):95-113.
    Optimality models are widely used in different parts of biology. Two important questions that have been asked about such models are: are they explanatory and, if so, what type of explanations do they offer? My concern in this paper is with the approach of Rice (2012, 2015) and Irvine (2015), who claim that these models provide non-causal explanations. I argue that there are serious problems with this approach and with the accounts of explanation it is intended to justify. (...)
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  32. The Narrow Ontic Counterfactual Account of Distinctively Mathematical Explanation.Mark Povich - 2021 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 72 (2):511-543.
    An account of distinctively mathematical explanation (DME) should satisfy three desiderata: it should account for the modal import of some DMEs; it should distinguish uses of mathematics in explanation that are distinctively mathematical from those that are not (Baron [2016]); and it should also account for the directionality of DMEs (Craver and Povich [2017]). Baron’s (forthcoming) deductive-mathematical account, because it is modelled on the deductive-nomological account, is unlikely to satisfy these desiderata. I provide a counterfactual account of DME, (...)
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  33. Grounding and Normative Explanation.Pekka Väyrynen - 2013 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 87 (1):155-178.
    This paper concerns non-causal normative explanations such as ‘This act is wrong because/in virtue of__’. The familiar intuition that normative facts aren't brute or ungrounded but anchored in non- normative facts seems to be in tension with the equally familiar idea that no normative fact can be fully explained in purely non- normative terms. I ask whether the tension could be resolved by treating the explanatory relation in normative explanations as the sort of ‘grounding’ relation that receives extensive discussion (...)
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  34. General Theory of Topological Explanations and Explanatory Asymmetry.Daniel Kostic - 2020 - Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 375 (1796):1-8.
    In this paper, I present a general theory of topological explanations, and illustrate its fruitfulness by showing how it accounts for explanatory asymmetry. My argument is developed in three steps. In the first step, I show what it is for some topological property A to explain some physical or dynamical property B. Based on that, I derive three key criteria of successful topological explanations: a criterion concerning the facticity of topological explanations, i.e. what makes it true of a particular system; (...)
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  35. Explanation, Representation and Information.Panagiotis Karadimas - 2024 - Philosophical Problems in Science 74:21-55.
    The ontic conception of explanation is predicated on the proposition that “explanation is a relation between real objects in the world” and hence, according to this approach, scientific explanation cannot take place absent such a premise. Despite the fact that critics have emphasized several drawbacks of the ontic conception, as for example its inability to address the so-called “abstract explanations”, the debate is not settled and the ontic view can claim to capture cases of explanation that (...)
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  36. Non-Naturalism and Reference.Jussi Suikkanen - 2017 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 11 (2):1-24.
    Metaethical realists disagree about the nature of normative properties. Naturalists think that they are ordinary natural properties: causally efficacious, a posteriori knowable, and usable in the best explanations of natural and social sciences. Non-naturalist realists, in contrast, argue that they are sui generis: causally inert, a priori knowable and not a part of the subject matter of sciences. It has been assumed so far that naturalists can explain causally how the normative predicates manage to refer to normative properties, whereas non-naturalists (...)
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  37. 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 (...)
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  38. Causal Scepticism or Invisible Cement.David-Hillel Ruben - 1982 - Ratio (Misc.) 24 (2):161.
    I defend the view, hardly original with me, that there is no evidence, deductive or non-deductive, for any of our causal beliefs, that does not already assume that there are some causal connections, and hence that there is no way in which experience on its own, or with causalität-free principles, can support the structure of out causal knowledge. The deductive case is perhaps obvious. In the case of non-deductive arguments, I consider how experience of constant conjunctions, together (...)
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  39. Counterfactuals and Explanatory Pluralism.Kareem Khalifa, Gabriel Doble & Jared Millson - 2018 - 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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  40. Causality in the McDowellian World.Alan Charles McKay - 2014 - Dissertation, Queen's University Belfast
    The thesis explores and suggests a solution to a problem that I identify in John McDowell’s and Lynne Rudder Baker’s approaches to mental and intention-dependent (ID) causation in the physical world. I begin (chapter 1) with a brief discussion of McDowell’s non-reductive and anti-scientistic account of mind and world, which I believe offers, through its vision of the unbounded conceptual and the world as within the space of reasons, to liberate and renew philosophy. However, I find an inconsistency in McDowell’s (...)
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  41. Causal Powers and the Necessity of Realization.Umut Baysan - 2017 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 25 (4):525-531.
    Non-reductive physicalists hold that mental properties are realized by physical properties. The realization relation is typically taken to be a metaphysical necessitation relation. Here, I explore how the metaphysical necessitation feature of realization can be explained by what is known as ‘the subset view’ of realization. The subset view holds that the causal powers that are associated with a realized property are a proper subset of the causal powers that are associated with the realizer property. I argue that (...)
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  42. Causal relevance and thought content.Kirk A. Ludwig - 1994 - Philosophical Quarterly 44 (176):334-353.
    It is natural to think that our ordinary practices in giving explanations for our actions, for what we do, commit us to claiming that content properties are causally relevant to physical events such as the movements of our limbs and bodies, and events which these in turn cause. If you want to know why my body ambulates across the street, or why my arm went up before I set out, we suppose I have given you an answer when I say (...)
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  43. Causality and Coextensiveness in Aristotle's Posterior Analytics 1.13.Lucas Angioni - 2018 - Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy 54:159-185.
    I discuss an important feature of the notion of cause in Post. An. 1. 13, 78b13–28, which has been either neglected or misunderstood. Some have treated it as if Aristotle were introducing a false principle about explanation; others have understood the point in terms of coextensiveness of cause and effect. However, none offers a full exegesis of Aristotle's tangled argument or accounts for all of the text's peculiarities. My aim is to disentangle Aristotle's steps to show that he is (...)
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  44.  97
    Essence, Grounding, and Explanation.David Mark Kovacs - 2024 - In Kathrin Koslicki & Michael J. Raven (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Essence in Philosophy. New York, NY: Routledge. pp. 305-318.
    Chapter 20 David Kovacs’ “Essence, Grounding, and Explanation” sets out four different ways in which essence might be taken to relate to the notion of grounding or metaphysical explanation, i.e., the type of connection that is often expressed by means of non-causal “in virtue of” or “because”-claims: (i) Unity: essence and grounding belong to a unified set of explanatory concepts; (ii) Supplementation: essence and grounding both contribute in their own way to a distinctive type of explanation; (...)
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  45.  52
    Design principles and mechanistic explanation.W. Fang - 2022 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 44 (55).
    In this essay I propose that what design principles in systems biology and systems neuroscience do is to present abstract characterizations of mechanisms, and thereby facilitate mechanistic explanation. To show this, one design principle in systems neuroscience, i.e., the multilayer perceptron, is examined. However, Braillard (2010) contends that design principles provide a sort of non-mechanistic explanation due to two related reasons: they are very general and describe non-causal dependence relationships. In response to this, I argue that, on (...)
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  46. Max Weber on Explanation of Human Actions: Towards a Reconstruction.Koshy Tharakan - 1995 - Journal of the Indian Council of Philosophical Research 12 (3):21-30.
    Recent discussions on the explanation of action are permeated with two divergent models of explanation, namely causal model and non- causal model. For causalists the notion of explanation is intimately related to that of causation. As Davidson contends, any rudimentary explanation of an event gives its cause. More sophisticated explanations may cite a relevant law in support of a singular causal claim. The non-causalists, on the other hand, hold that when we explain an (...)
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  47. Causal Control: A Rationale for Causal Selection.Lauren N. Ross - 2015
    Causal selection has to do with the distinction we make between background conditions and “the” true cause or causes of some outcome of interest. A longstanding consensus in philosophy views causal selection as lacking any objective rationale and as guided, instead, by arbitrary, pragmatic, and non-scientific considerations. I argue against this position in the context of causal selection for disease traits. In this domain, causes are selected on the basis of the type of causal control they (...)
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  48. ‘Pain Always Asks for a Cause’: Nietzsche and Explanation.Matthew Bennett - 2017 - European Journal of Philosophy 25 (4):1550-1568.
    Those who have emphasised Nietzsche's naturalism have often claimed that he emulates natural scientific methods by offering causal explanations of psychological, social, and moral phenomena. In order to render Nietzsche's method consistent with his methodology, such readers of Nietzsche have also claimed that his objections to the use of causal explanations are based on a limited scepticism concerning the veracity of causal explanations. My contention is that proponents of this reading are wrong about both Nietzsche's methodology and (...)
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  49. Truth: explanation, success, and coincidence.Will Gamester - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (5):1243-1265.
    Inflationists have argued that truth is a causal-explanatory property on the grounds that true belief facilitates practical success: we must postulate truth to explain the practical success of certain actions performed by rational agents. Deflationists, however, have a seductive response. Rather than deny that true belief facilitates practical success, the deflationist maintains that the sole role for truth here is as a device for generalisation. In particular, each individual instance of practical success can be explained only by reference to (...)
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  50. When do circumstances excuse? Moral prejudices and beliefs about the true self drive preferences for agency-minimizing explanations.Simon Cullen - 2018 - Cognition 180 (C):165-181.
    When explaining human actions, people usually focus on a small subset of potential causes. What leads us to prefer certain explanations for valenced actions over others? The present studies indicate that our moral attitudes often predict our explanatory preferences far better than our beliefs about how causally sensitive actions are to features of the actor's environment. Study 1 found that high-prejudice participants were much more likely to endorse non-agential explanations of an erotic same-sex encounter, such as that one of the (...)
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