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Causality and Explanation$
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Wesley C. Salmon

Print publication date: 1998

Print ISBN-13: 9780195108644

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0195108647.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 20 April 2021

Explanation in Archaeology

Explanation in Archaeology

An Update

(p.356) 23 Explanation in Archaeology
Causality and Explanation

Wesley C. Salmon

Oxford University Press

Originally published 15 years after the initial publication of Ch. 21, deals with subsequent developments in the philosophical discussions of scientific explanation that have special relevance to archaeology. In particular, fruitful discussions among philosophers who embrace the unification approach to explanation and those who favor the causal approach, offer useful insights into how to handle functional explanations. Many archaeologists try to avoid functional explanations, although they seem to be crucial to archaeological theory, because of a fear that such explanations are not scientific. The author endorses archaeologists’ search for scientific explanations, and tries to show how they can better pursue that goal if they are not hampered by rigid adherence to older philosophical models of explanation.

Keywords:   archaeology, causal explanation, functional explanation

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