- Title Pages
- Part I Introductory Essays
- 1 A New Look at Causality
- 2 Determinism and Indeterminism in Modern Science
- 3 Comets, Pollen, and Dreams Some Reflections on Scientific Explanation
- 4 Scientific Explanation
- 5 The Importance of Scientific Understanding
- Part II Scientific Explanation
- 6 A Third Dogma of Empiricism
- 7 Causal and Theoretical Explanation
- 8 Why Ask, “Why?”?
- 9 Deductivism Visited and Revisited
- 10 Explanatory Asymmetry
- 11 Van Fraassen on Explanation
- Part III Causality
- 12 An “At‐At” Theory of Causal Influence
- 13 Causal Propensities
- 14 Probabilistic Causality
- 15 Intuitions—Good and Not‐So‐Good
- 16 Causality Without Counterfactuals
- 17 Indeterminacy, Indeterminism, and Quantum Mechanics
- Part IV Concise Overviews
- 18 Causality
- 19 Scientific Explanation
- 20 Scientific Explanation
- Part V Applications to Other Disciplines
- 21 Alternative Models of Scientific Explanation
- 22 Causality in Archaeological Explanation
- 23 Explanation in Archaeology
- 24 The Formulation of Why‐Questions
- 25 Quasars, Causality, and Geometry
- 26 Dreams of a Famous Physicist
Why Ask, “Why?”?
Why Ask, “Why?”?
An Inquiry Concerning Scientific Explanation
- (p.125) 8 Why Ask, “Why?”?
- Causality and Explanation
Wesley C. Salmon
- Oxford University Press
Attempts to provide the general outlines of a causal theory of scientific explanation that can incorporate the virtues of both the standard inferential view and previous causal accounts. The new theory relies heavily upon a distinction between causal processes and causal interactions, and upon the principle of the common cause. Two types of causal forks, conjunctive and interactive, are distinguished; each is seen to have a distinct function in the account of scientific explanation. The common cause principle is invoked to show how unobservable entities play a fundamental explanatory role, thereby clarifying the explanatory power of theories.
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