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Explanation Beyond CausationPhilosophical Perspectives on Non-Causal Explanations$
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Alexander Reutlinger and Juha Saatsi

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198777946

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198777946.001.0001

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Eight Other Questions about Explanation

Eight Other Questions about Explanation

(p.57) 3 Eight Other Questions about Explanation
Explanation Beyond Causation

Angela Potochnik

Oxford University Press

Philosophical accounts of scientific explanation tend to focus on developing a conception of the kind of dependence that is explanatory, e.g., nomic, causal-mechanical, difference-making, etc. Disagreements about other features of explanation are often presented as secondary issues linked to specific accounts of explanatory dependence. As a result, many features of explanatory practices about which philosophers disagree have not received sufficient attention. This chapter articulates several of those features—eight, to be exact—and discusses some of the ideas that have been raised about each. The purpose of this chapter is not to defend any one conception of any of these features, but to distinguish among the relatively distinct features of explanation about which philosophers disagree and, for each, to clarify what is at stake. Most of these disagreements have little to do with the nature of explanatory dependence and, in particular, whether or not explanation is causal in nature.

Keywords:   scientific explanation, ontic explanation, pragmatics of explanation, scientific understanding, idealization

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