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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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Some Varieties of Non-Causal Explanation

Some Varieties of Non-Causal Explanation

(p.117) 6 Some Varieties of Non-Causal Explanation
Explanation Beyond Causation

James Woodward

Oxford University Press

This chapter explores the possibility of weakening the “interventionist” criteria for causal explanation described in Woodward’s Making Things Happen (2003) to yield various forms of non-causal explanation. These include the following: (1) retaining the idea that explanations must answer what-if-things-had-been-different questions (the w-question requirement), but dropping the requirement that the answers to such questions must take the form of claims about what would happen under interventions; (2) retaining the w-question requirement, but dropping the requirement that the generalization (if any) connecting explanans and explanandum be contingent and instead allowing generalizations that hold for mathematical or conceptual reasons to play this role; (3) dropping the w-question requirement to accommodate the role of information about irrelevance in explanation.

Keywords:   scientific explanation, causal explanation, causation, invariance, intervention, explanatory irrelevance

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