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Introduction: Scientific Explanation Beyond Causation

Reutlinger, Alexander and Saatsi, Juha (2017) Introduction: Scientific Explanation Beyond Causation. [Preprint]

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Abstract

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 about the causes of the phenomenon to be explained. Such causal accounts have been the received view of the nature of explanation, particularly in philosophy of science, since the 1980s. However, philosophers have recently begun to break with this causal tradition by shifting their focus to kinds of explanation that do not turn on causal information. The increasing recognition of the importance of such non-causal explanations in the sciences and elsewhere raises pressing questions for philosophers of explanation. What is the nature of non-causal explanations - and which theory best captures it? How do non-causal explanations relate to causal ones? How are non-causal explanations in the sciences related to those in mathematics and metaphysics? This volume of new essays explores answers to these and other questions at the heart of contemporary philosophy of explanation. The essays address these questions from a variety of perspectives, including general accounts of non-causal and causal explanations, as well as a wide range of detailed case studies of non-causal explanations from the sciences, mathematics and metaphysics.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Reutlinger, AlexanderAlexander.Reutlinger@lrz.uni-muenchen.de
Saatsi, JuhaJ.T.Saatsi@leeds.ac.uk
Additional Information: Introduction to the volume "Explanation Beyond Causation: Philosophical Perspectives on Non-Causal Explanations", edited by A. Reutlinger and J. Saatsi (OUP, forthcoming in 2017).
Keywords: scientific explanation, non-causal explanation, causal explanation, mathematical explanation, mechanistic explanation, metaphysical explanation
Subjects: General Issues > Scientific Metaphysics
Specific Sciences > Biology
General Issues > Causation
Specific Sciences > Cognitive Science
Specific Sciences > Earth Sciences
General Issues > Explanation
Specific Sciences > Mathematics
General Issues > Models and Idealization
Specific Sciences > Physics
Depositing User: Alexander Reutlinger
Date Deposited: 29 Mar 2017 14:06
Last Modified: 29 Mar 2017 14:06
Item ID: 12944
Subjects: General Issues > Scientific Metaphysics
Specific Sciences > Biology
General Issues > Causation
Specific Sciences > Cognitive Science
Specific Sciences > Earth Sciences
General Issues > Explanation
Specific Sciences > Mathematics
General Issues > Models and Idealization
Specific Sciences > Physics
Date: 2017
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/12944

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