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Mechanisms, models and laws in understanding supernovae

Illari, Phyllis (2018) Mechanisms, models and laws in understanding supernovae. [Preprint]

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Abstract

There has been a burst of work in the last couple of decades on mechanistic explanation, as an alternative to the traditional covering-law model of scientific explanation. That work makes some interesting claims about mechanistic explanations rendering phenomena ‘intelligible’, but does not develop this idea in great depth. There has also been a growth of interest in giving an account of scientific understanding, as a complement to an account of explanation, specifically addressing a three-place relationship between explanation, world, and the scientific community. The aim of this paper is to use the contextual theory of scientific understanding to build an account of understanding phenomena using mechanistic explanations. This account will be developed and illustrated by examining the mechanisms of supernovae, which will allow synthesis of treatment of the life sciences and social sciences on the one hand, where many accounts of mechanisms were originally developed, and treatment of physics on the other hand, where the contextual theory drew its original inspiration.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Illari, Phyllis0000-0002-4211-3332
Keywords: Understanding; mechanisms; mechanistic explanation; the contextual theory of scientific understanding; intelligibility; supernovae; SN1987A
Subjects: General Issues > Causation
General Issues > Explanation
General Issues > Philosophers of Science
Depositing User: Dr Phyllis Illari
Date Deposited: 28 Sep 2018 17:26
Last Modified: 28 Sep 2018 17:26
Item ID: 15070
Subjects: General Issues > Causation
General Issues > Explanation
General Issues > Philosophers of Science
Date: September 2018
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/15070

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