PhilSci Archive

Simplicity, One-Shot Hypotheses & Paleobiological Explanation

Currie, Adrian (2019) Simplicity, One-Shot Hypotheses & Paleobiological Explanation. [Preprint]

[img]
Preview
Text
Simplicity, One-Shot Hypotheses and Paleobiological Explanation.pdf

Download (265kB) | Preview

Abstract

Paleobiologists (and other historical scientists) often provide simple narratives to explain complex, contingent episodes. These narratives are sometimes ‘one-shot hypotheses’ which are treated as being mutually exclusive with other possible explanations of the target episode, and are thus extended to accommodate as much about the episode as possible. I argue that a provisional preference for such hypotheses provides two kinds of productive scaffolding. First, they generate hypothetical difference-makers’: one-shot hypotheses highlight and isolate empirically tractable dependencies between variables. Second, investigations of hypothetical
difference-makers provision explanatory resources, the ‘raw materials’ for constructing more complex—and likely more adequate—explanations. Provisional preferences for simple, one-shot hypotheses in historical science, then, is defeasibly justified on indirect—strategic—grounds. My
argument is made in reference to recent developments regarding the K-Pg extinction.


Export/Citation: EndNote | BibTeX | Dublin Core | ASCII/Text Citation (Chicago) | HTML Citation | OpenURL
Social Networking:
Share |

Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Currie, Adriancurrieadrian@gmail.com
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Biology
Specific Sciences > Earth Sciences
General Issues > Explanation
General Issues > Values In Science
Depositing User: Dr Adrian Currie
Date Deposited: 05 Mar 2019 04:32
Last Modified: 05 Mar 2019 04:32
Item ID: 15789
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Biology
Specific Sciences > Earth Sciences
General Issues > Explanation
General Issues > Values In Science
Date: 2019
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/15789

Monthly Views for the past 3 years

Monthly Downloads for the past 3 years

Plum Analytics

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item