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General Theory of Topological Explanations and Explanatory Asymmetry

Kostic, Daniel (2019) General Theory of Topological Explanations and Explanatory Asymmetry. [Preprint]

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FInal 2nd revision 16 September 2019 Kostic-Topological asymmetries.docx - Accepted Version

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Abstract

In this paper, I present a general theory of topological explanations, and illustrate its fruitfulness by showing how it accounts for explanatory asymmetry. My argument is developed in three steps. In the first step, I show what it is for some topological property A to explain some physical or dynamical property B. Based on that, I derive three key criteria of successful topological explanations: a criterion concerning the facticity of topological explanations, i.e. what makes it true of a particular system; a criterion for describing counterfactual dependencies in two explanatory modes, i.e. the vertical and the horizontal; and, finally, a third perspectival one that tells us when to use the vertical and when to use the horizontal mode. In the second step, I show how this general theory of topological explanations accounts for explanatory asymmetry in both the vertical and horizontal explanatory modes. Finally, in the third step, I argue that this theory is universally applicable across biological sciences, which helps to unify essential concepts of biological networks.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Kostic, Danieldaniel.kostic@gmail.com0000-0001-5729-1476
Additional Information: Accepted manuscript in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Keywords: Theory of explanation, Explanatory asymmetries, Explanatory perspectivism, Counterfactual dependencies
Subjects: General Issues > Causation
Specific Sciences > Neuroscience > Cognitive Neuroscience
General Issues > Explanation
Specific Sciences > Neuroscience > Systems Neuroscience
Depositing User: Dr. Daniel Kostic
Date Deposited: 06 Oct 2019 00:27
Last Modified: 06 Oct 2019 00:27
Item ID: 16498
DOI or Unique Handle: https://doi.org/10.1098/rstb.2019.0321
Subjects: General Issues > Causation
Specific Sciences > Neuroscience > Cognitive Neuroscience
General Issues > Explanation
Specific Sciences > Neuroscience > Systems Neuroscience
Date: 2019
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/16498

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