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Local Explanation in Historiography of Science

Virmajoki, Veli (2020) Local Explanation in Historiography of Science. [Preprint]


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In this paper, I offer an explication of the notion of local explanation. In the literature, local explanations are considered as metaphysically and methodologically satisfactory: local explanations reveal the contingency of science and provide a methodologically sound historiography of science. However, the lack of explication of the notion of local explanation makes these claims difficult to assess. The explication provided in this paper connects the degree of locality of an explanans to the degree of contingency of the explanandum. Moreover, the explication is shown to be compatible with the methodological need for a general consideration in the historiography of science. In this way, the explication (i) satisfies the need to explicate an important notion, (ii) connects local explanations and contingency, and (iii) enables us to see how local explanations and general considerations can be connected. However, the explication also sheds critical light on many claims and expectations that are associated with local explanations and their satisfactoriness.

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Item Type: Preprint
Keywords: Localism; Local Explanation; Contingency; Generalizations; History and Philosophy of Science; Philosophy of Historiography
Subjects: General Issues > Explanation
Depositing User: Dr. Veli Virmajoki
Date Deposited: 19 Sep 2020 11:17
Last Modified: 19 Sep 2020 11:17
Item ID: 18118
Subjects: General Issues > Explanation
Date: 2020

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