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Asymmetries as a Challenge to Counterfactual Accounts of Non-Causal Explanation

Lange, Marc (2019) Asymmetries as a Challenge to Counterfactual Accounts of Non-Causal Explanation. [Preprint]

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Abstract

This paper examines some recent attempts that use counterfactuals to understand the asymmetry of non-causal scientific explanations. These attempts recognize that even when there is explanatory asymmetry, there may be symmetry in counterfactual dependence. Therefore, something more than mere counterfactual dependence is needed to account for explanatory asymmetry. Whether that further ingredient, even if applicable to causal explanation, can fit non-causal explanation is the challenge that explanatory asymmetry poses for counterfactual accounts of non-causal explanation. This paper argues that several recent accounts (Woodward 2018, Jansson and Saatsi (forthcoming), Jansson (2015), Saatsi and Pexton 2013, French and Saatsi 2018) fail to meet this challenge. The paper then sketches a more positive proposal for dealing with explanatory asymmetry in non-causal explanations.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Lange, Marcmlange@email.unc.edu
Additional Information: Published Synthese 198, pages 3893–3918 (2021)
Keywords: explanation, laws, Woodward, asymmetry, laws, mathematics, relativity, topology, causation
Subjects: General Issues > Causation
General Issues > Explanation
Specific Sciences > Mathematics
Specific Sciences > Physics > Relativity Theory
Depositing User: Prof. Marc Lange
Date Deposited: 30 Jan 2022 05:10
Last Modified: 30 Jan 2022 05:10
Item ID: 20168
DOI or Unique Handle: https://doi-org.libproxy.lib.unc.edu/10.1007/s11229-019-02317-3
Subjects: General Issues > Causation
General Issues > Explanation
Specific Sciences > Mathematics
Specific Sciences > Physics > Relativity Theory
Date: 3 July 2019
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/20168

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