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  1. The Metaphysics of Science and Aim-Oriented Empiricism: A Revolution for Science and Philosophy.Nicholas Maxwell - 2019 - Cham, Switzerland: Springer Nature.
    This book gives an account of work that I have done over a period of decades that sets out to solve two fundamental problems of philosophy: the mind-body problem and the problem of induction. Remarkably, these revolutionary contributions to philosophy turn out to have dramatic implications for a wide range of issues outside philosophy itself, most notably for the capacity of humanity to resolve current grave global problems and make progress towards a better, wiser world. A key element of the (...)
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  • Karl Popper, Science and Enlightenment.Nicholas Maxwell - 2017 - London: UCL Press.
    Karl Popper is famous for having proposed that science advances by a process of conjecture and refutation. He is also famous for defending the open society against what he saw as its arch enemies – Plato and Marx. Popper’s contributions to thought are of profound importance, but they are not the last word on the subject. They need to be improved. My concern in this book is to spell out what is of greatest importance in Popper’s work, what its failings (...)
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  • Epistemic Justification in the Context of Pursuit: A Coherentist Approach.Dunja Šešelja & Christian Straßer - 2014 - Synthese 191 (13):3111-3141.
    The aim of this paper is to offer an account of epistemic justification suitable for the context of theory pursuit, that is, for the context in which new scientific ideas, possibly incompatible with the already established theories, emerge and are pursued by scientists. We will frame our account paradigmatically on the basis of one of the influential systems of epistemic justification: Laurence Bonjour’s coherence theory of justification. The idea underlying our approach is to develop a set of criteria which indicate (...)
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  • Improve Popper and Procure a Perfect Simulacrum of Verification Indistinguishable From the Real Thing.Nicholas Maxwell - 2021 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science.
    According to Karl Popper, science cannot verify its theories empirically, but it can falsify them, and that suffices to account for scientific progress. For Popper, a law or theory remains a pure conjecture, probability equal to zero, however massively corroborated empirically it may be. But it does just seem to be the case that science does verify empirically laws and theories. We trust our lives to such verifications when we fly in aeroplanes, cross bridges and take modern medicines. We can (...)
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  • Selection and Explanation.Alexander Bird - 2006 - In Rethinking Explanation. Springer. pp. 131--136.
    Selection explanations explain some non-accidental generalizations in virtue of a selection process. Such explanations are not particulaizable - they do not transfer as explanations of the instances of such generalizations. This is unlike many explanations in the physical sciences, where the explanation of the general fact also provides an explanation of its instances (i.e. standard D-N explanations). Are selection explanations (e.g. in biology) therefore a different kind of explanation? I argue that to understand this issue, we need to see that (...)
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  • Unification, the Answer to Resemblance Questions.Erik Weber & Merel Lefevere - 2017 - Synthese 194 (9):3501-3521.
    In the current literature on scientific explanation unification became unfashionable in favour of causal approaches. We want to bring unification back into the picture. In this paper we demonstrate that resemblance questions do occur in scientific practice and that they cannot be properly answered without unification. Our examples show that resemblance questions about particular facts demand what we call causal network unification, while resemblance questions about regularities require what we call mechanism unification. We clarify how these types of unification relate (...)
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  • Against Harmony: Infinite Idealizations and Causal Explanation.Iulian D. Toader - 2015 - In Romanian Studies in Philosophy of Science. Boston Studies in the Philosophy and History of Science, vol. 313,. pp. 291-301.
    This paper argues against the view that the standard explanation of phase transitions in statistical mechanics may be considered a causal explanation, a distortion that can nevertheless successfully represent causal relations.
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  • Explanations in Software Engineering: The Pragmatic Point of View. [REVIEW]Jan De Winter - 2010 - Minds and Machines 20 (2):277-289.
    This article reveals that explanatory practice in software engineering is in accordance with pragmatic explanatory pluralism, which states that explanations should at least partially be evaluated by their practical use. More specifically, I offer a defense of the idea that several explanation-types are legitimate in software engineering, and that the appropriateness of an explanation-type depends on (a) the engineer’s interests, and (b) the format of the explanation-seeking question he asks, with this format depending on his interests. This idea is defended (...)
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  • Unification and Explanation.Erik Weber & Maarten Van Dyck - 2002 - Synthese 131 (1):145 - 154.
    In this article we criticize two recent articles that examinethe relation between explanation and unification. Halonen and Hintikka (1999), on the one hand,claim that no unification is explanation. Schurz (1999), on the other hand, claims that all explanationis unification. We give counterexamples to both claims. We propose a pluralistic approach to the problem:explanation sometimes consists in unification, but in other cases different kinds of explanation(e.g., causal explanation) are required; and none of these kinds is more fundamental.
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  • Scientific Explanation and Understanding: Unificationism Reconsidered.Sorin Bangu - 2017 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 7 (1):103-126.
    The articulation of an overarching account of scientific explanation has long been a central preoccupation for the philosophers of science. Although a while ago the literature was dominated by two approaches—a causal account and a unificationist account—today the consensus seems to be that the causal account has won. In this paper, I challenge this consensus and attempt to revive unificationism. More specifically, I aim to accomplish three goals. First, I add new criticisms to the standard anti-unificationist arguments, in order to (...)
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  • Rethinking Unification : Unification as an Explanatory Value in Scientific Practice.Merel Lefevere - 2018 - Dissertation, University of Ghent
    This dissertation starts with a concise overview of what philosophers of science have written about unification and its role in scientific explanation during the last 50 years to provide the reader with some background knowledge. In order to bring unification back into the picture, I have followed two strategies, resulting respectively in Parts I and II of this dissertation. In Part I the idea of unification is used to refine and enrich the dominant causalmechanist and causal-interventionist accounts of scientific explanation. (...)
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  • Explanation and Understanding Through Scientific Models.Richard David-Rus - unknown
  • Contextualism, Explanation and the Social Sciences.Harold Kincaid - 2004 - Philosophical Explorations 7 (3):201 – 218.
    Debates about explanation in the social sciences often proceed without any clear idea what an 'account' of explanation should do. In this paper I take a stance - what I will call contextualism - that denies there are purely formal and conceptual constraints on explanation and takes standards of explanation to be substantive empirical claims, paradigmatically claims about causation. I then use this standpoint to argue for position on issues in the philosophy of social science concerning reduction, idealized models, social (...)
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  • Unification and mathematical explanation.Robert Knowles - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 178 (12):3923-3943.
    This paper provides a sorely-needed evaluation of the view that mathematical explanations in science explain by unifying. Illustrating with some novel examples, I argue that the view is misguided. For believers in mathematical explanations in science, my discussion rules out one way of spelling out how they work, bringing us one step closer to the right way. For non-believers, it contributes to a divide-and-conquer strategy for showing that there are no such explanations in science. My discussion also undermines the appeal (...)
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  • Causation, Unification, and the Adequacy of Explanations of Facts.Jeroen van Bouwel - 2009 - Theoria: Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia 24 (3):301-320.
    Pluralism with respect to the structure of explanations of facts is not uncommon. Wesley Salmon, for instance, distinguished two types of explanation: causal explanations (which provide insight in the causes of the fact we want to explain) and unification explanations (which fit the explanandum into a unified world view). The pluralism which Salmon and others have defended is compatible with several positions about the exact relation between these two types of explanations. We distinguish four such positions, and argue in favour (...)
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  • Forms of Causal Explanation.Erik Weber, Jeroen Van Bouwel & Robrecht Vanderbeeken - 2005 - Foundations of Science 10 (4):437-454.
    In the literature on scientific explanation two types of pluralism are very common. The first concerns the distinction between explanations of singular facts and explanations of laws: there is a consensus that they have a different structure. The second concerns the distinction between causal explanations and uni.cation explanations: most people agree that both are useful and that their structure is different. In this article we argue for pluralism within the area of causal explanations: we claim that the structure of a (...)
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  • Abstract Argumentation and Explanation Applied to Scientific Debates.Dunja Šešelja & Christian Straßer - 2013 - Synthese 190 (12):2195-2217.
    argumentation has been shown to be a powerful tool within many fields such as artificial intelligence, logic and legal reasoning. In this paper we enhance Dung’s well-known abstract argumentation framework with explanatory capabilities. We show that an explanatory argumentation framework (EAF) obtained in this way is a useful tool for the modeling of scientific debates. On the one hand, EAFs allow for the representation of explanatory and justificatory arguments constituting rivaling scientific views. On the other hand, different procedures for selecting (...)
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