High-Level Explanation and the Interventionist’s ‘Variables Problem’

British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 67 (2):553-577 (2016)
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Abstract

The interventionist account of causal explanation, in the version presented by Jim Woodward, has been recently claimed capable of buttressing the widely felt—though poorly understood—hunch that high-level, relatively abstract explanations, of the sort provided by sciences like biology, psychology and economics, are in some cases explanatorily optimal. It is the aim of this paper to show that this is mistaken. Due to a lack of effective constraints on the causal variables at the heart of the interventionist causal-explanatory scheme, as presently formulated it is either unable to prefer high-level explanations to low, or systematically overshoots, recommending explanations at so high of a level as to be virtually vacuous

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Author's Profile

Laura Franklin-Hall
New York University

References found in this work

New Work for a Theory of Universals.David K. Lewis - 1983 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 61 (4):343-377.
Mind, Language and Reality: Philosophical Papers.Hilary Putnam - 1975 - Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.

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