Philosophy of Science 77 (1):59-72 (2010)
AbstractA common argument against explanatory reductionism is that higher‐level explanations are sometimes or always preferable because they are more general than reductive explanations. Here I challenge two basic assumptions that are needed for that argument to succeed. It cannot be assumed that higher‐level explanations are more general than their lower‐level alternatives or that higher‐level explanations are general in the right way to be explanatory. I suggest a novel form of pluralism regarding levels of explanation, according to which explanations at different levels are preferable in different circumstances because they offer different types of generality, which are appropriate in different circumstances of explanation.
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References found in this work
Making Things Happen: A Theory of Causal Explanation.James Woodward - 2003 - Oxford University Press.
The Nature of Selection: Evolutionary Theory in Philosophical Focus.Elliott Sober - 1984 - University of Chicago Press.
The Disorder of Things: Metaphysical Foundations of the Disunity of Science.John Dupré - 1993 - Harvard University Press.
The Scientific Image.William Demopoulos & Bas C. van Fraassen - 1982 - Philosophical Review 91 (4):603.
Citations of this work
Explanatory Abstractions.Lina Jansson & Juha Saatsi - 2019 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 70 (3):817–844.
High-Level Explanation and the Interventionist’s ‘Variables Problem’.L. R. Franklin-Hall - 2016 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 67 (2):553-577.
The Limitations of Hierarchical Organization.Angela Potochnik & Brian McGill - 2012 - Philosophy of Science 79 (1):120-140.
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