Synthese 198 (10):9803-9820 (2021)

Lauren N. Ross
University of California, Irvine
Recent philosophical work has explored the distinction between causal and non-causal forms of explanation. In this literature, topological explanation is viewed as a clear example of the non-causal variety–it is claimed that topology lacks temporal information, which is necessary for causal structure. This paper explores the distinction between topological and causal forms of explanation and argues that this distinction is not as clear cut as the literature suggests. One reason for this is that some explanations involve both topological and causal information. In these “borderline” cases scientists explain some outcome by appealing to the causal topology of the system of interest. These cases help clarify a type of topological explanation that is genuinely causal, but that differs from standard topological and interventionist accounts of explanation.
Keywords Scientific explanation  Causal explanation  Non-causal explanation  Mathematical explanation
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DOI 10.1007/s11229-020-02685-1
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References found in this work BETA

Mathematics and Scientific Representation.Christopher Pincock - 2012 - Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press USA.
Explanatory Abstractions.Lina Jansson & Juha Saatsi - 2019 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 70 (3):817–844.

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