Authors
Emily Sullivan
Saginaw Valley State University
Abstract
Recently, many have argued that there are certain kinds of abstract mathematical explanations that are noncausal. In particular, the irrelevancy approach suggests that abstracting away irrelevant causal details can leave us with a noncausal explanation. In this paper, I argue that the common example of Renormalization Group explanations of universality used to motivate the irrelevancy approach deserves more critical attention. I argue that the reasons given by those who hold up RG as noncausal do not stand up to critical scrutiny. As a result, the irrelevancy approach and the line between casual and noncausal explanation deserves more scrutiny.
Keywords causal explanation  non-causal explanation  renormalization group  abstraction
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DOI 10.1007/s13194-019-0260-x
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References found in this work BETA

Inference to the Best Explanation.Peter Lipton - 1991 - London and New York: Routledge.
Time and Chance.David Z. Albert - 2000 - Harvard University Press.
The Indispensability of Mathematics.Mark Colyvan - 2001 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.

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Citations of this work BETA

Model Explanation Versus Model-Induced Explanation.Insa Lawler & Emily Sullivan - 2021 - Foundations of Science 26 (4):1049-1074.

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