How could models possibly provide how-possibly explanations?

Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 73:1-12 (2019)
  Copy   BIBTEX


One puzzle concerning highly idealized models is whether they explain. Some suggest they provide so-called ‘how-possibly explanations’. However, this raises an important question about the nature of how-possibly explanations, namely what distinguishes them from ‘normal’, or how-actually, explanations? I provide an account of how-possibly explanations that clarifies their nature in the context of solving the puzzle of model-based explanation. I argue that the modal notions of actuality and possibility provide the relevant dividing lines between how-possibly and how-actually explanations. Whereas how-possibly explanations establish claims of possible explanations, how-actually explanations establish claims of actual ones. Models, in turn, simply provide evidence for these claims.



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 92,197

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

How-possibly explanations in biology.David B. Resnik - 1991 - Acta Biotheoretica 39 (2):141-149.
Genuineness resolved: a reply to Reiss' purported paradox.Till Grüne-Yanoff - 2013 - Journal of Economic Methodology 20 (3):255 - 261.
When mechanistic models explain.Carl F. Craver - 2006 - Synthese 153 (3):355-376.
How-possibly explanations as genuine explanations and helpful heuristics: A comment on Forber.Thomas A. C. Reydon - 2012 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 43 (1):302-310.
Understanding (With) Toy Models.Alexander Reutlinger, Dominik Hangleiter & Stephan Hartmann - 2016 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science:axx005.
Leibniz and the ontological argument.Barry Loewer - 1978 - Philosophical Studies 34 (1):105 - 109.
Understanding with theoretical models.Petri Ylikoski & N. Emrah Aydinonat - 2014 - Journal of Economic Methodology 21 (1):19-36.
Appraising Models Nonrepresentationally.Till Grüne-Yanoff - 2013 - Philosophy of Science 80 (5):850-861.


Added to PP

149 (#127,212)

6 months
24 (#118,043)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Philippe Verreault-Julien
Eindhoven University of Technology

Citations of this work

Model Pluralism.Walter Veit - 2019 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 50 (2):91-114.
Do ML models represent their targets?Emily Sullivan - forthcoming - Philosophy of Science.

View all 29 citations / Add more citations