Toy models, dispositions, and the power to explain

Synthese 201 (5):1-17 (2023)
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Abstract

Two recent contributions have discussed, and disagreed, over whether so-called toy models that attempt to represent dispositions have the power to explain. In this paper, I argue that neither of these positions is completely correct. Toy models may accurately represent, satisfy the veridicality condition, yet fail to provide how-actually explanations. This is because some dispositions remain unmanifested. Instead, the models provide how-possibly explanations; they _possibly_ explain.

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Philippe Verreault-Julien
Eindhoven University of Technology

References found in this work

Depth: An Account of Scientific Explanation.Michael Strevens - 2008 - Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.
Nature's capacities and their measurement.Nancy Cartwright - 1989 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Nature's Metaphysics: Laws and Properties.Alexander Bird - 2007 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Galilean Idealization.Ernan McMullin - 1985 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 16 (3):247.
Dispositions and conditionals.C. B. Martin - 1994 - Philosophical Quarterly 44 (174):1-8.

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