Not all models are explanatory. Some models are data summaries. Some models sketch explanations but leave crucial details unspecified or hidden behind filler terms. Some models are used to conjecture a how-possibly explanation without regard to whether it is a how-actually explanation. I use the Hodgkin and Huxley model of the action potential to illustrate these ways that models can be useful without explaining. I then use the subsequent development of the explanation of the action potential to show what is required of an adequate mechanistic model. Mechanistic models are explanatory.
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Craver, C.F. When mechanistic models explain. Synthese 153, 355–376 (2006). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11229-006-9097-x
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