In this article I assess Alisa Bokulich’s idea that explanatory model fictions can be genuinely explanatory. I draw attention to a tension in her account between the claim that model fictions are explanatorily autonomous, and the demand that model fictions be justified in order for them to be genuinely explanatory. I also explore the consequences that arise from Bokulich’s use of Woodward’s account of counterfactual explanation and her abandonment of Woodward’s notion of an intervention. As it stands, Bokulich’s account must be deemed unworkable.
KeywordsExplanation Fiction Model Counterfactual Intervention Woodward Bokulich
I thank the audiences at the Causality in the Sciences (CaitS) conference in Ghent, at the Annual Meeting of the British Society for the Philosophy of Science in Bristol (both in 2011), and at the Department of Philosophy at Aarhus University for their feedback. I also thank Brian Hepburn and Franz Huber for reading earlier versions and for providing helpful comments. I’m particularly indebted to an anonymous referee of this journal for detailed and challenging remarks.
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