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Synthese

, Volume 191, Issue 8, pp 1741–1755 | Cite as

Explanatory fictions—for real?

  • Samuel Schindler
Article

Abstract

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.

Keywords

Explanation Fiction Model Counterfactual Intervention Woodward Bokulich 

Notes

Acknowledgments

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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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Science Studies, Department of Physics and AstronomyAarhus UniversityAarhus CDenmark

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