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On Explanation as Unification and Other Models of Explanation

  • C. Mantzavinos
Chapter
Part of the SpringerBriefs in Philosophy book series (BRIEFSPHILOSOPH)

PHILIP: Listen, the invocation of causal notions has its costs. Hempel’s account of explanation was to be part of an empiricist philosophy of science and it could therefore only draw on those concepts that are acceptable to empiricists. If causal concepts are not permissible as primitives in empiricist analyses, then either they must be given reductions to empiricist concepts or they must be avoided by empiricists. Hempel’s work appears to stand in a distinguished tradition of thinking about explanation and causation, according to which causal notions are to be understood in terms of concepts that are themselves sufficient for analyzing explanations. Empiricist concerns about the evidence that is available for certain kinds of propositions are frequently translated into claims about conceptual priority. Thus, the thesis that we can only gain evidence for causal judgments by identifying lawlike regularities generates the claim that the concept of law is prior to that of cause, with...

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© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. Mantzavinos
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of History and Philosophy of ScienceUniversity of AthensAthensGreece

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