Advertisement

CAUSAL EXPLANATION PROVIDES KNOWLEDGE WHY

  • OLAV GJELSVIK
Part of the BOSTON STUDIES IN THE PHILOSOPHY OF SCIENCE book series (BSPS, volume 252)

Abstract

Events have causes. We often try to explain events, and we often succeed. The causal relation is a relation in the world which either holds or fails to hold independently of how its relata are described: the relation is extensional, and its relata are normally taken to be events. The explanatory relation is, however, intensional. This means that we cannot replace a term with co-referring or coextensional terms within an explanatory context without risking that we change the truth-value of the whole. 41 I shall simply say that “explains” is an intensional relation, and I do that without thinking of this as an ontological commitment, or as something that anything really hangs on.

Keywords

Good Explanation Causal Explanation Knowledge Situation Objective Explanation Causal History 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Ben-Menahem, Y. (1990). The Inference to the Best Explanation. Erkenntnis 33: 319–344.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bromberger, S. An Approach to Explanation. In R. J. Butler (ed.): Analytical Philosophy, 2nd Series. Oxford: Blackwell: 72–103.Google Scholar
  3. Elster, J. (1999). Alchemies of the Mind. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  4. Hempel, C. (1965). Aspects of Scientific Explanation. New York: The Free Press.Google Scholar
  5. Humphreys, P. (2000). Review of W. Salmon’s Causality and Explanation. Journal of Philosophy 97(9): 523–528.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Lewis, D. (1987). Causal Explanation. In his Philosophical Papers, vol. 2. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  7. Lipton, P. (1991). Inference to the Best Explanation. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  8. Salmon, W. (1984). Scientific Explanation and the Causal Structure of the World. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  9. Salmon, W. (1989). Four Decades of Scientific Explanation. In Minnesota Studies in the Philosophy of Science, Vol. XIII, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press: 3–219.Google Scholar
  10. Salmon, W. (1998). Causality and Explanation. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  11. Williamson, T. (2000). Knowledge and its Limits. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  12. Woodward, J. (2000). Explanation and Invariance in the Special Sciences. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 51: 197–254.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • OLAV GJELSVIK

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations