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ASSESSING THE EXPLANATORY POWER OF CAUSAL EXPLANATIONS

  • ERIK WEBER
  • JEROEN VAN BOUWEL
Part of the BOSTON STUDIES IN THE PHILOSOPHY OF SCIENCE book series (BSPS, volume 252)

Abstract

According to Wesley Salmon, causal explanations of singular facts must contain descriptions of the causal interactions that caused the fact to be explained, and descriptions of the causal processes that link these interactions to one another and to the explanandum event. In his view, a causal explanation is a description of a causal net in which causal interactions are the nodes and causal processes constitute the links between the nodes. The explanatory power of an explanation depends on its depth: an explanation is better than another if it cites more relevant causal interactions and causal processes. It is not a desideratum that an explanation makes the explanandum highly probable. This view is opposed by among others Nancy Cartwright, who gives the following example:

Keywords

Risk Aversion Explanatory Power Blood Group Sewage System Causal Explanation 
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.

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Copyright information

© Springer 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • ERIK WEBER
  • JEROEN VAN BOUWEL

There are no affiliations available

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