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Explanation and deduction: a defence of deductive chauvinism
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Philosophy.
2001 (English)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

In this essay I defend the notion of deductive explanation mainly against two types of putative counterexamples: those found in genuinely indeterministic systems and those found in complex dynamic systems. Using Railton's notions of explanatory information and ideal explanatory text, deductivism is defended in an indeterministic setting. Furthermore, an argument against non-deductivism that hinges on peculiarities of probabilistic causality is presented. The use of the notion of an ideal explanatory text gives rise to problems in accounting for explanations in complex dynamic systems, regardless of whether they are deterministic or not. These problems are considered in the essay and a solution is suggested. This solution forces the deductivist to abandon the requirement that an explanation consists of a deductive argument, but it is argued that the core of deductivism is saved in so far as we, for full explanations, can still adhere to the fundamental requirement:

If A explains B, then A is inconsistent with anything inconsistent with B.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Almqvist & Wiksell International , 2001. , 165 p.
Stockholm studies in philosophy, ISSN 0491-0877 ; 21
Keyword [en]
Deductive explanation, Statistical explanation, Chances, Propensities, Probabilities, Sine qua non, Probabilistic causality, Indeterminism, Ideal explanatory text, Explanatory information, Explanatory sketches, Dynamic systems, Chaotic systems, Approximate solutions, Argument generating procedure. Central figures: Hempel, Coffa, Salmon, Railton, Humphreys, Kitcher, Poincaré, Suppes, Lorenz, Hénon.
National Category
Research subject
Theoretical Philosophy
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-72182ISBN: 9122019146OAI: diva2:489944
Public defence
2001-04-03, 10:00
Available from: 2012-02-03 Created: 2012-02-03 Last updated: 2012-10-25Bibliographically approved

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