Chapter

Scientific Explanation

Wesley C. Salmon

in Causality and Explanation

Published in print May 1998 | ISBN: 9780195108644
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199833627 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0195108647.003.0005
Scientific Explanation

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The unification tradition embraces the idea that scientific explanation consists in showing that apparently disparate phenomena can be seen to be fundamentally similar. Michael Friedman and Philip Kitcher, who accept different versions of this tradition, are contemporary proponents of the view. The causal tradition, advanced by Michael Scriven, and embraced in a modified version by the author, says – roughly and briefly – that to explain an event is to identify its cause. This chapter explores the possibility of rapprochement between these two dominant traditions regarding scientific explanation that have generally been seen as mutually incompatible. It shows how progress in the development of both approaches has eradicated many – perhaps all – of the grounds for conflict between them.

Keywords: causation; explanation; unification

Chapter.  5847 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Science

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