Scientific Explanation

Wesley C. Salmon

in Causality and Explanation

Published in print May 1998 | ISBN: 9780195108644
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199833627 | DOI:
Scientific Explanation

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The ontic conception sees a scientific explanation as an exhibition of the ways in which what is to be explained fits into natural patterns or regularities in the world. The classic form of the epistemic conception takes scientific explanations to be arguments; and the modal conception says that a good explanation shows that what did happen had to happen. This chapter originally appeared just prior to the publication of Scientific Explanation and the Causal Structure of the World. It contains a highly condensed summary of some of the main discussions, including that of criteria of adequacy, in that book. Whereas Ch. 18 focuses on causal considerations, this chapter focuses on the concept of explanation.

Keywords: criteria of adequacy; epistemic explanation; explanation; modal explanation; ontic explanation

Chapter.  5281 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Science

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