Dissecting explanatory power

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dc.contributor University of Helsinki, Department of Political and Economic Studies (2010-2017) en
dc.contributor.author Ylikoski, Petri K
dc.contributor.author Kuorikoski, Jaakko
dc.date.accessioned 2018-02-06T14:28:01Z
dc.date.available 2018-02-06T14:28:01Z
dc.date.issued 2010
dc.identifier.citation Ylikoski , P K & Kuorikoski , J 2010 , ' Dissecting explanatory power ' , Philosophical Studies : an international journal for philosophy in the analytic tradition , vol. 148 , pp. 201-219 . en
dc.identifier.issn 0031-8116
dc.identifier.other PURE: 9793327
dc.identifier.other PURE UUID: 2c080eaf-8016-4561-bb83-f590d4474c94
dc.identifier.other WOS: 000275462300003
dc.identifier.other Scopus: 77949282499
dc.identifier.other ORCID: /0000-0002-5237-9695/work/29670791
dc.identifier.other ORCID: /0000-0001-5676-717X/work/88204037
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10138/232100
dc.description.abstract Comparisons of rival explanations or theories often involve vague appeals to explanatory power. In this paper, we dissect this metaphor by distinguishing between different dimensions of the goodness of an explanation: non-sensitivity, cognitive salience, precision, factual accuracy and degree of integration. These dimensions are partially independent and often come into conflict. Our main contribution is to go beyond simple stipulation or description by explicating why these factors are taken to be explanatory virtues. We accomplish this by using the contrastive-counterfactual approach to explanation and the view of understanding as an inferential ability. By combining these perspectives, we show how the explanatory power of an explanation in a given dimension can be assessed by showing the range of answers it provides to what-if-things-had-been-different questions and the theoretical and pragmatic importance of these questions. Our account also explains intuitions linking explanation to unification or to exhibition of a mechanism. en
dc.language.iso eng
dc.relation.ispartof Philosophical Studies : an international journal for philosophy in the analytic tradition
dc.rights en
dc.subject 611 Philosophy en
dc.subject explanation en
dc.subject understanding en
dc.subject explanatory power en
dc.subject inference to the best explanation en
dc.title Dissecting explanatory power en
dc.type Article
dc.description.version Peer reviewed
dc.type.uri info:eu-repo/semantics/other
dc.type.uri info:eu-repo/semantics/acceptedVersion
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