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Explanations reconsidered

Curren, Randall R. (1987) Explanations reconsidered. Humanities Working Paper, 120. California Institute of Technology , Pasadena, CA.

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Edna Ullmann-Margalit .introduced the notion of an invisiblehand explanation (I-H explanation) to the philosophical literature in 1978, and made a distinction between "aggregate" and "functional-evolutionary" (F-E) forms of I -H explanations. The present paper produces a substantially refined analysis of the forms and functions of I-H explanations. Sections (1) and (2) introduce the ideas of I-H and aggregate I-H explanation, respectively. Section (J) argues that no one form of explanation can serve the explanatory fUnctions Ullmann-Margalit attributes to aggregate explanations, and divides those explanatory functions between genetic and "systematic-dispositional" explanations. Section (4) identifies difficulties with the idea of F-E explanation in the social realm, and shows that any I-H explanations fitting the P-E mold would constitute simply a special class of "aggregate" explanation.

Item Type:Report or Paper (Working Paper)
Additional Information:I owe thanks to Edna Ullmann-Margalit, Merrilee Salmon. Sandra Mitchell, and especially Carl G. Hempel and Joseph Camp. for their encouragement and useful comments on earlier drafts of this paper.
Group:Humanities Working Papers
Series Name:Humanities Working Paper
Issue or Number:120
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20111026-140811037
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Official Citation:Curren, Randall R. Explanations reconsidered. Pasadena, CA: California Institute of Technology, 1987. Humanities Working Paper, No. 120.
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:27460
Deposited By: Lindsay Cleary
Deposited On:26 Oct 2011 23:24
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 03:23

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