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Published June 1995 | Published
Journal Article Open

Discussion: Salmon on Explanatory Relevance


One of the motivations for Salmon's (1984) causal theory of explanation was the explanatory irrelevance exhibited by many arguments conforming to Hempel's covering-law models of explanation. However, the nexus of causal processes and interactions characterized by Salmon is not rich enough to supply the necessary conception of explanatory relevance. Salmon's (1994) revised theory, which is briefly criticized on independent grounds, fares no better. There is some possibility that the two-tiered structure of explanation described by Salmon (1984) may be pressed into service, but more work would have to be done. Ironically, Salmon's difficulties are similar to those suffered by his seventeenth-century predecessors.

Additional Information

© 1995 by the Philosophy of Science Association. Published by The University of Chicago Press. Received July 1994; revised September 1994. I am grateful to Wes Salmon and Jim Woodward for their many discussions with me on this topic.

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