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Thalos, Mariam. Explanation is a genus: An essay on the varieties of scientific explanation
2002, Synthese 130(3): 317-354.
Added by: Nick Novelli

Abstract: I shall endeavor to show that every physical theory since Newton explainswithout drawing attention to causes-that, in other words, physical theories as physical theories aspire to explain under an ideal quite distinctfrom that of causal explanation. If I am right, then even if sometimes theexplanations achieved by a physical theory are not in violation ofthe standard of causal explanation, this is purely an accident. For physicaltheories, as I will show, do not, as such, aim at accommodating the goals oraspirations of causal explanation. This will serve as the founding insightfor a new theory of explanation, which will itself serve as the cornerstoneof a new theory of scientific method.

Comment: A striking argument that science does not employ causal explanations. Since this is a commonly-held assumption, this would be interesting to present in the context of scientific methodology, or in an exploration of causation as part of a challenge to whether the idea of causation is actually useful or necessary. Provides good historical context to support its claims. Best taught at an advanced or graduate level.

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