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Bokulich, Alisa. Distinguishing Explanatory from Nonexplanatory Fictions
2012, Philosophy of Science 79(5): 725-737.
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Added by: Jamie Collin

Abstract: There is a growing recognition that fictions have a number of legitimate functions in science, even when it comes to scientific explanation. However, the question then arises, what distinguishes an explanatory fiction from a nonexplanatory one? Here I examine two cases – one in which there is a consensus in the scientific community that the fiction is explanatory and another in which the fiction is not explanatory. I shall show how my account of “model explanations” is able to explain this asymmetry, and argue that realism – of a more subtle form – does have a role in distinguishing explanatory from nonexplanatory fictions.

Comment: This would be useful in a course on the philosophy of science or the philosophy of fiction. It is particularly useful for teaching, as it is cutting edge in the philosophy of science but not particularly technical.

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Vredenburg, Kate. A Unificationist Defense of Revealed Preferences
2019, Economics & Philosophy 36.1, 149-169
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Added by: Björn Freter

Abstract: Revealed preference approaches to modelling agents’ choices face two seemingly devastating explanatory objections. The no self-explanation objection imputes a problematic explanatory circularity to revealed preference approaches, while the causal explanation objection argues that, all things equal, a scientific theory should provide causal explanations, but revealed preference approaches decidedly do not. Both objections assume a view of explanation, the constraint-based view, that the revealed preference theorist ought to reject. Instead, the revealed preference theorist should adopt a unificationist account of explanation, allowing her to escape the two explanatory problems discussed in this paper.

Comment: [This is a stub entry. Please add your comments to help us expand it]

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