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    Degree of explanation

    Northcott, Robert (2012) Degree of explanation. Synthese , ISSN 0039-7857.

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    Partial explanations are everywhere. That is, explanations citing causes that explain some but not all of an effect are ubiquitous across science, and these in turn rely on the notion of degree of explanation. I argue that current accounts are seriously deficient. In particular, they do not incorporate adequately the way in which a cause’s explanatory importance varies with choice of explanandum. Using influential recent contrastive theories, I develop quantitative definitions that remedy this lacuna, and relate it to existing measures of degree of causation. Among other things, this reveals the precise role here of chance, as well as bearing on the relation between causal explanation and causation itself.


    Item Type: Article
    Additional Information: The original publication is available at
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): Causation, Explanation, Explanandum-dependence, Degree of explanation, Causal strength, Probability
    School: School of Social Sciences, History and Philosophy > Philosophy
    Depositing User: Robert Northcott
    Date Deposited: 31 Jul 2012 11:46
    Last Modified: 12 Jun 2021 05:15


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