Explanatory integration

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European Journal for Philosophy of Science, ISSN: 1879-4920, Vol: 8, Issue: 3, Page: 347-365

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Wayne, Andrew
Springer Nature America, Inc; Springer
Arts and Humanities
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article description
The goal of this paper is to show how scientific explanation functions in the context of idealized models. It argues that the aspect of explanation most urgently requiring investigation is the nature of the connection between global theories and explanatory local models. This aspect is neglected in traditional accounts of explanation (Hempel 1965; Kitcher 1989). The paper examines causal, minimal model, and structural accounts of model-based explanation (Woodward 2003; Batterman and Rice 2014; Bokulich 2011). It argues that they too fail to offer an account of the connection with global theory that can justify the explanatory power of an idealized local model, and consequently these accounts are unable effectively to distinguish explanatory from non-explanatory models. On the account proposed here, scientific explanation requires theoretical integration between the local model described in the explanation and a global theory with independent explanatory power.