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Causality and Explanation - Wesley C. Salmon

Causality and Explanation

Paperback

Published: 1st October 1997
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For over two decades Wesley Salmon has helped to shape the course of debate in philosophy of science. He is a major contributor to the philosophical discussion of problems associated with causality and the author of two influential books on scientific explanation. This long-awaited volume collects twenty- six of Salmon's essays, including seven that have never before been published and others difficult to find. Part I comprises five introductory essays that presuppose no formal training in philosophy of science and form a background for subsequent essays. Parts II and III contain Salmon's seminal work on scientific explanation and causality. Part IV offers survey articles that feature advanced material but remain accessible to those outside philosophy of science. Essays in Part V address specific issues in particular scientific disciplines, namely, archaeology and anthropology, astrophysics and cosmology, and physics.
Clear, compelling, and essential, this volume offers a superb introduction to philosophy of science for nonspecialists and belongs on the bookshelf of all who carry out work in this exciting field. Wesley Salmon is renowned for his seminal contributions to the philosophy of science. He has powerfully and permanently shaped discussion of such issues as lawlike and probabilistic explanation and the interrelation of explanatory notions to causal notions. This unique volume brings together twenty-six of his essays on subjects related to causality and explanation, written over the period 1971-1995. Six of the essays have never been published before and many others have only appeared in obscure venues. The volume includes a section of accessible introductory pieces, as well as more advanced and technical pieces, and will make essential work in the philosophy of science readily available to both scholars and students.

"Invariably stimulating and frequently brilliant, [the essays] develop a powerful realist conception of scientific explanation--in which probabilistic and causal relations play starring roles--as well as a distinctive "process-based" account of causality. Salmon's skillful elaboration of these and other, closely-related themes makes the volume essential reading for philosophers of science interested in explanation, causation, and their interrelationships."--Philosophy of Science "A rich collection of interesting papers. Since it holds a number of introductory pieces along with advanced essays and review articles, the volume will be accessible to a broad audience and will work well in philosophy of science courses. Useful to all those interested in the topic, from students to professionals, this overdue collection of papers by a major figure in the field will be an essential addition to the collections of all philosophers of science."--Lawrence Sklar, University of Michigan "...Salmon has been exploring the nature of scientific understanding for his long professional life, and in these wise, beautifully written essays he advances the explanation of scientific explanation yet a little more....A very illuminating work, highly recommended."--Choice "Invariably stimulating and frequently brilliant, [the essays] develop a powerful realist conception of scientific explanation--in which probabilistic and causal relations play starring roles--as well as a distinctive "process-based" account of causality. Salmon's skillful elaboration of these and other, closely-related themes makes the volume essential reading for philosophers of science interested in explanation, causation, and their interrelationships."--Philosophy of Science "A rich collection of interesting papers. Since it holds a number of introductory pieces along with advanced essays and review articles, the volume will be accessible to a broad audience and will work well in philosophy of science courses. Useful to all those interested in the topic, from students to professionals, this overdue collection of papers by a major figure in the field will be an essential addition to the collections of all philosophers of science."--Lawrence Sklar, University of Michigan "...Salmon has been exploring the nature of scientific understanding for his long professional life, and in these wise, beautifully written essays he advances the explanation of scientific explanation yet a little more....A very illuminating work, highly recommended."--Choice

Introduction Introductory Essays 1: A New Look at Causality 2: Determinism and Indeterminism in Modern Science 3: Comets, Pollen, and Dreams: Some Reflections on Scientific Explanation 4: Scientific Explanation: Causation and Unification 5: The Importance of Scientific Understanding Scientific Explanation 6: A Third Dogma of Empiricism 7: Causal and Theoretical Explanation 8: Why Ask "Why?"? An Inquiry Concerning Scientific Explanation 9: Deductivism Visited and Revisited 10: Explanatory Asymmetry 11: Van Frassen On Explanation Causality 12: An "At-At" Theory of Causal Influence 13: Causal Propensities: Statistical Causality vs Aleatory Causality 14: Probabilistic Causality 15: Intuitions: Good and Not-So-Good 16: Causality without Counterfactuals 17: Indeterminacy, Indeterminism, and Quantum Mechanics Concise Overviews 18: Causality: Production and Propagation 19: Scientific Explanation: How We Got From There to Here 20: Scientific Explanation: Three Basic Conceptions Applications to Other Disciplines 21: Alternative Models of Scientific Explanation 22: Causality in Archaeological Explanation 23: Explanation in Archaeology: An Update 24: Formation of Why-Questions 25: Quasars, Causality and Geometry 26: Dreams of a Famous Physicist: An Apology for Philosophy of Science References Index

ISBN: 9780195108644
ISBN-10: 0195108647
Audience: Professional
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 448
Published: 1st October 1997
Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 23.29 x 15.47  x 2.49
Weight (kg): 0.62