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Metascience

, Volume 27, Issue 1, pp 3–9 | Cite as

A pluralist account of non-causal explanation in science and mathematics

Marc Lange: Because without cause: Non-causal explanation in science and mathematics. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017, xxii+489pp, $74.00 HB
  • Juha Saatsi
Symposium

This is a tremendous book. It brings together and synthesises Marc Lange’s highly original work over the past decade on non-causal explanation in science and mathematics. Like much of Lange’s oeuvre, it represents naturalistic metaphysics of science that draws inspiration and support from a wealth of detailed, carefully researched examples from the sciences, going back to the early nineteenth century and beyond. Lange’s rich set of examples features many intricate explanations that are bona fide scientific, but do not require any particular technical expertise in e.g. modern physics. The way in which these examples are coupled with open-minded—dare I say adventurous—metaphysics of modality makes for an exciting and thought-provoking read, inviting the reader to follow Lange down the rabbit hole into a world of subjunctive facts [familiar from Lange’s (2009) Laws and Lawmakers].

By contemporary publishing standards, this tome offers two-books-in-one: a book-length exploration of...

Notes

Acknowledgements

Thanks to Rob Knowles and Alex Reutlinger for helpful comments on a draft of this review.

References

  1. French, S., and Saatsi, J. (forthcoming). Symmetries and explanatory dependencies in physics. In Explanation beyond causation: philosophical perspectives on non-causal explanations, eds. A. Reutlinger and J. Saatsi. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Jansson, L., and Saatsi, J. (forthcoming). Explanatory abstractions. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science.Google Scholar
  3. Lange, M. 2009. Laws and lawmakers: science, metaphysics, and the laws of nature. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Saatsi, J. 2016. On explanations from geometry of motion. The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science. doi: 10.1093/bjps/axw007.Google Scholar
  5. Woodward, J. (forthcoming). Some varieties of non-causal explanation. In Explanation beyond causation: philosophical perspectives on non-causal explanations, eds. A. Reutlinger and J. Saatsi. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Philosophy, Religion, and History of ScienceUniversity of LeedsLeedsUK

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