Reply to my Critics: On explanations by constraint
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My sincere thanks to Professors Saatsi, Skow, and Andersen for the care they have lavished on my book. I lack the space to reply to all of their questions, suggestions, and criticisms, but I will continue to think about them all.
The aim of Because Without Causeis to identify what makes various explanations in mathematics and science succeed as explanations. Skow professes to find this aim “a little obscure.” I am unsure whether to take him at his word, since my aim is exactly the same as the aim of many, perhaps all, other philosophical writers on explanation since 1948. Regarding each explanation from science or math that I examine, I aim to specify which of its features give it the power to explain. I aim to use similarities and differences among these features to group explanations into “natural kinds,” where the members of a given kind all derive their explanatory power in fundamentally the same way—and in a different way from the members of any other kind. For this purpose, it...
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