Philosophy Lexicon of Arguments

Author Item Excerpt Meta data
Bigelow, John

Books on Amazon
Causal Explanation I 320
Explanation/Hempel/Lewis/Bigelow/Pargetter: pro: Hempel's explanations are generally correct but do not exhaust all cases.
Individual case causation/individual event/Lewis: (1986e) need not to be explained according to Hempel's style.
Probabilistic explanation/Bigelow/Pargetter: here applies: a cause does not necessarily increase the probability of the effect. If one assumes the opposite, one must assume that the explanation itself is the cause. This is because the explanation makes the result more likely.
BigelowVsProbabilistic Explanation (see above). Instead. Approach by Lewis:

Causation/Lewis/Bigelow/Pargetter: (1986e9) 5 stages:
1. Natural laws as input for a theory of counterfactual conditionals.
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I 321
2. Used contrafactual conditionals to define a relation between events, namely, counterfactual dependency.
3. Used contrafactual dependency to explain causation by two principles:
(1) Thesis: Contrafactual dependency is causation
(2) the cause of a cause is a cause.
Causes/Lewis: is transitive.
4. Lewis constructs a causal history of an event. (Tree structure, it may be that more distant causes are not connected by counterfactual dependency, i.e. another cause could have taken the place, but in fact it is the cause.)
5. Definition Causal explanation/Lewis: is everything that provides information about the causal history. This can also be partial. E.g. maternal line, paternal line. E.g. information about a temporal section of the tree: this corresponds to the explanation by Hempel.
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I 322
Causal explanation/BigelowVsLewis/Bigelow/Pargetter: our theory is similar to that of D. Lewis, but also has differences: (stock):
Lewis: used laws to explain contrafactual conditionals.
Bigelow/Pargetter: we use degrees of accessibility for both.
Lewis: needs contrafactual conditionals to explain causation
Bigelow/Pargetter: we do not. For that, we assume forces - Lewis does not.
Transitivity: the causation: Lewis pro, BigelowVs.
Causal Explanation/BigelowVsLewis/Bigelow/Pargetter: because we do not recognize any transitivity, the causal history will not be traced back to the past. Otherwise, Adam and Eve are an explanation for everything. Somewhere the causal connection has to be broken.
BigelowVsLewis/Bigelow/Pargetter: the main difference is that for Lewis information about the causal history is sufficient for a causal explanation, but for us only information about causes and thus about forces.
Appropriateness/causal explanation/pragmatic/Lewis/Bigelow/Pargetter: Thesis: The adequacy of an explanation must be decided pragmatically. Bigelow/Pargetter dito.
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I 323
Why-explanation/why/Bigelow/Pargetter: Thesis: no explanation can do entirely without a why-explanation. This in turn needs a how-explanations.

Big I
J. Bigelow, R. Pargetter
Science and Necessity Cambridge 1990

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Ed. Martin Schulz, access date 2017-04-23