# Dictionary of Arguments

Philosophical and Scientific Issues in Dispute

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The author or concept searched is found in the following controversies.
Disputed term/author/ism Author Vs Author
Entry
Reference
Hempel, C. Lewis Vs Hempel, C. V 232
Probability/Explanation/Hempel/Lewis: is also offered by him for the probabilistic case; but this is different from his deductive-nomological model. LewisVsHempel: two unwelcome consequences:
1. an improbable case cannot be explained at all
2. a necessity of a correct explanation: "maximal specificity" : relative to our knowledge, i.e. not knowing (a case of probability) makes an explanation, which is actually true, not true. Truth is only that not knowing makes the explanation look untrue.
I prefer Peter Railton's model:
Probability/Explanation/Peter Railton/Lewis: "deductive-nomological model" "probabilistic explanation" (d.n.m.).
We must distinguish this model from Fetzer's model: for both
covering law/Raiton/Fetzer: universal generalizations about a single case are chances.
Explanation/Probability/FetzerVsRailton: as for Hempel: inductive, not deductive. Explanation: as an argument! LewisVsFetzer: but: a good explanation is not necessarily a good argument!
LewisVsFetzer/LewisVsRailton: both want an explanation even if the event is very improbable. But in this case a good explanation is a very bad argument.
V 233
Probability/Explanation/Covering Law Model/Railton:two parts: 1. one deductive-nomological argument which fulfills some conditions of the non-probabilistic case. Laws of probability may also be a part of its premises.
2. does not belong to the argument: The finding that the event took place.
If the premises say that certain events took place, then those are sufficient if taken together - given the laws - for the actual event or for the probability.
Problem: a subset - given only a part of the laws- can be sufficient as well in explaining parts of the events, and in creating a number of remains which are still sufficient under the original laws. This is why there must be two conditions for the explanation:
1. certain events are sufficient when taken together for the event of the explanandum (under the prevailing laws)
2. only some of the laws are used to guarantee that the conditions are sufficient
LewisVsRailton: If we had covering law for causation, and our covering law for explanation, my approach would be reconciled with the c1-approach.
But this cannot be achieved!
V 233/234
An element of the d.n.m.'s sufficient reasons will in reality often be one of the causes. But this cannot be! The counterexamples are well-known: 1. an irrelevant reason can be a part of the sufficient subset, the requirement of minimality is not helping: We can create artificial minimality by taking weaker laws and disregarding stronger ones.
e.g. Salmon: A man takes the (birth control) pill, and does not end up pregnant! The premise that nobody who takes the pill will not become pregnant cannot be disregarded!
2. An element of sufficient subset could be something that is not an event:
e.g. a premise can assess that something as an extrinsic or highly disjunctive characteristic. But no true events can be specified.
3. An effect can be part of the subset if laws state that the effect can only be made to happen in a particular way. I.e.: the set could be conveniently minimal, and also be one of the events, but it would not be sufficient to make the effect the cause of its cause.
4. Such an effect can also be the sufficient subset for another effect, e.g. of a later effect of the same cause.
E.g. an ad appearing on my TV is caused because of the same broadcast, like the same appearing on your TV. But one appearance is not the cause of the other ad, rather they happened due to the same cause.
5. an impeded potential cause may belong to a subset because nothing has overridden it.
LewisVsRailton: This shows that the combined sufficient subset, presented by d.n.-arguments, is possibly not a set of causes.
V 235
LewisVsRailton: It is a problem for my own theory if a d.n. argument does not seem to show causes, but still seems to be an explanation. (see above, paragraph III,I. Three examples VsHempel: refractive index, VsRailton: no non-causal cases in reality. RailtonVsLewis: If the d.n. model presents no causes, and thereby does not look like an explanation, then it makes it a problem for said model.
Railton: This is why not every d.n. model is a correct explanation.
V 236
Question: Can every causal narration be characterized by the information which is part of a deductive-nomological argument? It would be the case if each cause belongs to a sufficient subset, given the laws. Or for the probabilistic case: given the laws of probability. And is it that causes are included in them?
Lewis: It does not follow from the counterfactual analysis of causality. But it could be true. (It will be true in a possible world with sufficiently strict laws.)
If explanatory information is information about causal narration, then the informaation is given by deductive-nomological arguments.
But there will still be something wrong! The deductive-nomological arguments are presented as being ideal, i.e. they have the right form, neither too much nor not enough.
But nobody thinks that daily explanation fulfills this. Normally, the best we can do is to make existence assumptions.
"Deshalb" Behauptung/Morton White: We can take it as existence assumptions.
LewisVsRailton: correct deductive-nomological arguments as existence assumptions are still not a true explanation. They do not meet the standard on how much information is sufficient, simply because of their form.
Lewis: There is always more to know if we collect deductive-nomological arguments, as perfect as they are. Deductive-nomological arguments only offer a profile of the causal narration. Many causes may be omitted. They could be the ones we are currently looking for. Maybe we would like to acquaint ourselves with the mechanism which were involved in particular traces of causal narration.
V 238
Explanation/Lewis/VsRailton: a deductive-nomological argument can also be in the wrong form: to not give us enough of too much at the same moment. Explanation/Lewis: But we cannot actually say that we have a different conception of the explanation's unity. We should not demand a unity: An explanation is not a thing that one can have or fail at creating one, but something that one can have to a higher or lesser degree.
Problem: The conception to have "enough" of an explanation: It makes us doubt our ancestors' knowledge. They never or rarely had complete knowledge about laws of nature.
LewisVsRailton: i.e. so, they never or rarely had complete deductive-nomological arguments. Did they therefore have incomplete explanatory knowledge. I do not think so! They know much about the causes of things.
Solution/Railton: (similarly to my picture): together with each explanandum we have a wide and complex structure.
V 239
Lewis: For me those structures are linked because of causal dependence. Railton: For him they consist of an "ideal text" of arguments, like in mathematical proofs.

Lewis I
David K. Lewis
Die Identität von Körper und Geist Frankfurt 1989

Lewis I (a)
David K. Lewis
An Argument for the Identity Theory, in: Journal of Philosophy 63 (1966)
In
Die Identität von Körper und Geist, Frankfurt/M. 1989

Lewis I (b)
David K. Lewis
Psychophysical and Theoretical Identifications, in: Australasian Journal of Philosophy 50 (1972)
In
Die Identität von Körper und Geist, Frankfurt/M. 1989

Lewis I (c)
David K. Lewis
Mad Pain and Martian Pain, Readings in Philosophy of Psychology, Vol. 1, Ned Block (ed.) Harvard University Press, 1980
In
Die Identität von Körper und Geist, Frankfurt/M. 1989

Lewis II
David K. Lewis
"Languages and Language", in: K. Gunderson (Ed.), Minnesota Studies in the Philosophy of Science, Vol. VII, Language, Mind, and Knowledge, Minneapolis 1975, pp. 3-35
In
Handlung, Kommunikation, Bedeutung, Georg Meggle Frankfurt/M. 1979

Lewis IV
David K. Lewis
Philosophical Papers Bd I New York Oxford 1983

Lewis V
David K. Lewis
Philosophical Papers Bd II New York Oxford 1986

Lewis VI
David K. Lewis
Convention. A Philosophical Study, Cambridge/MA 1969
German Edition:
Konventionen Berlin 1975

LewisCl
Clarence Irving Lewis
Collected Papers of Clarence Irving Lewis Stanford 1970

LewisCl I
Clarence Irving Lewis
Mind and the World Order: Outline of a Theory of Knowledge (Dover Books on Western Philosophy) 1991

The author or concept searched is found in the following theses of the more related field of specialization.
Disputed term/author/ism Author
Entry
Reference
Miracle Lewis, D. V 49
Divergence / convergence / asymmetry / Lewis: what makes convergence a miracle (unlikely) is the asymmetry of overdetermination:
V 50
Whatever happens, is leaving many and highly distributed traces in the world of the future. They are hardly ever afterwards brought together again, but that does not matter, as long as they exist.