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The Narrow Ontic Counterfactual Account of Distinctively Mathematical Explanation

Povich, Mark (2019) The Narrow Ontic Counterfactual Account of Distinctively Mathematical Explanation. The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science. ISSN 1464-3537

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Abstract

An account of distinctively mathematical explanation (DME) should satisfy three desiderata: it should account for the modal import of some DMEs; it should distinguish uses of mathematics in explanation that are distinctively mathematical from those that are not (Baron [2016]); and it should also account for the directionality of DMEs (Craver and Povich [2017]). Baron’s (forthcoming) deductive-mathematical account, because it is modeled on the deductive-nomological account, is unlikely to satisfy these desiderata. I provide a counterfactual account of DME, the Narrow Ontic Counterfactual Account (NOCA), that can satisfy all three desiderata. NOCA appeals to ontic considerations to account for explanatory asymmetry and ground the relevant counterfactuals. NOCA provides a unification of the causal and the non-causal, the ontic and the modal, by identifying a common core that all explanations share and in virtue of which they are explanatory.


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Item Type: Published Article or Volume
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Povich, Markmapovich@gmail.com
Keywords: scientific explanation, mathematical explanation, explanation, ontic conception, modal conception, counterfactuals
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Mathematics > Explanation
General Issues > Explanation
Depositing User: Mr. Mark Povich
Date Deposited: 25 Feb 2019 14:41
Last Modified: 25 Feb 2019 14:41
Item ID: 15767
Journal or Publication Title: The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Mathematics > Explanation
General Issues > Explanation
Date: 2019
ISSN: 1464-3537
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/15767

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