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Universality Caused: The case of renormalization group explanation

Sullivan, Emily (2019) Universality Caused: The case of renormalization group explanation. European Journal for Philosophy of Science, 9 (36). ISSN 1879-4912

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Abstract

Recently, many have argued that there are certain kinds of abstract mathematical explanations that are noncausal. In particular, the irrelevancy approach suggests that abstracting away irrelevant causal details can leave us with a noncausal explanation. In this paper, I argue that the common example of Renormalization Group (RG) explanations of universality used to motivate the irrelevancy approach deserves more critical attention. I argue that the reasons given by those who hold up RG as noncausal do not stand up to critical scrutiny. As a result, the irrelevancy approach and the line between casual and noncausal explanation deserves more scrutiny.


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Item Type: Published Article or Volume
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Sullivan, Emilyeesullivan29@gmail.com0000-0002-2073-5384
Keywords: causal explanation; non-causal explanation; universality; renormalization group; critical phenomena; Abstraction
Subjects: General Issues > Causation
General Issues > Explanation
General Issues > History of Philosophy of Science
Specific Sciences > Physics
Depositing User: Dr. Emily Sullivan
Date Deposited: 02 Aug 2019 04:09
Last Modified: 02 Aug 2019 04:09
Item ID: 16277
Journal or Publication Title: European Journal for Philosophy of Science
Publisher: Springer
Official URL: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s13194-0...
Subjects: General Issues > Causation
General Issues > Explanation
General Issues > History of Philosophy of Science
Specific Sciences > Physics
Date: October 2019
Volume: 9
Number: 36
ISSN: 1879-4912
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/16277

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