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Distinguishing topological and causal explanation

Ross, Lauren N. (2020) Distinguishing topological and causal explanation. [Preprint]

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Abstract

Recent philosophical work has explored the distinction between causal and non-causal forms of explanation. In this literature, topological explanation is viewed as a clear example of the non- causal variety–it is claimed that topology lacks temporal information, which is necessary for causal structure (Pincock 2012; Huneman 2010). This paper explores the distinction between topological and causal forms of explanation and argues that this distinction is not as clear cut as the literature suggests. One reason for this is that some explanations involve both topological and causal information. In these “borderline” cases scientists explain some outcome by appealing to the causal topology of the system of interest. These cases help clarify a type of topological ex- planation that is genuinely causal, but that differs from standard topological and interventionist accounts of explanation (Woodward 2003).


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Ross, Lauren N.rossl@uci.edu
Keywords: mathematical explanation, causal explanation, topological explanation
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Mathematics > Explanation
General Issues > Causation
General Issues > Explanation
Depositing User: Dr. Lauren N. Ross
Date Deposited: 04 Sep 2020 16:00
Last Modified: 04 Sep 2020 16:00
Item ID: 18058
Official URL: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11229-0...
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Mathematics > Explanation
General Issues > Causation
General Issues > Explanation
Date: 15 May 2020
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/18058

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