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On (Some) Explanations in Physics

Weatherall, James Owen (2011) On (Some) Explanations in Physics. [Preprint]

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    Abstract

    I offer one possible explanation of why inertial and gravitational mass are equal in Newtonian gravitation. I then argue that this is an example of a kind of explanation that is not captured by standard philosophical accounts of scientific explanation. Moreover, this form of explanation is particularly important, at least in physics, because demands for this kind of explanation are used to motivate and shape research into the next generation of physical theories. I suggest that explanations of the sort I describe reveal something important about one way in which physical theories can be related diachronically.


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    Item Type: Preprint
    Additional Information: Forthcoming in Philosophy of Science.
    Keywords: explanation; intertheoretic reduction; inertial mass; geometrized Newtonian gravitation; Newton-Cartan theory; general relativity
    Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics > Classical Physics
    General Issues > Explanation
    Specific Sciences > Physics > Relativity Theory
    Depositing User: James Owen Weatherall
    Date Deposited: 10 Jun 2011 20:03
    Last Modified: 10 Jun 2011 20:03
    Item ID: 8664
    URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/8664

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