Combining Philosophers

Ideas for Michael Burke, Gordon Graham and Harré,R./Madden,E.H

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7 ideas

14. Science / D. Explanation / 1. Explanation / b. Aims of explanation
Only changes require explanation [Harr/Madden]
     Full Idea: Only changes require explanation.
     From: Harr,R./Madden,E.H. (Causal Powers [1975], 9.I)
     A reaction: This points to powers as the fundamentals of all explanations, whereas if stasis also has to be explained then structures and matter have to be explained. Why is there something rather than nothing? No explanations allowed!
14. Science / D. Explanation / 1. Explanation / c. Direction of explanation
If explanation is by entailment, that lacks a causal direction, unlike natural necessity [Harr/Madden]
     Full Idea: Natural necessity involves causal directionality as an essential element, while entailment as a purely logical relation does not.
     From: Harr,R./Madden,E.H. (Causal Powers [1975], 7.V)
     A reaction: If there is a naturally necessary relation between an eclipse and its cause, the directionality of that doesn't seem to arise from the mutual relation between the two. You have to add time's arrow, or causation's arrow.
Powers can explain the direction of causality, and make it a natural necessity [Harr/Madden]
     Full Idea: The concept of power can be used to explain the temporal directionality of the concept of causality, and, at the same time, makes that causality a genuine case of natural necessity.
     From: Harr,R./Madden,E.H. (Causal Powers [1975], 7.V)
     A reaction: I'm not sure that powers actually 'explain' causal direction. It seems more like transferring the directionality from the process to its source. You are still left with brute directionality.
14. Science / D. Explanation / 2. Types of Explanation / i. Explanations by mechanism
If the nature of particulars explains their powers, it also explains their relations and behaviour [Harr/Madden]
     Full Idea: If we see that certain powers and capacities are explained by the nature of certain particulars and are necessarily attendant upon them, then we have an explanation of why certain things must go together and happen as they do.
     From: Harr,R./Madden,E.H. (Causal Powers [1975], 4.I)
     A reaction: They are offering this as an account of induction, as well as of explanation, and it is a nice summary of the account which I take to be correct.
Powers and natures lead us to hypothesise underlying mechanisms, which may be real [Harr/Madden]
     Full Idea: Usually in science the powers/natures formula does lead to the imagining of hypothetical mechanisms which might be discovered to be real.
     From: Harr,R./Madden,E.H. (Causal Powers [1975], 9.III)
     A reaction: The underlying mechanism is what I take Aristotle to have proposed, and it is the instinctive explanation by children (charted by Susan Gelman).
14. Science / D. Explanation / 2. Types of Explanation / j. Explanations by reduction
Solidity comes from the power of repulsion, and shape from the power of attraction [Harr/Madden]
     Full Idea: Solidity is the effect of a power of repulsion between whole things, and shape is the effect of a power of attraction between parts of whole things.
     From: Harr,R./Madden,E.H. (Causal Powers [1975], 9.II.B)
     A reaction: This sounds a bit too neat in its division, but it shows nicely how a metaphysics with powers can deal with categorical properties. The question, remains, though of what is doing the repelling and attracting. Fields, they say.
14. Science / D. Explanation / 2. Types of Explanation / k. Explanations by essence
Essence explains passive capacities as well as active powers [Harr/Madden]
     Full Idea: Capacities just as much as powers, what particulars and substances are liable to undergo as well as what they are able to do, are explained by reference to what the thing is in itself.
     From: Harr,R./Madden,E.H. (Causal Powers [1975], 1.II.C)
     A reaction: This is an important warning against trying to give the whole account in terms of powers - unless the capacities and structures and categorical properties can also be explained in terms of the basic powers.