Single Idea 6761

[catalogued under 14. Science / D. Explanation / 2. Types of Explanation / b. Contrastive explanations]

Full Idea

A 'contrastive explanation' explains why one thing happened but not another.

Gist of Idea

Contrastive explanations say why one thing happened but not another


Alexander Bird (Philosophy of Science [1998], Ch.2)

Book Reference

Bird,Alexander: 'Philosophy of Science' [UCL Press 2000], p.78

A Reaction

If I explain why the ship sank, is this contrastive, or just causal, or both? Am I explaining why it sank rather than turned into a giraffe? An interesting concept, but I can't see myself making use of it.