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Ideas of Wesley Salmon, by Text

[American, b.1925, Professor at the University of Pittsburgh.]

1970 Statistical Explanation
p.2 An explanation is a table of statistical information
1980 Causality: Production and Propagation
2 p.155 Instead of localised events, I take enduring and extended processes as basic to causation
4 p.164 A causal interaction is when two processes intersect, and correlated modifications persist afterwards
8 p.170 Cause must come first in propagations of causal interactions, but interactions are simultaneous
1980 Probabilistic Causality
p.137 p.137 Probabilistic causal concepts are widely used in everyday life and in science
1984 Causal Connections
p.111 Salmon says processes rather than events should be basic in a theory of physical causation
1984 Scientific Explanation and the Causal Structure of the World
p.211 Causation produces productive mechanisms; to understand the world, understand these mechanisms
p.379 Salmon's interaction mechanisms needn't be regular, or involving any systems
1989 Four Decades of Scientific Explanation
Intro p.3 It is knowing 'why' that gives scientific understanding, not knowing 'that'
Pref p.-3 Scientific explanation is not reducing the unfamiliar to the familiar
Pref p.-3 Explanation at the quantum level will probably be by entirely new mechanisms
1.1 p.14 We must distinguish true laws because they (unlike accidental generalizations) explain things
1.1 p.24 Deductive-nomological explanations will predict, and their predictions will explain
1.1 p.24 The 'inferential' conception is that all scientific explanations are arguments
2.2 p.45 A law is not enough for explanation - we need information about what makes a difference
2.3 p.49 Correlations can provide predictions, but only causes can give explanations
2.4.2 p.55 Good induction needs 'total evidence' - the absence at the time of any undermining evidence
2.5 p.59 Statistical explanation needs relevance, not high probability
3.2 p.74 Think of probabilities in terms of propensities rather than frequencies
3.2 p.78 Why-questions can seek evidence as well as explanation
3.2 p.86 Ontic explanations can be facts, or reports of facts
3.6 p.103 Can events whose probabilities are low be explained?
3.6 p.103 Flagpoles explain shadows, and not vice versa, because of temporal ordering
3.8 p.114 Does an item have a function the first time it occurs?
4.1 p.121 Explanations reveal the mechanisms which produce the facts
4.1 p.121 The three basic conceptions of scientific explanation are modal, epistemic, and ontic
4.3 p.127 Understanding is an extremely vague concept
4.3 p.132 For the instrumentalists there are no scientific explanations
1998 Causality and Explanation
3.1 p.7 Salmon's mechanisms are processes and interactions, involving marks, or conserved quantities