Master of Arts
Date of Defense
For the past 40 years, causal-mechanical approaches to explanation in science have been the received view. In this paper, I will argue that causal-mechanical approaches to explanation are not the whole story; there is a notable class of explanations that I call constraining explanation. Constraining explanation do not work by describing some causal structure; rather they work by highlighting mathematical constraints on what kinds of structure there can be. Constraining explanations are different that causal explanations because they give a kind of modal knowledge that causal-mechanical explanation alone cannot give.
Bolano, Alexander, "Constraints and Explanation" (2018). Theses. 337.