salmon_4 - well as other students of nature have long been...

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well as other students of nature have long been concerned with ascertaining the effects produced by various systems and subsystems; and that a reasonably adequate account of the scientific enterprise must include the examination of both kinds of inquiries. (1977, 315) No one would deny, I trust, that inquiries into effects are as legitimate and impor- tant as inquiries into causes. It does not follow from this that effects have as much explanatory import with respect to their causes as causes have with respect to their effects. 3.9 The End of a DecadetThe End of an Era? So, how did things stand at the end of the third decade? It had opened, we re- call, with Hempel's (1968) attempt to tidy up the theory of statistical explanation he had offered in (1965), and it ended with his 1976 "Nachwort" (published in 1977), in which he retracted both the doctrine of essential epistemic relativization of I-S explanation and the high-probability requirement. He published no works on scientific explanation between these two. At the time Hempel admitted that there might be objectively homogeneous reference classes, I offered a serious - though flawed-attempt to explicate that concept (1977b). In relinquishing the high-probability requirement, I think, he rendered the I-S model indefensible. One could say, at the end of the third decade, that, if there is to be an admissible model of statistical explanation, its fundamental explanatory relation would be some sort of relevance relation rather than a relation of high probability of the explanans relative to the explanandum. The key doctrine of the received view- that explanations are arguments - stood on shaky ground. At the same time there was, I think, a growing realization, for a number of reasons, that causality must play a central ?ole in scientific explanation. To my mind, the at-at theory of causal influence provided a fundamental building block required for fuller elaboration of a causal theory of scientific explanation. Further development of that project occupied considerable attention in the fourth decade. As we shall see, it eventuated in the abandonment of the S-R model as an autono- mous form of scientific explanation. That model became completely subservient to causal theories. The Fourth Decade (1978-87) A Time of Maturation The history of the last decade is the hardest to recount, especially for one who has been deeply involved in the discussions and controversies. It is difficult to achieve perspective at such close range. Nevertheless, I think certain features are discernible. It is a period during which several different lines of thought achieved relatively high degrees of maturity. For example: (1) The role of causality in scientific explanation has been pursued in far greater detail than previously. (2) Views on the nature of statistical explanation and its relationship to causal expla- nation have become much more sophisticated. (3) Our understanding of the ap- peal to unobservables for purposes of explanation has .been considerably ad- vanced. (4) The pragmatics of explanation-which
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salmon_4 - well as other students of nature have long been...

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