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Abstraction and its Limits: finding space for novel explanation

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Abstraction and its Limits : finding space for novel explanation. / Knox, Eleanor.

In: NOUS, Vol. 50, No. 1, 03.2016, p. 41-60.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Harvard

Knox, E 2016, 'Abstraction and its Limits: finding space for novel explanation', NOUS, vol. 50, no. 1, pp. 41-60. https://doi.org/10.1111/nous.12120

APA

Knox, E. (2016). Abstraction and its Limits: finding space for novel explanation. NOUS, 50(1), 41-60. https://doi.org/10.1111/nous.12120

Vancouver

Knox E. Abstraction and its Limits: finding space for novel explanation. NOUS. 2016 Mar;50(1):41-60. https://doi.org/10.1111/nous.12120

Author

Knox, Eleanor. / Abstraction and its Limits : finding space for novel explanation. In: NOUS. 2016 ; Vol. 50, No. 1. pp. 41-60.

Bibtex Download

@article{eb7179ef20cc44d9a10cfec59111a32f,
title = "Abstraction and its Limits: finding space for novel explanation",
abstract = "Several modern accounts of explanation acknowledge the importance of abstraction and idealization for our explanatory practice. However, once we allow a role for abstraction, questions remain. I ask whether the relation between explanations at different theoretical levels should be thought of wholly in terms of abstraction, and argue that changes of variable between theories can lead to novel explanations that are not merely abstractions of some more detailed picture. I use the example of phase transitions as described by statistical mechanics and thermodynamics to illustrate this, and to demonstrate some details of the relationship between abstraction, idealization, and novel explanation.",
author = "Eleanor Knox",
year = "2016",
month = mar,
doi = "10.1111/nous.12120",
language = "English",
volume = "50",
pages = "41--60",
journal = "NOUS",
issn = "0029-4624",
publisher = "Wiley-Blackwell",
number = "1",

}

RIS (suitable for import to EndNote) Download

TY - JOUR

T1 - Abstraction and its Limits

T2 - finding space for novel explanation

AU - Knox, Eleanor

PY - 2016/3

Y1 - 2016/3

N2 - Several modern accounts of explanation acknowledge the importance of abstraction and idealization for our explanatory practice. However, once we allow a role for abstraction, questions remain. I ask whether the relation between explanations at different theoretical levels should be thought of wholly in terms of abstraction, and argue that changes of variable between theories can lead to novel explanations that are not merely abstractions of some more detailed picture. I use the example of phase transitions as described by statistical mechanics and thermodynamics to illustrate this, and to demonstrate some details of the relationship between abstraction, idealization, and novel explanation.

AB - Several modern accounts of explanation acknowledge the importance of abstraction and idealization for our explanatory practice. However, once we allow a role for abstraction, questions remain. I ask whether the relation between explanations at different theoretical levels should be thought of wholly in terms of abstraction, and argue that changes of variable between theories can lead to novel explanations that are not merely abstractions of some more detailed picture. I use the example of phase transitions as described by statistical mechanics and thermodynamics to illustrate this, and to demonstrate some details of the relationship between abstraction, idealization, and novel explanation.

U2 - 10.1111/nous.12120

DO - 10.1111/nous.12120

M3 - Article

VL - 50

SP - 41

EP - 60

JO - NOUS

JF - NOUS

SN - 0029-4624

IS - 1

ER -

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