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The Logic of Explanatory Power*

Jonah N. Schupbach and Jan Sprenger
Philosophy of Science
Vol. 78, No. 1 (January 2011), pp. 105-127
DOI: 10.1086/658111
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/658111
Page Count: 23
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The Logic of Explanatory Power*
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Abstract

This article introduces and defends a probabilistic measure of the explanatory power that a particular explanans has over its explanandum. To this end, we propose several intuitive, formal conditions of adequacy for an account of explanatory power. Then, we show that these conditions are uniquely satisfied by one particular probabilistic function. We proceed to strengthen the case for this measure of explanatory power by proving several theorems, all of which show that this measure neatly corresponds to our explanatory intuitions. Finally, we briefly describe some promising future projects inspired by our account.

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