The Causal and Unification Accounts of Explanation Unified – Causally
Published: Noûs 38, 154–179, 2004
Abstract: The two major modern accounts of explanation are the causal and unification accounts. My aim in this paper is to provide a kind of unification of the causal and the unification accounts, by using the central technical apparatus of the unification account to solve a central problem faced by the causal account, namely, the problem of determining which parts of a causal network are explanatorily relevant to the occurrence of an explanandum. The end product of my investigation is a causal account of explanation that has many of the advantages of the unification account.
This paper also serves the purpose of introducing some of the main ideas that make up the kairetic account of explanation.