more from Michael Stanford

Single Idea 12315

[catalogued under 14. Science / D. Explanation / 2. Types of Explanation / j. Explanations by reduction]

Full Idea

The powerful engine of my car can be explained by an examination of each of its parts, but it is not caused by them. They do not cause the engine; they constitute it.

Gist of Idea

We can explain by showing constitution, as well as showing causes


Michael Stanford (Explanation: the state of play [1991], p.174)

Book Reference

'Cogito Magazine 05/3', ed/tr. Pyle,Andrew [Carfax 1991], p.174

A Reaction

[example from Ruben 1990:221] This could be challenged, since there is clearly a causal connection between the constitution and the whole. We distinguish engine parts which contribute to the power from those which do not.