Philosophy 5362, Fall 2014

Explanation and Causation


Alexander R. Pruss


Course web page:

Class times: MF 1:00-2:15 in MH 107

Office hours: MW 10-11:10 or drop-in or by appointment



It seems to be one of the central tasks of science to explain the natural world to us.  What is this scientific explanation?  How is it connected to laws?  To causation?  And what is causation?



         Wesley C. Salmon, Four Decades of Scientific Explanation

         online and copied articles


Grading and requirements:

         You will be given reading at least two weeks ahead of time on the course website.

         Two 30 minute expository/critical presentations, each based on one of the assigned readings.  This is worth 24% of the course grade.  Let me know as soon as you see reading scheduled, and at least one class before, what youd like to speak on.

         One 20-25 page paper worth 76%.  Required complete draft due November 21.  Final version due December 13.  Grade is based only on final version, but penalties will be levied if required draft is not handed in.

         Up to 2% participation bonus.


Academic integrity:

Credible suspicions of lack of academic integrity will be typically reported to the University for further investigation.