Philosophy of Science
Final Published Version
This article discusses minimal model explanations, which we argue are distinct from various causal, mechanical, difference-making, and so on, strategies prominent in the philosophical literature. We contend that what accounts for the explanatory power of these models is not that they have certain features in common with real systems. Rather, the models are explanatory because of a story about why a class of systems will all display the same large-scale behavior because the details that distinguish them are irrelevant. This story explains patterns across extremely diverse systems and shows how minimal models can be used to understand real systems.
Batterman, Robert W. and Collin C. Rice. 2014. "Minimal Model Explanations." Philosophy of Science 81.3: 349-376.