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Railton (1981) suggests that an explanatory claim provides information about an underlying ideal text if the former reduces uncertainty about some of the properties of the text, in the sense of ruling in or out various possibilities concerning its structure. As Railton recognizes, this has proposal has many counterintuitive consequences. To use Railton's own example, “the Equation editor relevant ideal text contains more than 102 words in English”, if true, counts as an explanation for an episode of radioactive decay. (1981, p. 246). Similarly, the claim that X and Y are correlated, will count as a partial explanation of X and Y on the plausible assumption that this claim conveys the information that one of three possibilities is likely to be true - either X causes Y or Y causes X or they have a common cause — and thus reduces uncertainty about Scientific software the contents of the ideal underlying text. This contrasts with the widespread judgment that correlations in themselves are not explanatory. Indeed, on a view like Railton's, even the claim that some outcome has no causes or is governed by no laws counts as an “explanation” of that outcome, supposing that claim is true. In fact, such a claim is apparently maximally explanatory, since it conveys everything that there is to be said about the ideal explanatory text associated with that event. Examples like these suggest that not every claim that reduces uncertainty about the contents of an ideal explanatory text should be regarded as itself explanatory — such a view allows too much to count as an explanation.

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