According to modern physics, many objectively improbable events actually occur, such as the spontaneous disintegration of radioactive atoms. Because of high levels of improbability, scientists are often at a loss to explain such phenomena. In this main essay of this book, Wesley Salmon offers a solution to scientific explanation based on the concept of statistical relevance (the S-R model). In this vein, the other two essays herein discuss “Statistical Relevance vs. Statistical Inference,” and “Explanation and Information.”
Wesley C. Salmon (1925–2001) was University Professor of Philosophy at the University of Pittsburgh, past president of the Philosophy of Science Association, and the author of numerous books, including Four Decades of Scientific Explanation; Space, Time, and Motion: A Philosophical Introduction; and Scientific Explanation and the Causal Structure of the World.