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Reutlinger, Alexander (2013): Why Is There Universal Macro-Behavior? Renormalization Group Explanation As Non-causal Explanation. In: Philosophy of Science
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Renormalization group (RG) methods are an established strategy to explain how it is possible that microscopically different systems exhibit virtually the same macro behavior when undergoing phase-transitions. I argue – in agreement with Robert Batterman – that RG explanations are non-causal explanations. However, Batterman misidentifies the reason why RG explanations are non-causal: it is not the case that an explanation is non- causal if it ignores causal details. I propose an alternative argument, according to which RG explanations are non-causal explanations because their explanatory power is due to the application mathematical operations, which do not serve the purpose of representing causal relations.