The key role of underlying theories for scientific explanations. A darwinian case study


  • Daniel Blanco Universidad Nacional del Litoral
  • Ariel Roffé Universidad de Buenos Aires - CONICET
  • Santiago Ginnobili Universidad de Buenos Aires - CONICET



Circular explanation, homology, structuralism, T-theoretical terms, theory of common ancestry


A given explanatory theory T falls into circular reasoning if the only way to determine its explanandum is through the application of T. To find an (often previous) underlying theory T′ that determines T′s explanandum helps us save T from this accusation of circularity. We follow the structuralist view of theories in presenting and dealing with this issue, by applying it to particular theories. More specifically, we focus on the relationship between the Darwinian theory of common ancestry and the determination of homologies.


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