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Modifying the causal account so that instead of deriving explanandum E from law L and true premises P, we derive P from E and L, produces strongly counterintuitive conclusions.

I'm hoping you can tell me if this flows and whether the comma after "...law L and true premises P" is needed.

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"Modifying the causal account produces strongly counter-intuitive conclusions. So instead of deriving explanandum E from law L and true premises P, we derive P from E and L." - Tada! Oh, and off-topic. –  John Smithers Dec 15 '13 at 23:56
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I think @John is correct in his construction. But if you just want to ask about the comma, remove that, and change 'produces' to 'producing'. –  thethirdcrouch Dec 16 '13 at 1:27
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Merciful gods, Billy, your lyric-writing has really gone downhill in the last few years. I hope this has a decent melody to it or you won't even crack the Top 50. –  Lauren Ipsum Dec 16 '13 at 2:42

1 Answer 1

The pair of commas in the question is optional. The pair can be removed without changing the meaning of the sentence, and the sentence is grammatical with or without the pair of commas. (However, single-comma versions of the sentence are ungrammatical.)

The sentence does not flow properly because of the length or complexity of the embedded clause (“so that instead of deriving explanandum E from law L and true premises P, we derive P from E and L”). Consider rewriting the sentence in either of the following ways.

Suppose that instead of deriving explanandum E from law L and true premises P, we derive P from E and L. Modifying the causal account in this way would produce strongly counterintuitive conclusions.
Given explanandum E, law L,and true premises P, suppose that instead of deriving E from L and P we derive P from E and L. Modifying the causal account in this way produces strongly counterintuitive conclusions.

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