It seems that an explanation is one kind of thing, given that all explanations share a name. The popular approach to scientific explanation is to treat all successful explanation as giving information about the relevant cause or causes of the phenomenon to be explained. But if we look to the natural and social sciences, we find explanations that look quite different. What scientists call “explanations” differ with respect to the form and structure of the explanation and with respect to the information given. Given that in many sciences there are explanations that refer explicitly to the function of a phenomenon and not its cause, we should ask: are functional explanations just another way of giving causal information, or are they noncausal?