David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Synthese 143 (1-2):89-107 (2005)
Is the nature of explanation a metaphysical issue? Or has it more to do with psychology and pragmatics? To put things in a different way: what are primary relata in an explanation? What sorts of thing explain what other sorts of thing? David Lewis identiﬁes two senses of ‘explanation’ (Lewis 1986, 217–218). In the ﬁrst sense, an explanation is an act of explaining. I shall call this the subjectivist sense, since its existence depends on some subject doing the explaining. Hence it is people who, in this sense, explain things. In the second of his two senses, Lewis says, quoting Sylvain Bromberger, that one may properly ask of an explanation “Does anyone know it? Who thought of it ﬁrst? Is it very complicated?” (Lewis 1986, 218; Bromberger 1965). In this second sense, no subject is needed, the explanation can remain unknown, perhaps for ever. So I call this the objectivist sense.
|Keywords||Philosophy Philosophy Epistemology Logic Metaphysics Philosophy of Language|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
Peter Lipton (2004). Inference to the Best Explanation. Routledge/Taylor and Francis Group.
Bas C. Van Fraassen (1980). The Scientific Image. Oxford University Press.
D. M. Armstrong (1983). What is a Law of Nature? Cambridge University Press.
Carl Gustav Hempel (1965). Aspects of Scientific Explanation. In Philosophy and Phenomenological Research. Free Press 504.
Fred I. Dretske (1977). Laws of Nature. Philosophy of Science 44 (2):248-268.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Peter Achinstein (1984). The Pragmatic Character of Explanation. PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1984:275 - 292.
Phyllis McKay Illari & Jon Williamson (2011). Mechanisms Are Real and Local. In Phyllis McKay Illari, Federica Russo & Jon Williamson (eds.), Causality in the Sciences. OUP Oxford
J. D. Trout (2002). Scientific Explanation and the Sense of Understanding. Philosophy of Science 69 (2):212-233.
Richard Swinburne (1990). The Limits of Explanation. Philosophy 27 (Supplement):177 - 193.
Evan Fales (1999). Can Science Explain Mysticism? Religious Studies 35 (2):213-227.
Peter Achinstein (1983). The Nature of Explanation. Oxford University Press.
Jonathan Knowles (2002). Is Folk Psychology Different? Erkenntnis 57 (2):199-230.
Heather E. Douglas (2009). Reintroducing Prediction to Explanation. Philosophy of Science 76 (4):444-463.
David-Hillel Ruben (1989). The Ontology of Explanation. In Fred D'Agostino & I. C. Jarvie (eds.), Freedom and Rationality. Reidel 67--85.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads164 ( #22,173 of 1,907,521 )
Recent downloads (6 months)20 ( #32,955 of 1,907,521 )
How can I increase my downloads?